Phil Valentine Sets Off Today: Recovery on the Appalachian Trail

photo-224x300“First of all, celebrations to Phil on his five year recovery from cancer (Today!). And for over 27 years in recovery from addiction.

And if that is not enough he will – in 6 – 8 months time – be in recovery from walking the Appalachian Trail. But firstly, he’s got to walk – and today, get started!!

Wishing you the very best from down under, Phil. We’ll be following you, thinking of you, and spiritually walking alongside you. Enjoy yourself, good friend. Go, Phil, Go.” David Clark and Michael Scott

And for those of you who do not know what is going on, you can find out more here and here. We’ll be following Phil from time-to-time on his journey and I strongly encourage you to follow him directly via: https://twitter.com/pvalentine59 and https://instagram.com/pvalentine59/

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Recovery Walks the Appalachian Trail

Phillip Valentine ’87 (CLAS) on Jan. 15, 2014. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)“Phil Valentine’s call to walk the Appalachian Trail is a vivid example of moving beyond recovery FROM life-threatening illnesses as a means of recovering TO a life of extraordinary possibilities. Thousands of us who have shared the challenges and unexpected gifts from such recovery journeys will be walking in spirit with him.” Bill White

A great Recovery Story starts soon, on 19th March 2015. Well, the Story is already happening, but a new phase starts on that date. Phil Valentine, Executive Director of Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) begins his amazing walk of the Appalachian Trail.

Phil is already a great example of what one can achieve in recovery. But now he takes his journey to another level. We’ll be following Phil from time-to-time on his journey and I strongly encourage you to follow him directly via: https://twitter.com/pvalentine59 and https://instagram.com/pvalentine59/.

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ManyFaces1Voice: Phil Valentine

Unknown-1Every now and again when I am feeling a little down, I see a piece of recovery film and it lifts my mood. I found a piece like this yesterday, a film clip from ManyFaces1Voice of Phil Valentine. Here’s what is said about Phil:

‘Phil Valentine is the Executive Director of Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR).

Phil has been instrumental in the development of the recovery movement. He’s been at CCAR since January 1999, when he organized CCAR’s first Recovery Walks! A sought after speaker, he is recognized around the world for his leadership.

In 2006, the Johnson Institute recognized his groundbreaking work with an America Honors Recovery award.

In 2008, Faces & Voices of Recovery honored CCAR with the first Joel Hernandez Voice of the Recovery Community Award, recognizing it as the outstanding recovery community organization in the country.’

‘Portraits of Strength – Phillip Valentine’ by University of Connecticut

The purpose in my life, I’ve been blessed to find, is to carry the message of recovery. … Integrity is, for me, to live true to that calling. Philip Valentine ’87 (CLAS)

On Oct. 18, 1987, Phillip Valentine was in the birthing room at Rockville General Hospital in Vernon, Conn., high on cocaine and waiting for the arrival of his first child, a baby girl. He describes what happened next as a religious experience.

“I was in a kind of cocaine-induced haze, and when my daughter looked into my eyes, there was so much love and spiritual power,” he says. “That’s when God burned his way into my soul and said, ‘You’re not alone.’”

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ManyFaces1Voice: Michael Askew

UnknownI might be on the other side of the world, but every time I see Michael Askew on film I know I am seeing a true recovery carrier in action. Here is Michael on ManyFaces1Voice.

“Right now, we have to believe that this is a valuable commodity because every time you see somebody in recovery getting well, you know the community is healing. Families are healing, it’s like throwing a rock into the water and that ripple effect…”

Michael Askew is the Manager for the Bridgeport Recovery Community Center under the leadership of Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR).

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My Favourite Blogs: Setting up a Recovery Community

Phillip Valentine, Executive Director for the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR), emphasises that the essential first stages in building a recovery community are to:

  • create a vanguard of recovering people who want to tell their story
  • organise the community, so that there are many different people, with many different types of recovery, all working towards the same aim.

Phil also stresses the importance of providing a way for people to ‘give back’ – giving back is an essential element of recovery for many people – tapping into this energy and ‘helping it flow to where it wants to go.’

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Many Faces1Voice: Phil Valentine

images“I don’t think we’re all that good at handling relapse. We talk about it like, ‘The person wasn’t ready, you know, or it was their fault. And maybe there is some truth to that. But how often does the recovery community, or providers or the system rally behind someone that’s relapsed.

And the native Americans taught me something on their thing, that they, if you truly believe that addiction is a force of darkness or a force of evil or whatever you want to call it, and you’re fighting a battle and once you’re in the light you’re finally fighting a battle against this darkness. Then, in a sense, we’re warriors, aren’t we? Are we? We’re on this side of light, we can be warriors.

You know what this two-word programme is that the native Americans have? Warrior… Down. Do you leave a warrior on the battlefield?” Check out Phil Valentine on Vimeo

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Kathy’s Recovery Minute

“I’d like to stress that one day does not go by that I don’t think about the life I took. I don’t forget that a child grew up without her father and that a mother’s heart was broken because of my choices, including again my own mother.”

“I live a life now full of blessings and I tell my Story as often as I can, so if I can at least save one life, make one change to somebody when they hear my  words, it will make at least some part of this tragedy and pain have some type of meaning for the positive. Thank you.” Kathy of CCAR (Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery)

Michael’s Recovery Minute

“I was ingrained in CCAR to show the positive side of recovery, putting a face on recovery, allowing people to see that recovery was possible. A reality that people in many walks of life would able to get their life together again.

Michael Askew is Manager of the Bridgeport Community Recovery Center, under the auspices of CCAR. Formerly known as Dark Shadow, he has been in recovery from 1989 after being in and out of prison for years (seven visits).

Steve’s Recovery Minute

Here’s Steve’s truly inspiring Recovery Story. Steve is from Birmingham in the UK. Thanks for this, Steve. And thanks to CCAR and their A Recovery Minute series on YouTube.

“… I’m just living a dream. I wouldn’t have had the audacity to believe that I’d be living the life I’m living.

I’m sitting here… I’m in Connecticut… I didn’t move out of my house unless I really had to. I’ve just gone to Philadelphia, gone to Brooklyn. I’ve come to CCAR to look at the service that they deliver, and that’s been really inspiring. I’m going back to New York and then back to Philadelphia.

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Phil’s Recovery Minute

“… There is hope for everyone. And for me hope stands for, ‘Hang On Peace Exists’.

And I found peace after twenty five years. But it didn’t come easily, it didn’t come quickly. It came one day at a time and putting one foot in front of the other.

And here I am. I feel peaceful. I intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle me. I have the love and respect of my family and I love and respect them. I have an incredible staff to work with each and every day, and my life is filled beyond measure.

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‘Sharing our Experience, Strength and Hope, With our Friends Across the Pond’ by Phil and Sandy Valentine

phil-valentineI was looking through my blogs on Wired In To Recovery and came across one focusing on Phil and Sandy Valentine’s trip to the UK in late 2011. Thought I’d provide a link to the original source material on the CCAR website, an interview of this lovely couple by Bill White.

There are a lot of interesting points in this interview, but here are just a few as a taster.

Phil Valentine: Where recovery is concerned, anonymity and stigma still reign. People in recovery have worked in the treatment system for years, and their colleagues and co-workers (never mind the “service users”) don’t know they are in recovery. Personal recovery seems to be a taboo subject. And countrywide denial, particularly with alcoholism, prevails.

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Phil Valentine interview

Film clips of ​Phil Valentine, Executive Director of CCAR, discussing addiction recovery, recovery-based care, and recovery communities. [9 clips]

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CCAR films

Three films from Connecticut Community of Addiction Recovery (CCAR) on the healing power of recovery, making recovery visible and recovery walks. [3 clips]

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Phil Valentine talk

Talk given by Phil Valentine of CCAR in Cardiff, UK 2011 where he discusses recovery, recovery-based care and recovery communities. [5 clips]

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Setting up a Recovery Community

Phillip Valentine, Executive Director for the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR), emphasises that the essential first stages in building a recovery community are to:

  1. create a vanguard of recovering people who want to tell their story
  2. organise the community, so that there are many different people, with many different types of recovery, all working towards the same aim.

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The Healing Power of Recovery

A beautiful film made by Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR). What more can I say?