Classic Blog – ‘What is Recovery?’: Julie Repper & Rachel Perkins

2007_0116walpole0097-220x164In my blogs, I will be exploring the nature of recovery and will sometimes focus on the ideas of someone else (or a group of people). I’ve previously looked at how David Best has talked about “What is Recovery?” David described key principles underlying addiction recovery.

In this blog, I am going to look at what Julie Repper and Rachel Perkins have to say about “What is Recovery?”, as described in their excellent book Social Inclusion and Recovery: A Model for Mental Health Practice. They include a number of quotes about recovery, some of which I will use here.

As Julie and Rachel point out the concept of mental health recovery did not come from professionals and academics. It emerged from the writings of people who themselves face the challenges of life with mental health problems. On the basis of such accounts Anthony (1993) described recovery as:

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’Self-Determination in Mental Health Recovery: Taking Back Our Lives (Part 2)’ by Mary Ellen Copeland

Unknown-7Breaking Down Barriers to Self-Determination
There are many assumptions about “mental illness” and mental health that must change, and are changing, that will facilitate the personal process of self-determination and taking back our lives.

When I first decided to reach out for help to deal with the difficult feelings I had been having all my life, I went through a lengthy questioning process (assessment) that had little or nothing to do with the way I was feeling.

I was given a diagnosis, told what that diagnosis would mean in terms of what I could expect in my life, and given medications that I was told I must take, probably for the rest of my life. Little attention was paid to my “out of control” lifestyle, my abusive relationship and my history of childhood sexual and emotional abuse and trauma.

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’Self-Determination in Mental Health Recovery: Taking Back Our Lives (Part 1)’ by Mary Ellen Copeland

Unknown-7This morning I was thinking about factors that facilitate healing amongst Indigenous people in preparation for some content I’m writing for Sharing Culture. I first thought ‘self-determination’. We know that self-determination is key for recovery, yet the white-dominated society here (and in other colonised nations) forces its way of doing things on indigenous people, even when it does not work.

Anyway, I googled self-determination, and came up with this excellent article by Mary Ellen Copeland. I thought I would upload Mary Ellen’s article in several parts.

‘The most important aspect of mental health recovery for me personally is self-determination. My connection with people in the system and in recovery has convinced me that the same is true for others.

In this paper I will discuss both my personal perspectives and the perspectives of others on this important topic based on many years of experience as a person, a user of mental health services, a researcher and a teacher.

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‘Emotional Unmanageability’ by Veronica Valli

A nice short blog from Veronica Valli to reflect upon at the start of the week.

ID-10084481-300x198‘Unmangagbility and alcoholism are talked about a lot in recovery circles. When unmanageability was explained to me, it was described an outside occurrence; unpaid bills, DUI’s, divorce, car crashes, damaged furniture, broken bones etc.

That wasn’t something I related to, my life was a little chaotic but by no means unmanageable. My inner life was another story, that was then I realized in relation to alcoholism it is emotional unmanageability that causes the real problems.

To some degree, the alcoholic may be able to create some sense of order in their outside world. They may be able to work and pay their mortgage, for instance. This is how some alcoholics can convince themselves they don’t have a problem; because they have a job and a car they believe things can’t be that bad.

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‘This Is An Alcoholic’ by Beth Burgess

london recovery coach.jpgAnother little gem from Beth Burgess.

A piece I wrote before I was in recovery. A bit of a rant at the current addiction treatments too. Do you identify as an alcoholic or addict?

No-one these days seems to understand what an alcoholic is. Middle-class winos, binge-drinking teenagers, hard-drinking journalists or Wall Street party-boys. These people are all labelled as alcoholics of some description. And yet most of them are probably not alcoholics at all.

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‘What is Recovery?’: Julie Repper & Rachel Perkins

2007_0116walpole0097Another favourite past blog:

‘In my blogs, I will be exploring the nature of recovery and will sometimes focus on the ideas of someone else (or a group of people). I’ve previously looked at how David Best has talked about “What is Recovery?” David described key principles underlying addiction recovery.

In this blog, I am going to look at what Julie Repper and Rachel Perkins have to say about “What is Recovery?”, as described in their excellent book Social Inclusion and Recovery: A Model for Mental Health Practice. They include a number of quotes about recovery, some of which I will use here.

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‘Trauma Trails, Recreating Song Lines: The Transgenerational Effects of Trauma in Indigenous Australia’ by Judy Atkinson

rsz_41sanqzdhyl_bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_sx385_sy500_cr00385500_sh20_ou02_Every now and again, I read a book related to the recovery field which helps create a small shift in the way I work. A few months ago, I read a book that has opened my eyes to a problem I knew existed… but had little idea about. A big shift in the way I work is occurring.

Transgenerational, or historical trauma, is the transmission of trauma across generations arising from colonisation and its associated violence and control, seen in Australian Aboriginals and other indigenous populations, e.g. North American Native Indians, Maoris of New Zealand. This historical trauma influences individuals, families and communities.

Expressions of historical trauma in Aboriginal people can be seen in: adults who feel inadequate in their day-to-day functioning: the poor physical and psychological health and much lower life expectancy; the escalation in addiction to alcohol and other substances which are used as a coping mechanism; the increase in domestic violence across generations; the self-harm, suicide and risk-taking that occurs when people can find no meaning to their existence and have no sense of purpose for their day-to-day activities.

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What Works in Treatment?: Tim’s Story

rsz_img_2891Here are Tim’s experiences of treatment. Well, actually two different forms of treatment, one which did not help and the other that helped Tim overcome his addiction to alcohol and opiates. Tim is a doctor and his Story is packed full of insights. Here, I’ll start with his moment of clarity.

‘The epiphany which did eventually provoke some help-seeking was relatively simple. I came down to the kitchen one morning feeling wretched and defeated. I opened the cupboard and reached up. With one hand I brought down the cornflakes and with the other the whisky bottle.

I flexed my elbows to bring the two closer to me and weighing them up in my hands I thought, “There’s something not right about this… there’s something very wrong with this picture.” The bit of me that wanted to drink finally began to yield to the bit that didn’t. Shortly after, I went so see my GP.

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‘Warning Signs of an Alcohol or Drug Relapse’ by Matt Kay

images-2‘Relapse is so common in the alcohol and drug recovery process that it is estimated that more than 90 percent of those trying to remain abstinent have at least one relapse before they achieve lasting sobriety.

But a relapse, sometimes called a “slip,” doesn’t begin when you pick up a drink or a drug.

It is a slow process that begins long before you actually use.The steps to a relapse are actually changes in attitudes, feelings and behaviours that gradually lead to the final step, picking up a drink or a drug.

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Finding Hope: The Second Step to Recovery

imagesA great blog from Emily Battaglia on the Drug & Alcohol Addiction Recovery Magazine website. 

‘People who are in the initial stages of recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism often struggle to find hope. They have a difficult time believing that recovery is possible, but identifying new sources of hope and strength is a crucial part of the recovery process.

These sources provide the foundation for a new beginning. Those who complete the second step in a traditional 12-step program say, “We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

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Neuroscientist Marc Lewis On His Drug Addiction

Marc Lewis knows the power of addiction. His relationship with drugs took many forms over many years and accompanied him around the world. It was a story that seemed unlikely to have a happy ending.

It began in a New England boarding school where, bullied and homesick for Canada, he made brief escapes from reality by way of cough medicine and alcohol. Then a move to California in its hippie heyday brought him face to face with LSD, and finally heroin. In Asia, he joined American medics sniffing nitrous oxide in the Malay jungle and found a second home in the opium dens of Calcutta.

Back in Canada as a student, he resorted to stealing drugs from labs and medical centres. He then got clean for a while, but ended up working in a mental hospital, where he fled the madness around and within him through a desperate return to drugs.

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‘What is Recovery?’: Julie Repper & Rachel Perkins

2007_0116walpole0097In my blogs, I will be exploring the nature of recovery and will sometimes focus on the ideas of someone else (or a group of people). I’ve previously looked at how David Best has talked about “What is Recovery?” David described key principles underlying addiction recovery.

In this blog, I am going to look at what Julie Repper and Rachel Perkins have to say about “What is Recovery?”, as described in their excellent book Social Inclusion and Recovery: A Model for Mental Health Practice. They include a number of quotes about recovery, some of which I will use here.

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‘Will I ever smile again?’ by Maddie

IMG_2338As some of you know, I developed the online recovery community Wired In To Recovery (WITR). I always loved it when a community member wrote their first blog on WITR, particularly when they described their lives and feelings. Sometimes, people ‘surfaced’ with just a few sentences like, “I’m Bob, I have just accessed treatment after ten years heroin addiction. I’ll be back soon and blog again.”

And sure enough, most would be back and their blogs would increase in length and number. Some people were looking for help online and they would receive comments from other community members. And they would respond to these comments.

One person who surfaced on WITR was Maddie, someone from somewhere in Australia. I started to comment on Maddie’s blogs and I then started to provide some help by e-mail. It wasn’t long before we were emailing each other regularly.

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