Grant Me the Wisdom

Merlyn Karst

For those who believe in the power of prayer, the Serenity Prayer, in its simplicity, serves very well. As we begin a new year and new decade, focus on four of its words: accept, courage, change, and wisdom, with emphasis on wisdom. Wisdom has many definitions, accumulating learning being one. I have often stated what prompts my blog content. This prompt was from accumulating learning through a Faces & Voices webinar. Expanding Access to Recovery—subtitled: Sustaining the National Peer Recovery Support Services Infrastructure. The presenters are leaders of organizations and associations in the recovery fields, including host Patty McCarthy, Chief Executive Officer of Faces & Voices of Recovery. Patty presents on behalf of the Association of Recovery Community Organizations. (ARCO).  It is evident through the webinar that there is connection, communication, and collaboration among the five associations represented.  The building of coalitions and constituencies of consequence is vital this election year.

 

Here is a link to the webinar: https://register.gotowebinar.com/recording/8687529846717578503

You will meet Tim Rabolt, Rebecca Bonner, John Cates, and Dave Sheridan. Rebecca Bonner leads the Association of Recovery Schools (ARS), supporting the establishment of new recovery high schools and providing assistance to every student in recovery. Recovery high schools are secondary schools designed specifically for students in recovery from substance use disorder or dependency.  Each school operates differently depending on available community resources and state standards. Tim Rabolt leads the Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE), the only association exclusively representing collegiate recovery programs (CRPs). Here is a quote I found interesting, “ While other groups of classically marginalized populations have begun to find a foothold and support within the university settings (e.g., LGBTQ, gender equality, ethnic identities), those in recovery have largely been left out in the cold due to the fact that their needs run counter to the dominant narrative of the college world. Enter the collegiate recovery program (CRP) movement.”  John Cates, is President of Lifeway International and founder of APG in Houston now growing nationally. John leads the Association of Alternative Peer Groups (AAPG) with programs developing and sustaining effective alternative peer groups that support recovery. I like this quote, “alternative peer groups bring sanity to treatment.”  This added accumulation of wisdom introduced me to APG. I am a promoter and communicator about the importance of peer support. I was impressed with descriptions of trained, supervised, and compensated peers assisting and guiding those in recovery. Visiting the AAPG website is a must for information on the history, model and national reach. Dave Sheridan leads the National Association of Recovery Residences. (NARR). Noteworthy:  In 2011, NARR made history by establishing a national standard for recovery residences. Communities are so misguided and conflicted about the social and economic value of sober living residences. I admire Oxford House, as one model. There are various models across the nation that can serve to educate communities and gain support instead of engaging in expensive conflict and litigation.  There is much wisdom to be gained by visiting the NARR website.

 

Here is a twist on the title of this piece.  Grant me the Wisdom to Obtain Grants. The presenters and a universe of providers of services speak of lack of funding. Faces & Voices of Recovery is advocating for the passage of the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act of 2019, with 145 other organizations, which would provide $100 billion in federal funding over the next ten years to support federal research and programs, including the adoption of evidence-based, nationally recognized, level-of-care standards for addiction treatment and includes peer recovery support. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, is the sponsor of the act, a bill originally introduced by the late Chairman Elijah E. Cummings.  We need to prepare to act on opportunities that result from the CARE Act if passed.

 

For many readers the following grant application information is well known. The purpose in providing this is to give courage to those reluctant to change perspective and accept the challenge of grant applications. Certainly RCOs and assorted non-profits know information is available on the Training Events, Videos, and Reference Materials for Applicants and Grantees page on the SAMHSA Grants website.  Other resources will help you find and apply for funding opportunities.  To apply for a U.S. federal government grant, start by visiting grants.gov and finding potential grants that you’re eligible for. Then, download an application for the grant, fill it out, and register as an applicant through the grants.gov website. Though more generous, government grants are more complicated. Check out local corporations and foundations where amounts may be less but more community focused.

 

There is an old saying “follow the money.”  I suggest that we don’t just follow it but help direct its destination. We smartly use it to support hope, health, and well-being, that is the reality of recovery for millions.

Merlyn Karst