‘The Language of Recovery Advocacy’ by Bill White

Language“Words are important.  If you want to care for something, you call it a “flower”; if you want to kill something, you call it a “weed”.  Don Coyhis”

Some will question why we as recovery advocates should invest valuable time debating the words used to convey alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems and their solutions when there are suffering individuals and families that need to be engaged, recovery support resources that need to be created, communities that need to be educated, and regressive, discriminatory policies that need to be changed.

We must invest this time because achieving our broader goals depends on our ability to forge a recovery-oriented vocabulary.

Words have immense power to wound or heal.  The wrong words shame people with AOD problems and drive them into the shadows of subterranean cultures.  The wrong words, by conveying that people are not worthy of recovery and not capable of recovery, fuel self-destruction and prevent or postpone help-seeking.

Read More ➔

‘A Rendezvous With Hope’ by Bill White

“Life and their addictions had delivered to these women more than enough pain; what was needed was an unrelenting source of hope delivered to them by a cadre of recovering women who lacked much by way of professional credentials and polish, but who brought an inextinguishable and contagious faith in the transformative power of recovery.

These outreach workers knew recovery was possible.  They were themselves the living proof of that proposition.  And they spread the germ of recovery to women who initially caught it rather than chose it.”

outreachHere’s the latest blog from Bill White. It’s about hope.

‘Through my early tenure in the addictions field, the question of readiness for treatment and recovery was thought to be a pain quotient.  We then believed that people didn’t enter recovery until they had “hit bottom.”  If a person did not show evidence of such pain-induced readiness, they were often refused admission to treatment.

Then we recognized that the reason it took people so long to “hit bottom” was that they were protected from the painful consequences of their alcohol and other drug use by people we called “enablers.”  We then set about teaching enablers to stop rescuing and protecting their beloved but addicted family members. 

Read More ➔

‘Recovering from Psychiatry – Tips and Some Hope For Those in Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal’ by Laura Delano

This video offers tips, suggestions, and hope for those in psychiatric drug withdrawal from ex-“Bipolar” patient and psychiatric liberation writer and activist, Laura Delano. An excellent video.

‘I Am Not Anonymous’ website: Kate’s Story

Kate(pp_w1000_h431)Please check out this wonderful website, I Am Not Anonymous. And check out the wonderful photographer who has put this together. 

‘I’m Kate Meyer… a NY based Portrait and Wedding Photographer and lover of all things humanity-related.

It is hard to even know where to begin.  I will start by saying that I am by no means, an expert on addiction.  Have I been greatly affected by it?  YES.  I am my own expert in that field.

Long story short, I am in a relationship with a man in recovery from drug addiction.  What that means is that he hasn’t picked up a drink or drug in a significant amount of time and as a result,  his life gets better every single day.

Read More ➔

‘High on Hope’: Peter’s Story

Please watch this excellent filmed Recovery Story. Thank you so much for this share, Peter.

‘A frank and honest account of a life dominated by addiction and crime that ends on a ‘HIGH’ – Peter’s story is testament to the paradigm shifts that can happen when people have, ‘just had enough’, ask for help and receive a sufficient amount of it.

Peter has turned his previous experiences into a positive as he now creates a positive ripple-effect in his community by helping others.

Read More ➔

5th Year Anniversary for Ron Grover’s blog

dm1One of the most popular blog postings on this website is From Discovery To Recovery: My Emotional Journey As The Parent Of An Addict by Ron Grover. Well worth a visit.

Ron celebrated the 5th anniversary of his blog An Addict In Our Son’s Bedroom last month. Here is what he had to say:

‘On January 20, 1999 I began writing this blog. Never when I began did I think it would become what it has and last this long. At this point it has become an old friend and it keeps me connected to friends all over.

Read More ➔

My Favourite Blogs: ‘Recovery and the Conspiracy of Hope’ by Pat Deegan

2007_0116walpole0154Here is a classic presentation made by Pat Deegan at “There’s a Person In Here”, The Sixth Annual Mental Health Services Conference of Australia and New Zealand. Brisbane, Australia.

Beautiful writing, a must-read. I’ll whet your appetite:

‘I love the word conspiracy. It comes from the Latin “conspirare” which means to breath the spirit together. What is the spirit we are breathing together here today?

It is a spirit of hope. Both individually and collectively we have refused to succumb to the images of despair that so often are associated with mental illness.

Read More ➔

Favourite Blogs: Research shows the dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network

2007_0116walpole0146Here’s one of my own blogs from WITR, written in January 2009, not long after the launch of the website.

‘Last week, the British Medical Journal published a very interesting article on the Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network. This high quality research involved a longitudinal analysis over 20 years of participants in a long-term health study in America (the Framingham Heart Study, see at end of Blog for further details].

The research involved 12,067 individuals who were connected to someone else in this population at some point between 1971 and 2003. Researchers measured happiness by a questionnaire and conducted a complicated statistical analysis of the relationships between people in this large social network.

Read More ➔

My Favourite Blogs: How do I know a treatment service is recovery-oriented?

This is one of the most important blogs on the Recovery Stories website.

Some treatment services today say they are doing recovery – using recovery-based care – when they are not in fact doing so. So how do you know that you are going to receive genuine recovery-based care when you sign up to a treatment service claiming to be recovery-oriented?

Here is some help from Mark Ragins, a leading figure in the mental health recovery field, about what to look for in a service offering recovering-based care. Mark may be talking about mental health recovery, but what he says is of relevance to addiction recovery.

Read More ➔

Recovery Stories Highlight: ‘What is Recovery?” by David Best

Unknown-3I thought I’d devote Saturdays to re-publishing some of my favourite blogs. Here is the first:

‘David Best has done a huge amount for the addiction recovery field and for the Recovery Movements in the UK and Australia, in terms of his research, writings, advocacy and a wide range of other recovery-based activities. Where he gets his energy from, I have no idea?

I thought it was worth showing what David thinks about the question, ‘What is Recovery’. I’ve followed his arguments and included quotes from his excellent book, Addiction Recovery: A Movement for Social Change and Personal Growth in the UK.

Read More ➔

Indigenous Circle of Hope

‘Welcome to the Circle of Life/Hope. This animated visual short film you are about to see is a story of prophecy.

The story of man going down the wrong path, with one day the possibility of finding the path of peace and love. What we are seeing around the world with wars, genocide, diseases, climate change such as global warming, and potential earth changes that have been foretold by many seers and indigenous peoples.

This is that story in animated visuals and soundtrack that will shake you to your roots. We must shift to this path, without hesitation.’

‘Full Recovery from Schizophrenia’ by Paris Williams

Full-moon-dark-sky-300x200‘This is the first of a series of blog postings related to my own series of research studies (my doctoral research at Saybrook University) of people who have made full and lasting medication-free recoveries after being diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.

This is very exciting research because it is one of the few areas within psychological research that remains almost completely wide open. One reason it is so wide open is that most Westerners don’t believe that genuine recovery from schizophrenia and other related psychotic disorders is possible, in spite of significant evidence to the contrary.

Since there are some very hopeful findings that have emerged within this research, I want to begin this series of postings by summing up one particularly hopeful aspect of my own research, which is a group of five factors that emerged which are considered to have been the most important factors in my participants’ recovery process. But before looking closer at these factors, we should back up for a minute…

Read More ➔

A Journey Toward Recovery: From the Inside Out

IMG_2364-220x165Today, I thought I’d repost a blog from our early days. It is from an extraordinary article by Dale Walsh written back in 1996 which really summed up what recovery and recovery principles mean to a person who has been suffering from mental health problems.

At the the time, the original article had been ‘lost’, due to the original website  being redeveloped. However, I  have found it now! Enjoy!

The Problem
“For many years I believed in a traditional medical model. I had a disease. I was sick. I was told I was mentally ill, that I should learn to cope with my anxiety, my depression, my pain, and my panic. I never told anyone about the voices, but they were there, too. I was told I should change my expectations of myself and realize I would always have to live a very restricted life.

Read More ➔

‘Nelson Mandela: uniting humanity around the world’ from The Elders

The Elders are deeply saddened by the death of their founder Nelson Mandela, and join millions around the world who were inspired by his courage and touched by his compassion.

‘Hope and Recovery: Part 2’ by Pat Deegan

rsz_beautiful-bhutan-pictures-91‘Recently I was asked to give some brief comments for a German publication.  I was asked: “Given that hope is an is an important aspect of recovery, how can professionals give hope. Have you experienced someone giving you hope? Do you remember a special situation?”  I replied:

“Professionals can’t give hope. But they can be hopeful. They can root their work in hope. Hope is different than optimism.

Optimism is shallow and trite. Optimism is false hope. Workers who are optimistic are like cheerleaders at a football match. They say shallow, unhelpful things like, “I just know you can recover. Everything will be all right. Tomorrow will be a better day.”

Read More ➔

‘Hope and Recovery: Part 1’ by Pat Deegan

lighthouse_01‘Hope is important to recovery because hopelessness and biological life are incompatible (Seligman). When faced with adversity, human beings need hope in order to overcome. Mental health professionals can contribute to hopefulness for recovery or they can convey hopeless messages which are toxic and soul killing.

When I was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 17, my psychiatrist told me that I had a disease called schizophrenia and that I would be sick for the rest of my life. He told me that I would have to take high dose haloperidol for the rest of my life. He said, I should retire from life and avoid stress.

I have come to call my psychiatrist’s pronouncement a “prognosis of doom”. He was condemning me to a life of handicaptivity wherein I was expected to take high dose neuroleptics, avoid stress, retire from life and I was not even 18 years old!

Read More ➔

What Works in Treatment?: Adam’s Story

rsz_img_3275In the second of our series on what works in treatment, we look at Adam’s experiences and views. Adam had a problem with alcohol, amphetamine and cannabis before attending a residential rehab in Northam, Western Australia. 

‘I remember my first day in the rehab very well. I thought to myself, “What am I doing here? What have I got myself into?” I was very, very nervous, and along with the shakes and anxiety from coming off the alcohol, I was a right mess. However nervous I felt though, I had made my mind up before the implant operation that I was not going to drink or drug again. I was determined to do something about my addictions.

I did all the necessary paper work and was shown around, before being taken to my room. I was relieved to find I had a room to myself. I then sat on the end of the bed with the two garbage bags that contained my possessions, and had a good cry. I started to think about my family and I realised how much I missed them. Later that day, I was allocated a night to cook dinner and assigned a daily chore.

Read More ➔

‘The Past, Present and Future’ by Maddy

Unknown-1Unexpected memories can throw me off track in a second! Like today, I’ve been wondering around the Westfield shopping centre killing time before an appointment. I walked into a store that I used to work in when using and the memories came rushing back, followed by a real dip in my mood.

Suddenly, I’m sad, scared about my future, worried I’ll never be ok. Missing the buzz I had when using. The freedom from feelings. The confidence.

It’s still so overwhelming that I’m in recovery. Sometimes, I feel so lost and empty, but other times full of hope and faith.

Read More ➔

Marion’s Story: My Resilience

A number of factors have contributed to the development of Marion’s resilience and her ability to live successfully in two cultures.

Read More ➔

Simon’s Moment of Clarity

post1In reading Simon’s Recovery Story, it seems that he had two major Moments of Clarity. Mind you, I’m sure he had many others along his recovery journey!

‘One day, I received a letter from the head of faculty, asking me to come to see him in his office. I’d stopped attending lectures and tutorials, and I was only attending university to collect giro cheques from my mailbox.

I knew that my addiction had come out on top again, and that I’d need all my wits about me if everything was not all going to fall down around me – my brittle facade of lies and last chances and denial that I would retreat into every time I was challenged.

Read More ➔