recoveryblog: a blog for recovery advocates!

Our recovery advocacy blog is produced by individuals in recovery!  Here you will find commentary and personal discussions on different aspects of addiction recovery and advocacy.

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2019 Ramstad/Kennedy Award Nomination

February 8, 2019
National Recovery Month Planning Partners CALL FOR NOMINATIONS Due Friday, April 26, 2019 Ramstad/Kennedy Annual Award FOR Outstanding Leadership BY a Single State Authority The first annual Ramstad/Kennedy Award was presented in 2008 during a National Recovery Month reception at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) State Systems Development Program (SSDP) conference. During this past year, the 200+ Planning Partners have been working to re-focus our national efforts on expanding Prevention, Treatment and Recovery support for the millions of Americans still suffering from addiction and their countless hurting family members who are also struggling to recover from addiction’s impact on them. The 2018 National Recovery Month theme was Join the Voices of Recovery: invest in health, home, purpose, and community. Background: The Planning Partners have witnessed with appreciation as the SSAs have increased their critical role in supporting and promoting recovery and Recovery Month activities, materials and awareness in their states and within their agencies. The Planning Partners (200+ organizations and agencies) have also watched with appreciation the extraordinary and long-time efforts and passionate leadership of the Honorable Jim Ramstad (R-MN-ret) and the Honorable Patrick Kennedy (D-RI-ret) in the development, understanding and promotion of public policies to bring equity to care for people with substance use disorders and their family members. The Ramstad/Kennedy Award was established in 2008 to recognize an SSA Director who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in support of recovery and Recovery Month and to acknowledge Congressmen Ramstad and Kennedy for their commitment to recovery and recovery-oriented policies. The Award will be presented at the 2019 NASADAD annual meeting, which is being held June 4-6 in Bethesda MD. To nominate an SSA director, please refer to the criteria below, and complete and return the application form on the next page by 11:59 pm (EST), April 26, 2019. Thank you! To download the form, click here. Criteria: Single State Agency Director who has: 1. Provided outstanding leadership and innovation in promoting the goals of National Recovery Month during 2018, including support of the 2018 theme: Invest in Health, Home, Purpose and Community. 2. Strengthened and expanded Recovery Month activities within their agency and throughout other state agencies. 3. Provided support to strengthen and expand Recovery Month activities that supported individual and family recovery throughout their state. 4. Expanded the number and impact of National Recovery Month activities in their local communities. To download the form, click here. Thank you for your interest and support of National Recovery Month. Nominations due by 11:59 pm on April 26, 2019. Send electronically to or by fax to NACoA at 301-468-0987. A Legacy of Outstanding Service * 2008 – Michael Botticelli, Massachusetts * 2009 – Karen Carpenter-Palumbo, New York * 2010 – Carol Falkowski, Minnesota * 2011 – Barbara Cimaglio, Vermont * 2012 – Craig Stenning, Rhode Island * 2013 – Flo Stein, North Carolina * 2014 – Mark Stringer, Missouri * 2015 – Gary Tennis, Pennsylvania * 2016 – Kathy Stone, Iowa * 2017 – Cassandra Price, Georgia * 2018 – Arlene Gonzalez-Sanchez, New York

Opioid-Affected Families and Children

February 7, 2019

Original Blog Date: July 13, 2016


Fresh proposals to respond to rising opioid use/addiction/deaths arrive daily, but are striking in their collective silence on the needs of affected others—parents, siblings, intimate partners, children, extended family members, and social network members. Neglect of affected families has deep historical roots within the history of addiction treatment and recovery.

Historically, family members were more likely to be viewed by addiction professionals as causative agents of addiction or hostile interlopers in the treatment process than people in need of recovery support services in their own right. Overcoming such attitudes has taken on added urgency due to the rising prevalence, morbidity, and mortality of opioid addiction in the United States and its rippling effects upon families and communities. In this brief communication, we offer some reflections on this issue and how we might use the current social crisis to forge a new chapter in the nation’s response to addiction-affected families and children.

Scientific research on the effects of opioid addiction on children and families is robust and its findings are unequivocal. Opioid addiction of a family member exerts profound consequences on the physical, emotional, and financial health of other family members and the family as a whole. Opioid addiction dramatically alters family roles, rules, rituals, and the family’s internal and external relationships. Its effects are observed across all family subsystems—adult intimacy relationships, parent-child-relationship, sibling relationships, and the relationship between the nuclear family and kinship networks.

The emotional life of opioid-affected families is rife with denial, shock, anger, verbal confrontations, confusion, guilt, humiliation, shame, fear, fleeting glimmers of hope, frustration, anticipatory grief, and feelings of extreme isolation and helplessness. Such feelings are exacerbated in the presence of an addicted family member’s threatening behavior, physical violence, lying, manipulation, failed promises, pleas for money, and damage or theft of property.

Affected family members often report role disruption across generations (e.g., grandparents or aunts and uncles raising children of an addicted parent), a restricted social life, financial distress, a reduced standard of living (from the direct effects of opioid addiction, legal expenses, and repeated episodes of addiction treatment), and a progressive, stress-related increase in their own alcohol and other drug use. The presence, severity, and duration of these effects are mediated by multiple factors, such as the type, severity, complexity, and duration of the opioid addiction and the internal and differences in the external resources available to be mobilized to respond to the addiction crisis.

Many reports note the significant increase in the use of opioids and opioid-related deaths, with much of the focus on prescription practices, the specific opioids used, and the epidemiology of overdose in various communities. Yet, each OD death affects many people left behind. The loss of a loved one through death, incarceration or incapacitation causes immeasurable suffering for the family and other concerned people. One of the authors recently attended a Vigil of Hope in which family members honored the memory of a loved one lost to addiction. Over 130 attended this event. Photos of lost family members lined a table, most of them of young adults. The majority of participants lit a candle and made a statement about losing a loved one (a few lit candles to express gratitude that their loved one is in recovery). One little boy said “I light this candle in memory of my dad who died when I was 3 years old.” A man lit a candle in memory of “two brothers and a cousin who died from drug overdoses.”  Several couples and families lit candles as a group in memory of their lost loved one. Tears flowed throughout this Vigil as members shared their sadness and grief.

We must all remember that there is a person’s story behind every case of addiction. There are also multiple family stories behind each case of addiction. Addiction truly is a family disease affecting us all. Death by overdose and incarceration from criminal behaviors caused by addiction affects us all. And our pain as family members may persist for years after losing our loved one.

Research and our combined clinical experience on the effects of opioid addiction on children (beyond the effects of prenatal opioid exposure) and the effects of parental opioid addiction on the parent-child relationship are equally unequivocal. Children of opioid-addicted parents are at increased risk of developing attachment, mood (including suicide risk), anxiety, conduct, and substance use disorders and experiencing problems in school adjustment and performance.

These effects tend to be gender-mediated with female children experiencing greater mood and anxiety disorders and male children experiencing more disruptive and substance use disorders. These risks are exacerbated when the parental intimate relationship is marked by conflict, violence, and cyclical patterns of engagement, abandonment, and re-engagement. Studies of the effects of parental opioid addiction on parental effectiveness and the parent-child relationship note cyclical patterns of disengagement, neglect, abandonment, and guilt-induced over-protection, over-control, and over-discipline—combinations that often leave children confused and rebellious.

While the above addiction-related effects on families and children have been extensively documented in the scientific and professional literature, that same body of literature offers surprisingly little data about the prevalence of recovery from opioid addiction and how affected families recover as individuals and as a family unit. The neglect of families effected by opioid addiction ignores the damage such addiction inflicts on the family, but it also fails to convey the very real possibility of long-term recovery, and offers no normative map to guide families into and through the recovery process. Below are examples of what family-oriented care would look like within policy, prevention, treatment, recovery support, and research contexts.

*Family members affected by opioid addiction are included within policy and service planning discussions to provide family perspectives on service needs.

*Such representation includes a diversity of family experience, e.g., partner, parent, and child perspectives; families who have experienced opioid-related deaths, families experiencing active addiction, and families in recovery from opioid addiction.

*Targeted prevention and/or counseling services are offered to all children/siblings affected by opioid addiction.

*Where possible, assertive linkage to professional and peer-based family support services accompanies all opioid addiction encounters, e.g., emergency services, point of arrest and adjudication, treatment admission, and mutual help contact.

*Families affected by opioid addiction are provided an independent advocate to help them navigate legal and service systems and to reduce the risk of financial exploitation by helping organizations.

*The basic unit of service within addiction treatment programs and recovery community organizations is re-conceptualized from the addicted individual to the family unit.

*Family education and support programs are integrated within all organizations offering opioid addiction treatment and recovery support services. Family education includes (at a minimum) information on the neurobiology of opioid addiction, the very real prospects of long-term recovery from opioid addiction, treatment and recovery support options, the diversity of pathways of recovery from opioid addiction, the effects of opioid addiction on the family and family members (including children), and the commonly experienced stages of family recovery.

*Affected family members (adults and children), including those who have experienced addiction-related losses within their families, are provided safe venues to share their stories and experience mutual support with others similarly affected.

*Family-oriented care within treatment programs spans the functions of assessment, treatment and recovery planning, service delivery, and post-treatment monitoring (recovery checkups), support, and, if and when needed, early re-intervention. Periodic recovery check-ups are continued for a minimum of five years following initial recovery stabilization.

*Every family involved in addiction treatment and/or peer-based recovery support services is exposed to individuals and families in long-term recovery from opioid addiction.

*Affected families are given opportunities to use their experiences as vehicles for community education and policy advocacy.

Of the above actions, none is more important than bringing affected family members into policy development and service planning venues and listening–really listening–to their stories and letting the experiences and needs reflected in those stories shape a family-focused policy agenda. Put simply, national and local responses to opioid addiction are most effective when they begin with the lost art of listening—listening to the raw urgency of unmet needs.

William (“Bill”) White
Emeritus Senior Research Consultant at Chestnut Health System
Recovery Historian

Read all of Bill White’s Blog Posts on his website here

Selected References

Daley, D.C., & Ward, J. (2015). The impact of substance use disorders on parents, Part I. Counselor, 16(2), 28-31.

Daley, D.C., & Ward, J. (2015). The impact of substance use disorders on parents, Part II. Counselor, 16(3), 25-28.

Kirby, K.C., Dugosh, K.L., Benishek, L.A., & Harrington, V.M. (2005). The Significant Other Checklist:  Measuring the problems experienced by family members of drug users. Addictive Behaviors, 30(1), 29-47.

Lander. L., Howsare, J., & Byrne, M. (2013). The impact of substance use disorders on families and children: From theory to practice. Social Work and Public Health, 28(0), 194-205.

Nunes, E.V., Weissman, M.M., Goldstein, R., McAvay, G., Beckford, C., Seracini, A., Verdeli, H., & Wickramaratne, P. (2000). Psychiatric disorders and impairment in the children of opiate addicts:  Prevalences and distribution by ethnicity. The American Journal on Addictions, 9, 232-241.

Velleman, R., Bennett, G., Miller, T., Orford, J., Rigby, & Tod, A. (1993). The families of problem drug users:  A study of 50 close relatives. Addiction, 88, 1281-1289.

White, W., & Savage, B. (2005). All in the family: Alcohol and other drug problems, recovery, advocacy. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 23(4), 3-37.

Chance, Choice, Change, Compete 

February 6, 2019

With the federal passage of the FIRST STEP Act, we finally see action on criminal justice reform!

The FIRST STEP Act recently passed and was signed by the President. This was historical. For years, Congress had attempted to pass criminal justice reform legislation, such as the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (SRCA) introduced in 2015 by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). But the SRCA failed to pass in 2016 despite overwhelming bipartisan support. The FIRST STEP Act is consequential because it includes provisions for meaningful sentencing reform that would reduce the number of people in prison and is part of the starting point of any legislative justice reform. Sentencing laws played a central role in the rise of mass incarceration in recent decades.

Closer to home, the Vice Chair of the Colorado House Judiciary Committee has introduced a bill titled Colorado Chance to Compete — House Bill 1025 — (sometimes referred to as “ban the box”). As a step for Colorado, Vice-Chair Leslie Herod writes: “A question in particular that appears on most, if not all, job applications is this: ‘Have you ever been arrested, charged or convicted of a crime?’ If you answer yes to this question, the likely result is your application will be disregarded. You won’t be interviewed. You simply won’t be considered for the job. The bill addresses this issue and does so in a moderate and measured way. It simply says that businesses cannot ask this question on the application but can do so later in the interview process. The bill is an important criminal justice reform initiative and makes good economic sense.”

The good news is that approximately 25 states and hundreds of municipalities across the country have passed similar laws, with positive outcomes. Simply stated, employment and contributing to community reduces recidivism. Here’s another significant Herod statistic: “Ninety-six percent of ex-offenders when trained into skilled jobs succeed. They don’t re-offend. The greatest influence on reducing recidivism is employment”.

Think of the current situation where there are more jobs than workers to fill them. Beyond the application, an interview may reveal a hidden treasure developed from a lived experience that serves to enhance potential worth of an individual. In an interview, skills may be revealed that fit the employer’s needs.

The Colorado bill has significance for me. In the early nineties, I lived in Southern California and served as administrator for a program that provided alternatives to incarceration. A pioneer in such matters, Nancy Clark, began the Alternative Sentencing Program—A.S.P. Not at public expense, but at the court’s direction, individuals were allowed to become a part of a community of recovery centers for a determinate length of time, depending on the nature of the misdemeanor. Generally, the misuse of drugs may have been involved, particularly alcohol. Individuals experienced a loss of freedom through administration of the expectations and direction of the Judges. They also experienced financial responsibility and accountability.

A.S.P. provided reason and resources to reduce recidivism. It provides education and information to guide positive, life-changing behaviors. I refer to it as a truly teachable time on a tether. Employment or community service is required. Individuals were employed by firms willing to take a chance and give a chance. Though there was no “jail time” completion of the program allowed re-entry into social norms and restoration of freedom. Thankfully, we were assisted through the advent of a drug court. Drug Courts now serve the justice department, offenders, and families in counties and states across the nation. A completion of a court program can result in expunging of a record of offense.

It has been said that the wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine. We might restate it to read, the wheels of legislation turn slowly, but grind exceedingly. Fair Lady Eliza Doolittle states in the song Show Me, “Words, words, words, I’m so sick of words. I get words all day through.”

Finally, in the last decade we have gotten action. Faces & Voices of Recovery has extensive experience working on criminal justice and substance use disorder policy issues at the federal level, including the Second Chance Act (SCA). Since 2009, more than one out of three Second Chance Act grant awards have gone directly to county governments which have received $95 million over the past nine years. These grants provide financial assistance for programs such as employment training, mentoring, substance use disorder and mental health treatment, and other family-based services to assist formerly incarcerated individuals as they reenter society. The Second Chance Act reauthorization was recently included in the compromise criminal justice reform bill titled the FIRST STEP Act. The reauthorization of the Second Chance Act also includes changes to address inadequacies in the program.

Additionally, Faces & Voices of Recovery worked hard through the grinding process to ensure the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2016 was passed with patience and perseverance. Praise to advocacy!

Merlyn Karst

Recovery Advocate, Denver, Colorado

Founding Board Member, Faces & Voices of Recovery

6 Ideas for Honoring Black History Month

February 4, 2019

Happy February! This month is known for many things: cold weather, short days and of course, Valentine’s Day. However, one of the most powerful, impactful and important parts of February is its recognition of Black History Month.

While black history deserves to be celebrated every day, Black History Month particularly focuses on recognizing the African-American men and women who have had great influences on the United States. The month of February reminds us to seek out stories and histories which may often go overlooked, and recognize the significance of black history. Nevertheless, it can sometimes be difficult to consider how exactly to recognize Black History Month. What can you do? Here are six ideas for honoring Black History Month.

1. Support black-owned businesses.
One simple way to recognize Black History Month is by supporting black entrepreneurs in your community. Not only can you celebrate the history within Black History Month, but you can also make intentional decisions with your money to champion the future of black history. Explore black-owned businesses near you and consider how you can use their products or services.

2. Contribute to black nonprofits.
There are hundreds of nonprofits who work tirelessly to advocate for equal justice and representation for all people. From confronting the issue of police violence to helping African-American girls learn about the tech industry, these nonprofits work to create more opportunity for black individuals. This month, research black nonprofits and see how you can donate your time or talents to make a difference.

3. Read black literature.
Literature plays an important role in influencing our perceptions of the world and broadening our minds to varying viewpoints. During the month of February, be intentional in choosing the books you consume. Search for prominent black authors with stories to share, and see how reading can influence your conception of Black History Month.

4. Recognize black artists.
From poets, to musicians, to actors and everything in between, there are multitudes of well-known (and amateur) black artists whom you can recognize during February. Search in your community for artists to watch, read or listen to; or, look on the national or international scale to broaden your horizons and learn more about the important work black artists create.

5. Research black history in your area.
Black history has played a valuable role throughout the entirety of the United States, including right in your own community. This month, take time to research the stories of black history in your area by looking online, visiting a local museum or historical society or simply going to your library for more information. You’ll soon realize that Black History Month isn’t just something worth national recognition, but worth observance in every community throughout the country.

6. Learn about prominent black figures.
Of course, one of the best ways to recognize Black History Month is by learning more about prominent black figures. You can support this month by researching the history of black individuals throughout generations. For example, the first African-American major league baseball player was Jackie Robinson in 1947. More recently, Oprah Winfrey became the first African-American female billionaire in 2003. Later, Misty Copeland became the first African-American woman promoted to principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre in 2015.

While black history should be recognized consistently, Black History Month provides an opportunity to pay special attention to the recognitions and accomplishments of black individuals throughout history. This February, take these ideas to heart and practice these tips as you honor Black History Month.

The Art of Meeting (And Making) New Friends

January 28, 2019

Despite how connected our society is through technology, more and more people today struggle to build and sustain in-person relationships. During our day-to-day lives of working, coming home, sleeping, waking up and repeating the whole process over again, it can be challenging to actually meet new people… and then find the time to build friendships.

In fact, there is a genuine skill to meeting new people and establishing relationships with them. And, you don’t even have to be a social butterfly to master it! Here are some tips on the art of meeting (and making) new friends.

Invite your neighbors over.
One of the simplest ways to get to know people is to meet those right around you. Your neighbors are already in the same community as you, so get to know them better by inviting them over to your house for a cup of coffee or dinner.

Join a hobby club. 
No matter what you love to do, there is a club for that. Evaluate your interests and see if you can find a club or organization in your area with like-minded people. If you don’t have any hobbies, then find the most intriguing clubs and pick one to start with!

Go to a coffee shop. 
Coffee shops are full of different, fascinating people. If you want to meet new friends, go to a coffee shop and hang out there for a day. Read a book, work on a project and take the opportunity to say hello to someone next to you and get to know them.

Start with a compliment. 
Everyone loves feeling flattered, so an easy way to start a new conversation is with a compliment. Give out genuine, positive compliments to the people around you to serve as social lubricant and let the conversation flow.

Consider your body language.
Body language is an important—yet often overlooked—part of communication. As you talk with other people, subtly evaluate your own body language. Keep your torso, chest and abdomen open as a way to show approachability, and avoid crossing your arms, checking your phone or hiding your hands.

Ask intriguing questions.
Remember: people love talking about themselves. So, help build the relationship quickly by asking intriguing questions whenever possible. Personal questions show your interest in the other person, and can accelerate the intimacy in the relationship. Therefore, skip the small talk when you can and focus on deeper subjects that really matter.

Volunteer for a cause.
If you want to meet new friends and make a difference for a cause you care about, why not do both at the same time? Volunteer with an organization in your community and get to know people who have similar interests as you. The more you serve, the more people you can meet and stronger friendships you build.

Take the leap.
Ultimately, the best way to meet new people and make new friends is to take the leap and put yourself out there. It can be scary to try and make friends—particularly for fear of rejection. But, without an initial effort, you will never meet new friends. Dig down deep to muster up the courage so you can get out of your comfort zone and build new relationships.

Despite being more connected than we have ever been before, people today still struggle with meeting others and building relationships. But, making friends isn’t something exclusive to social butterflies—it’s a skill you can learn and practice. Try out these tips so you can master the beautiful art of meeting and making new friends.

Addiction Treatment (By Itself) Is Not Enough

January 25, 2019

Original Blog Date: September 12, 2014

I have spent more than four decades providing, studying, promoting, and defending addiction treatment, but remain acutely aware of its limitations.  As currently conceived and delivered, most addiction treatment programs facilitate detoxification, recovery initiation, and early recovery stabilization more effectively and more safely than ever achieved in history, but most fall woefully short in supporting the transition to recovery maintenance and the later stages of recovery, particularly for those who need it the most–those with the most severe and complex problems and the least recovery support within their natural environment.

Addiction treatment as a stand-alone intervention is an inadequate strategy for achieving long-term recovery for individuals and families characterized by high problem severity, complexity, and chronicity and low recovery capital.  In isolation, addiction treatment is equally inadequate as a national strategy to lower the social costs of alcohol and other drug-related problems.  Here’s why.

Specialized addiction treatment as a system of care in the U.S.:

1) attracts too few–only about 10% a year of people in need of it and only a lifetime engagement rate of 25%,

2) begins too late–with years and, in some studies, decades of dependence preceding first treatment admission,

3) retains too few (less than 50% national treatment completion rate),

4) extrudes too many (7.3% of all annual admissions–more than 130,000 individuals–administratively discharged, most for confirming their diagnosis),

5) ends too quickly, e.g., before the 90 days across levels of care recommended by the National Institute on Drug Abuse,

6) offers too few evidence-based choices,

7) fails to engage and support affected family members and friends,

8) is too disconnected from indigenous recovery community resources,

9) offers minimal continuing care–far short of the five-year point of recovery durability, and

10) fails to alter treatment methods in response to patient non-responsiveness, e.g., blaming substance use disorder recurrence on the patient rather than the treatment methods. (Click here for elaborations and citations related to the above points.)

As a result, we as a country invest billions of dollars in repeated episodes of addiction treatment (59% of people admitted to addiction treatment in the U.S. have at least one prior treatment episode, and 34% have 2 or more prior treatment episodes).  We are providing respites within addiction careers for far too many but sustainable recovery for far too few. The current acute care model of intervention could be significantly improved by re-engineering addiction treatment to provide early screening and intervention and long-term care (sustained monitoring, support, early re-intervention), as is increasingly done with other chronic conditions whose acuity waxes and wanes. As a country, we have invested inordinate attention on person-focused interventions (clinical models) to the exclusion of interventions focused on shaping recovery landscapes (public health and community development models).

Professionally-directed addiction treatment should not be the first resort for AOD-related problems; it should be the last resort–a safety net to protect individuals, families, and communities.  The first line of response should be support embedded within relationships that are natural, reciprocal (non-hierarchical), non-professionalized, non-commercialized, and potentially enduring.  Such relationships are to be found, not within a treatment center, but within the larger community environment.  However, significant effort is required to build and sustain such natural resources.

It is time we nested clinical models of care within larger efforts to develop, mobilize, and sustain sources of support for resilience and recovery within the larger community.  Grassroots recovery community organizations and new recovery support institutions offer vehicles for long-term recovery support that bridge the clinic and the community.  The clinic can bolster the will to recover and the means to recover, but it is the community that must provide the welcoming space in which one can live as a person in long-term recovery.  It is time we balanced recovery support within the clinic with recovery support within the community.  The good news is that such a balancing is underway as state after state and community after community wraps acute care models of intervention within larger models of sustained recovery management nested within recovery-oriented systems of care–with the “system” being the community rather than just networked treatment resources.  This shift marks a revolution in the design and delivery of addiction treatment in the United States.  What in its isolation addiction treatment has failed to achieve may well be achieved within newly emerging partnerships with the community.

William L. White

Emeritus Senior Research Consultant

Chestnut Health Systems

Punta Gorda, Florida

William (“Bill”) White
Emeritus Senior Research Consultant at Chestnut Health System
Recovery Historian

Read all of Bill White’s Blog Posts on his website here

“Mama’s in Recovery” – Emilee’s Story

January 22, 2019

Meet Emilee, our January “Mama’s in Recovery” feature story.  Emilee took the time to sit down with Faces & Voices of Recovery to share a bit of her recovery journey.

Emilee, now 31 years old, began raiding her parents liquor cabinet at the age of 14.  By the time she hit high school, Emilee was smoking marijuana and telling herself that she would never be one of “those people”.  It wasn’t long before Emilee was introduced to ecstasy, cocaine, pills, crack, and eventually heroin.  Soon she realized she was in the grips of addiction.  Losing her brother in 2008 pushed Emilee to new heights and the disease of addiction quickly progressed.  She found herself using everyday just to ward off the sickness and to “stay well”.  To help with sickness, Emilee sought help through medication assisted treatment but because she didn’t change her lifestyle, she’d find herself right back in addiction after attempting to stop her medication.  For Emilee, it was a vicious cycle and things she thought she’d never do, became a part of her story.  Stripping to support her habit, things just continued to spiral.  From crashing cars, to evictions, Emilee found herself homeless.  It was then that she decided to seek treatment.

During treatment, Emilee sought medication again and after using this recovery path for five days it became the catalyst to her recovery journey.  Emilee was exposed to a fellowship that embraced her, showering her with hugs and surrounding her with happiness but Emilee didn’t feel like she could measure up and went back to active addiction for two more months.  That exposure to treatment and recovery planted a seed for Emilee and once again, she reached out for help, “I had a taste of recovery and knew it didn’t have to be this way”.  Emilee hung on for two days before she was granted access to treatment and in the interim, couldn’t stop using the drugs.  The day Emilee was to be admitted, the only person she could reach out to was her mother, “even though I missed her birthday and Mother’s Day, she still picked me up and took me to treatment”.  Emilee embarked on the recovery journey and after three weeks of treatment along with long term residential care, she found support by transitioning into a house with others in recovery.  This recovery support helped her build a foundation and Emilee finally felt like she belonged.

In and out of relationships, Emilee expressed that she was a “serial dater in the fellowship…I was never in a relationship for more than a year”.  Nonetheless, Emilee stuck with her recovery journey until she found herself at a recovery picnic, sitting across the table from someone who had 5 years of recovery and no girlfriend.  According to Emilee, “I used to date people new to recovery, but he had something to offer and that was attractive to me.  It was the smoothest relationship I had ever been in because we were both working on our recovery”.  Not too long after, Emilee found out that she was pregnant.  Both her and her partner were scared but they were ready for a new journey, parenthood.  Baby Cruz was a welcomed blessing.  Emilee announced her pregnancy on Facebook and found that there were so many women in recovery who were also pregnant.  That was the beginning of what has become, “a solid support group” for Emilee and the other mamas.  “My best friends all have grown teenage children or children over the age of 8.  They don’t remember what it’s like having an infant or toddler or what its like being pregnant”, Emilee stated.  “I felt so alone and the mamas in recovery took me out of that state of loneliness.  We talk everyday and we’ve been supporting each other for an entire year, it’s been special for all of us”.  That special feeling has made Emilee’s experience as a mother a memorable one, “…it’s a scary thing and I can go to them anytime.  It’s an intense support network”.  Emilee expressed her gratitude for the mamas letting us know that it’s “unconditional love during a life changing event.  There’s no judgment and we incorporate the mom component and the recovery component for connection”.

Emilee, we, at Faces & Voices of Recovery are so happy that you have found such an amazing connection to the mamas and are glad we have become a part of your network!  You are doing amazing work as a mom in recovery and wish you, your significant other, and baby Cruz the best as you continue your journey!

Volunteering Can Mitigate Depression and Anxiety

January 21, 2019

There’s no doubt about it: volunteering is good for you. When you share your time and talents with others, you also receive benefits in return. Whether it’s experience for a resume, connections for a career or simply the affirmation of helping a fellow human being, volunteering impacts your own life as much as the lives of others.

In fact, volunteering has even been known to mitigate depression and anxiety concerns. Mental health plays a critical role to well being. This means if you suffer from depression, anxiety or other mental ailments, even daily functions can be incredibly difficult. Fortunately, recent studies have shown how volunteering with people or a cause you care about can actually mitigate depression and anxiety issues. Here’s how.

Volunteering connects you with others.
One of the greatest struggles in dealing with depression or anxiety is the feeling of loneliness. Oftentimes, people who face these ailments feel like they are completely alone in an uphill battle. On the other hand, the greatest benefit of volunteering is the social connections it includes. Despite the constant correspondence our society experiences through technology, a nationwide survey by Cigna found that more than half of respondents feel lonely.

Fifty-four percent said they feel like no one actually knows them, 56% believe people around them “are not necessarily with them” and 40% said they “lack companionship.” This loneliness plays a significant role in our overall mental health. However, through consistent volunteering with an organization or cause you care about, you can generate genuine, authentic relationships with like-minded people. These relationships can alleviate the feeling of loneliness, and positively influence your struggle with depression or anxiety.

Volunteering promotes physical activity.
When we feel lonely, depressed or anxious, oftentimes our natural inclination is to curl up in a ball, stay at home and avoid the outside world. However, this response only negatively influences our mental health further. In fact, physical health greatly affects our mental health, and vice versa. Because every aspect of the body operates together as one unit, focusing on physical activity can oftentimes boost your mental health, as well.

By volunteering, you create one more potential avenue for physical activity. Even if it’s simply walking down to the local library to host a children’s story time, by getting up, leaving the house and being active, you can help alleviate depression and anxiety. In fact, studies have also found that people who regularly volunteer have a lower mortality rate, are less likely to develop high blood pressure and have better thinking skills. While physical activity through volunteering might not cure depression or anxiety, it can play a role in soothing the concerns.

Volunteering changes your perspective.
If you have ever struggled with mental health, then you know the constant negative perspective you might experience. When you feel depressed or anxious, oftentimes those feelings are the only thing you can focus on. Sometimes, when we experience these feelings, all we need is a shift in our perspective. Volunteering does just that.

Volunteering gives you the opportunity to interact with different people, circumstances and causes around you, causing a natural shift in how you see your own life. For instance, sharing your talents with people in need might positively change your mindset to recognize you do have useful skills to offer. Volunteering also provides a valuable sense of purpose. No matter how old you are or where you are in life, helping others gives you feelings of purpose, perspective and belonging, which can greatly diminish the struggle with depression and anxiety.

Mental health has an incredible impact on our lives. If you wrestle with depression, anxiety or other mental ailments, you know how difficult it can be to simply go through the day. Volunteering can help. While volunteering might not cure every mental health struggle, it can play a positive role in mediating it. Try it out and see how volunteering impacts your life.

How to Be More Charitable Without Spending Money

January 14, 2019

As English author John Bunyan once said, “You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” The concept of doing something for someone who cannot repay you goes by a variety of different names. Some call it generosity, others say goodwill and some might call it philanthropy. But one of the most popular names for giving without compensation is simply charity.

Charity plays a valuable role in our everyday lives. It encourages us to give to others who are less fortunate than ourselves, without any expectation to receive something back. However, many people believe charity only means donating money. But there’s much more to it than money! In fact, if you strive to live an altruistic lifestyle, there are a variety of different ways to be more charitable without spending money. Here are some ideas to try.

Donate blood.
First, let’s start with something all of us have: blood. If you want to save money and give at the same time, consider donating blood to a local or national bank in your area. According to the Red Cross, one single blood donation could potentially save up to three lives. This means that just an hour of your time and a small discomfort can make a huge impact for a multitude of people. Check to see if you qualify to give blood and find a donation center near you.

Contribute your skills.
Your skills can also make a huge difference for a charity you care about. If you have a special skill, such as writing, sewing or photography, consider offering your services pro bono to a nonprofit organization you care about. Many local and national charities need skills in a variety of specialized areas, but don’t have the funds to hire a professional. You can help meet this need by giving to charity without worrying about money.

Give gently-used items.
Of course, one way to give to charity without spending money is to give stuff you already have. Many of us have way more stuff than we actually need, so why not help others out by donating your gently-used items? Sort through your clothes, shoes, furniture, toys and even cars to see what you don’t need and consider how giving it to charity could influence someone’s life.

Use a charity credit card.
Another simple way to give to charity without spending money is by using a charity credit card. Many credit card companies offer charity cards, which donate the rewards you earn to an organization of your choice. This means you can continue to buy items you already use, and then give the reward away to those in need, at no extra expense.

Buy intentionally.
In the age of corporate social responsibility, many businesses—local, national and international—offer to donate part of their proceeds to charities. This means that simply by buying intentionally, you can help make an impact, without spending extra money. For instance, AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to the nonprofit organization of your choice. Or, TOMS uses the one-for-one model. When you buy a pair of TOMS, another pair is donated to a person in need.

Volunteer your time.
And of course, if you want to make a charitable donation, but don’t have the extra money to give away, you can always get involved through volunteering. Volunteers play a valuable role for nonprofit organizations, by meeting needs and freeing up time, space and finances for other areas. If you want to get involved with a charity, consider how you can volunteer your time to have an impact.

Charity prompts us to make important contributions to our community, but these donations don’t always have to be financial. If you want to give back without spending money, consider these charitable options. Then, get involved and see how you can make a difference.

The Past Provides the Present

January 13, 2019

And it surely is a gift.  Recent blogs on this site have featured Bill White’s Blasts from the Past. Also profiles from our Recovering Moms who are in the know and in the now. I contribute from my lived experience of the past and relate it to the now. I noted that an event would be held in the future—January 24— in Los Angeles, featuring a Recovery Ambassador training followed by a dinner and gala fundraiser. Faces & Voices of Recovery is working on a web site page for and about recovery ambassadors after the L.A. training.  We can spotlight all who have taken the training who are now leading recovery advocacy efforts as recovery ambassadors or as recovery carriers. Recovery carriers? Read on for more…

My blast from the past is to note that in 2004, our newly established organization, Advocates for Recovery (AFR) hosted one of the first Recovery Ambassadors Workshops, conducted by Johnny Allem, author of “Speaking Out for Addiction Recovery.” John de Miranda and Joel Hernandez were present. This publication served as our workbook for the session. over the years, the training and the publication have served me and many.  I have often referred to myself as a Recovery Ambassador. Recovery ambassadorship drives advocacy and builds community. From Johnny’s book, “A sense of belonging plays a vital role in human existence. People aspire to ‘community’ and experience alienation when exclude.  The sense of exile leads to desperation. A key symptom of addiction is isolation.” I often quote a friend who wrote, “Alcohol is out to kill you, but first it wants to get you alone.” The alphabet array of support groups provides fellowship, ritual, and community.

I have stated before that when at a loss for words, I use those of others. In a recent blast from the past, Bill White writes, “The contagion of addiction is transmitted through a process of infection–the movement of addiction disease from one vulnerable person to another.  The contagion of recovery is spread quite differently–not through infection, but affection.  Those who spread such affection are recovery carriers.  Recovery carriers affirm that long-term recovery is possible and that the promises of recovery are far more than the removal of drugs from an otherwise unchanged life.  They tell us that we have the potential to get well and to then get better than well.  They challenge us to stop being everyone’s problem and to become part of the solution.”

White says, “We all have the potential to be recovery carriers.  Becoming a recovery carrier requires several things.  It requires that we protect our recoveries at all cost–Recovery by any means necessary under any circumstances.  It requires that we help our families recover.” Recovery Ambassadors are recovery carriers—carrying the message—through the power of story.

​The Los Angeles training provides this information: The Recovery Ambassador workshop prepares individuals to become citizen advocates in the grassroots recovery advocacy movement. Participants will learn about: becoming a leader in a recovery community, forming new partnerships and connections with local organizations and networks, engaging in the national recovery movement and reducing stigma and changing mindsets of all Americans.

Back to the past.   In 2008, I was privileged to be interviewed by Bill White for a portraits inclusion on the Faces & Voices of Recovery Website. I spoke as a retiree at that time. “ I truly think that the generation of retiring boomers who have achieved recovery is one of our primary resources for leadership, support, and activism. They just don’t know it yet! Our task is to let them know. The nature of our work attracts advocates with age, experience, available time, and unallocated income. Most retirees have all of those. Many who take early retirement will face isolation and boredom—certainly unhealthy for someone in recovery. We offer them valuable benefits for use of this personal time. There are millions of stakeholders in lessening the enormous and growing economic burden of addiction. These costs may cause everyone’s comfortable retirement to be much less comfortable.” We have since realized the immense value of the lived experience from trained Peer Recovery coaches and peer support services. Of course, the age and experience of peer coaches covers a broad spectrum.  The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s Recovery@50Plus inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment program is an example In recognizing and most-effectively treating addiction—age matters. AARP gives attention to over use of opiate pain relief. Organizations and communities give attention to the young through prevention and recovery programs. Faces & Voices of Recovery guides community involvement through Association of Recovery Community Organization (ARCO).

The Recovery movement will grow and thrive through action and advocacy of our recovery carriers and recovery ambassadors and the power of their stories about the reality of recovery. Now that is a blast!

Posts from William White

Program Oversight Tip Sheet

October 1, 2021

Peer recovery support service (PRSS) programs should have an established, formal recovery community advisory council or community board, in addition to a Board of Directors.

Board of Directors Tip Sheet

October 1, 2021

Building a Strong Governing Board

A peer recovery support services (PRSS) program benefits from having a strong board that is dedicated to the mission of the organization, representative of the local recovery community, and effectively prepared for their governing role.

Marty Walsh US Secretary of labor video

September 30, 2021

What Does the Future Hold for the Recovery Community?

September 9, 2021

Featured Panelists: Christina Love, Dharma Mirza, and Meghan Hetfield


Christina Love, Advocacy Initiative Specialist, Alaska Network on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault (ANDVSA)





Dharma Mirza Equity & Justice Fellow at ARHE & Oregon Measure 110 Oversight & Accountability Council Member

Dharma Mirza (she/her) is an artist, activist, policy advocate, and scholar living in Corvallis, OR. Dharma is a Public Health and Gender Studies student at Oregon State University. Dharma focuses her work and research on harm reduction, sexual health, addiction, public health equity, and the intersections of behavioral health and marginalized health populations. Dharma informs her work through intersectional, feminist, and decolonial frameworks and draws on her own experiences in navigating health/harm reduction services as an HIV-positive, queer, biracial transgender woman, Khwaja Sira (Pakistani Third Gender), and former survival sex worker and IV drug user.

Meghan Hetfield, Certified Addiction Recovery Coach and Certified Recovery Peer Advocate


As a Nationally Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist and a NY State Certified Recovery Peer Advocate and Trainer, Meghan has found purpose in supporting people in their individual pathways of health and wellness. She is a dedicated advocate for Harm Reduction and ending the racist War on Drugs. She believes that radical compassion is needed to heal each other and meet our fellow humxns “where they’re at” without shame or judgement. Meghan is currently working from home in New York’s Catskill Mountains for WEconnect Health Management as a PRSS where she enjoys swimming holes, mushroom club hikes and cooking all her plant & fungi foraging finds.

Description: Recovery belongs to us all. Leading up to the second summit in St. Paul, MN this October 3-6, 2021 – 20 years after the original summit – what do we expect of our future? Three vibrant leaders discuss their perspectives and hopes for the next two decades of the Recovery Community. Through this moderated discussion, we will investigate the need to end gatekeeping and welcome everyone to recovery by lowering barriers to recovery support, creating inclusive spaces and programs, and broadening our understanding of what recovery means for people with different experiences. As we grow in empathy and understanding, we save lives by adding protective factors and building resiliency. Ever reminding us that Recovery is for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community.

Moderated by: Keegan Wicks, National Advocacy and Outreach Manager, Faces & Voices of Recovery

This webinar series is sponsored by Alkermes.

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

August 25, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs_FVR

Ethics Tip Sheet

April 6, 2021

Peer recovery support service (PRSS) programs require an ethical framework for service delivery. In most cases, simply “importing” a professional code of ethics is not effective. There is a difference between the professional-client relationship and the relationship of the peer leader and the peer being served that warrants an ethical framework specifically tailored to PRSS.

We Have Been (Addiction Lament & Recovery Celebration)

February 25, 2021

Understanding oneself is incomplete when divorced from the history of one’s people. Those with lived experience of addiction and recovery share such a larger history. Over the course of centuries and across the globe, we have been:

Abandoned  Arrested   Berated   Caned   Castigated   Coerced   Confronted   Condemned   Conned   Defamed  Defrocked   Divorced   Deported   Denied Probation   Denied Pardon   Denied Parenthood   Executed   Electrocuted   Electroshocked   Evicted   Expelled   Exploited   Exiled   Feared   Fired   Forsaken   Hated   Humiliated   Incarcerated   Incapacitated   Kidnapped   Kicked Out   Quarantined   Restrained  Ridiculed   Sedated  Seduced  Shunned   Shamed   Surveilled   Tough Loved   Criticized   Colonized   Commercialized   Criminalized   Delegitimized   Demonized   Depersonalized   Deprioritized   Disenfranchised   Eulogized   Euthanized   Glamorized   Homogenized   Hypnotized   Institutionalized   Lobotomized   Marginalized   Memorialized   Miscategorized   Mischaracterized   Monetized   Mythologized   Objectified  Ostracized   Patronized   Politicized   Proselytized   Publicized   Sensationalized   Stigmatized   Scandalized   Sensualized   Sterilized   Terrorized   Theologized   Traumatized   Tranquilized  Trivialized

More recently, through the efforts of recovery advocates and professional and public allies, we are being:

Applauded   Awakened   Celebrated   Defined   Educated   Elevated   Encouraged   Helped   Healed   Enfranchised   Hired   Informed   Inspired   Motivated  Profiled   Reconstructed   Recruited   Redeemed   Rekindled   Renewed   Restored   Represented   Reunited   Supported   Surveyed   Transformed   Uplifted  Utilized  Valued Vindicated   Actualized   Baptized   Decriminalized   Destigmatized   Diversified   Enfranchised   Hypothesized   Idealized   Legitimized  Medicalized   Mobilized   Organized   Prioritized   Professionalized   Radicalized   Randomized   Recognized   Reconceptualized   Revitalized   Secularized   Sympathized Theorized

Through our shared journeys, recovery is gifting us with:

Accountability   Acceptability   Adaptability   Authenticity   Clarity   Collegiality   Community   Dignity   Employability   Fidelity   Flexibility   Honesty   Humility   Integrity   Longevity   Maturity   Opportunity   Possibility   Predictability   Productivity   Prosperity   Respectability  Responsibility  Sanity   Serenity   Sobriety   Spirituality   Stability  Survivability   Tranquility   Visibility   Wellbriety

Is it any wonder given the complexity of these experiences that we struggle in recovery to answer, “Who am I?” We cannot fully understand the “me story” without the “we story.”  Our personal stories nest within the hands of this larger multigenerational and multinational story. Our present circumstances, our shared needs, our individual aspirations, and our future destinies are inextricably linked to this complex, collective past. We can draw upon that past for resolve and inspiration at the same time we rise above it. Personally and collectively, we have fallen, yet like Lazarus, we rise anew.  Personally and collectively, we are moving from pain to purpose.


National Standards of Best Practices for RCOs

February 24, 2021

To ensure fidelity to the recovery community organization model, Faces & Voices of Recovery, RCOs across the nation, and stakeholders have identified the following as national best practices for recovery community organizations.

Recovery Innovations: The Well-Fed Social Supermarket

February 18, 2021

I recently discovered a UK-based project that I found so exciting that I solicited the below blog to share with my readers. To me, the Well-Fed Social Supermarket signals a next stage in the evolution of recovery support services: programs that serve those seeking and in recovery while simultaneously benefiting the larger community. For generations, “service work” in the recovery community has reflected the support we provide each other, our mutual aid organizations, and individuals and families seeking recovery. Perhaps the day has arrived when that service ethic will be extended in new and dramatic ways to larger communities and cultures.

–Bill White


Recovery Innovations: The Well-Fed Social Supermarket

Dave Higham, Ged Pickersgill and David Best


Recovery is a process that is characterised through the acronym CHIME – standing for Connectedness (the importance of social engagement); Hope; Identity (the growth of positive personal and social identities); Meaning (engaging in activities that give value to each day) and Empowerment (often experienced as positive self-esteem and self-efficacy).

For recovery community organisations, supporting people to achieve sustainable recovery is often about finding ways to promote CHIME that are personalised to individual aspirations and goals, and the stage of a person’s recovery. This means creating access to positive social and community resources that can nurture recovery capital.

In the UK, there have been a glut of recovery cafes, some of which have succeeded and others failed, but an increasing quest for diverse programmes and social enterprises that can both bolster recovery experiences while also contributing to the growth and wellbeing of the local community. This article provides a brief overview of the Well and then will focus on its innovative contribution to recovery pathways and community wellbeing.

The Well

The Well is a not-for-profit, community interest company (CIC) formed by ex-offender Dave Higham in 2012. Dave left prison for the last time in 2007 having spent over 25 years in addiction and in that time spent more time in prison than he did in the community. Since leaving prison in 2007 he has dedicated his life to supporting others with drug and alcohol addiction through both voluntary and paid employment. Dave set up The Well with his own money and with no blueprint to follow. Instead, he used his experience, vision and determination to create what has now become a leading provider of recovery services in the region.

Dave set up The Well when he recognised a gap in the provision of services during  off-hours and weekends for those people who wanted to achieve or maintain abstinence. The first hub was launched in Lancaster in 2012, and a further four sites quickly followed in Lancashire and Cumbria (in the North-West of England).The majority of staff at The Well have lived experience of substance misuse and offending histories.

The Well has always been shaped, designed and delivered by the people it serves and supplemented by the assumption that both the person and their family need to recover and are thus welcomed. The Well is also open to people with prescription drug histories, mental health issues and trauma, and nearly all the people served have experienced CPTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). The Well is based on the assumption that ‘Where we serve our community, we become active citizens in the community’.

The Social Supermarket

A Social Supermarket has been designed as a positive way of supporting those on low incomes, tackling poor diet and overcoming health inequalities, through the provision of surplus stock sold at heavily subsidised prices.

Since store’s opening in November 2019, Wellfed Social Supermarket has had a footfall of over 5,000 people and has also resulted in 279 referrals into The Well Communities through various mechanisms of support.  The social supermarket has also facilitated (including but not limited to ) delivery of over 1500 hot meals to marginalised families, issued over 150 food bank vouchers, issued 17 free flu vaccination vouchers, delivered 37 emergency food parcels, delivered 242 sets of ingredients and recipes, and assisted families with welfare signposting in respect of white goods.

Well Fed social supermarket secures high-quality short dated food from retail and manufacture supply chains that would otherwise be sent as waste to landfill but is fit for human consumption. We sell this food to customers at reduced prices, typically an average of one-third of normal retail prices. Marketing is carefully targeted at residents on the lowest incomes and thus at greatest risk of experiencing food poverty and related health issues.

The social supermarket model innovates further by working with local agencies to provide a range of on-site support services. These are tailored to members’ needs and help them overcome multiple barriers to getting out of poverty. On-site support, signposting and assertive linkage may include money advice, debt counselling, and courses on healthy eating and cooking on a budget, as well as employability and vocational skills training. The Well-Fed Social Supermarket is a non-profit organisation with all monies re-invested back into the local community.

The Well Communities Social Supermarket is a model which enables residents in Barrow in Furness to access the retail aspect of the social supermarket and our Fairshare Model Food clubs and to be included in The Well Communities  Building Better Opportunities (BBO) Project  which helps members benefit from the employment and business opportunities that are arising in Barrow in Furness both now and through the longer term delivery of the BBO programme.

This is linked to the Well-fed Food Clubs which provide a sustainable alternative to free food distribution and foodbanks. Through a £3 per week payment, members receive approximately £10 to £15 worth of food each week while reducing food waste by working closely with fareshare North West by collecting the food from the regional Hub in Preston. The Well has built up a very strong membership of marginalised families; most of the postcode areas we serve are listed in the indicies of multiple deprivation. Over 30 tonnes of surplus food has been distributed to date.

The whole model is based on looking upstream and looking behind the actual need for discounted food. Each family has difficulties which mean they need to obtain goods due to some form of financial hardship; the intention is to determine such reasons and help in some way to alleviate these problems. These are then linked to in-house support mechanisms which Include assertive linkage to local statutory and third sector organisations.

Building Recovery and Community Capital                                                                     

The Well identifies people’s recovery capital, identifies their  passions, and works with them to create enterprises. They have had several successful enterprise ideas, the first being The Well itself, but they have also had some failures or learning that were not so successful. To get to the successful Social Supermarket idea we went through a process of ideas and attempts, the first being a catering trailer business, where the Well bought and renovated a trailer and employed a member of our community as he had experience as a chef, got a pitch for the trailer, but the marketing strategy of announcing that we were recovering addicts and alcoholics was the wrong thing to do as in the first year the project  was working at a loss. The lesson was that the most important factor about a food trailer is the pitch, and let this business go but kept the company name Well-Fed and started up foodbanks.

The other successful business, “Well maintained” used the employment capital and experience within the Well membership, including carpenters, electricians, plasterers and so on, and renovated our Dolton Road Hub which is now the location for The Social Supermarket.


There were false first steps on the road to creating the Social Supermarket, but the commitment to the principles of peer empowerment, community engagement and CHIME have resulted in a number of successes that contribute to the growth, wellbeing and inclusiveness of the recovery community as an active and vibrant part of the local, lived community. Not all of these enterprises will succeed, but the skill base, dedication and creativity of the recovery community will ensure a net gain and a positive contribution to individual recovery journeys, family inclusion and community connections and growth.

2020 Faces & Voices of Recovery Annual Report

February 13, 2021