News About Addiction, Recovery and Advocacy

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In their classic 1992 text, The Spirituality of Imperfection, Ernie Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham described six dimensions of spirituality at the core of the recovery experience: release, gratitude, humility, tolerance, forgiveness, and being-at-home. In my prolonged mentorship by and collaborations with Ernie, we often returned to those central themes.

Meet Molly, one of our “Mama’s in Recovery”. Molly took the time to sit down with Faces & Voices of Recovery to share a bit of her story.

Molly leans on the ladies for support. “The group chats…get me out of my shell…I have acquaintances but not deep friendships…these girls make plans and I just show up…it’s hard sometimes to accept that they are there for me and that they care. I wonder sometimes if they do but they really do care”.

I was listening to James Taylor’s song, “Fire and Rain.” He wrote about his lived experience. A friend died, he had a “monkey on his back” and spent time in rehab for a “drug problem.” He wrote this line: I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend. He found one in Carol King and collaborated on the song “You’ve Got a Friend. I like this verse:  you're down and troubled and you need some love and care… the distant past, I enjoyed the drug alcohol, my only drug of choice. It was cheap, accessible, and legal. It served many purposes, alleviating pain in mind and body. I came to realize the pain stays mainly in the brain. Eliza Doolittle “My Fair Lady” might have said, it done well for me, till it done me in. I learned from a friend that alcohol is out to kill you, but first it wants to get you alone. It wants to be your best and only friend.  And, I might add, it says, you don’t need family either.

I rarely post guest blogs on this website, but occasionally I run across a piece of writing that strikes me as important to share with my readers. The short essay below was written by Erik Haines and offers insight into the growth of the recovery advocacy movement in Canada. It is posted here as originally written with the author’s permission.

International headlines abound of the harsh drug policies and killing of addicted people in the Philippines, but the prevailing mantra of the international recovery advocacy movement—recovery by any means necessary under any circumstances—is nowhere more evident than in the Philippines. There is, in fact, a rising recovery advocacy movement in the Philippines mobilizing people in recovery,(……)

Andy: Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

Red: Hope is a dangerous thing my friend, it can kill a man.

–The Shawshank Redemption

In earlier blogs, we explored the curse of low recovery expectations expressed in policy, professional, and public contexts and how those who work in addiction treatment and other recovery support roles can counter addiction-related stigma in their public and professional interactions. The present blog addresses how those working in such roles can ignite hope among addicted people and their families who may themselves have internalized the socially and professionally pervasive pessimism about the prospects of long-term addiction recovery.

A significant portion of people who resolve alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems do not embrace a recovery identity—do not see themselves as recovered, recovering, or in recovery. I first suggested this in Pathways from the Culture of Addiction to the Culture Recovery (1990) and later in a co-authored essay on the varieties of recovery experience (White & Kurtz, 2006), but had nothing but years of observation and anecdotal stories to support it. When I was asked about the prevalence of adoption or non-adoption of a recovery identity among people who had resolved AOD problems, no data were available to inform that question. Thanks to a just-published study by Dr. John Kelly and colleagues of the Recovery Research Institute, there is now data that addresses that and related questions.

September is National Recovery Month
Rallying FOR or Rallying AGAINST? Why it matters.

For decades, recovery advocates have come together at rallies across the nation and internationally to support a cause near and dear to our hearts, and personal for so many of us. Recovery from addiction is a cause for celebration and rallies are held to share our excitement and enthusiasm for the promise and hope that recovery provides. A public rally during National Recovery Month each September is a terrific display of support not only for the 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. who have overcome addiction but for the many individuals and organizations in the community who never give up on us [people recovering/ in recovery]. They keep our focus on the solution- to help more people find recovery.

One of the distinctive features of the recovery advocacy movement is its commitment to transcend the historical barriers that have separated people within the United States and across the world. I have been particularly moved by the growth of recovery community organizations around the globe. In the U.S., early RCOs within African American communities and within Indian Country were among the midwives of the new recovery advocacy movement. Since then, calls have increased to extend these efforts into Latino, Asian and other ethnic communities within the U.S. The following advocacy essay by Angelo Lagares and Gaynelle Gosselin is a reminder to us all of the import of such inclusiveness. I was very touched by their passion and their eloquence and wish to share their call to action with my readers. Bill

September is National Recovery Month and each year many of the recovering millions will stand up, stand out, speak out, and be proud of their recovery. Faces and Voices of Recovery annually designates a city for a national hub event. This year it is in Denver, Colorado. Advocates for Recovery-Colorado will hold a Rally for RecoverWe in Civic Center Park on September 15. It begins with assembly and registration at union station at 10 a.m.. Beginning at 11, all will walk down the 16th Street Mall to the park. The music, faces and voices of recovery, food and fun fills the afternoon. On a solemn note: This year’s rally features a Remembrance Tree for those lost to the substance use disorder we know as addiction.