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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What facilitates recovery from mental health problems?

IMG_2882I was looking through my old blogs on Wired In To Recovery and came across this one.

The blog is based on a paper by Wendy Brown and Niki Kandirikirira, entitled “Recovering Mental Health in Scotland: Report on Narrative Investigation of Mental Health Recovery”. It’s the 19th manuscript in the list on this page.

‘This research involved the recovery narratives of 64 individuals in Scotland who identified themselves as being in recovery or recovered from a long-term mental health problems.

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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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From Discovery To Recovery: My Emotional Journey As The Parent Of An Addict

iStock_000017274301XSmall1-300x199Powerful writing from Ron Grover, a parent of a son with a substance use problem, which appeared on the Intervene website.

‘What’s it like being the parent of an addict? I’m not talking about the day-to-day experience with a crisis and drama around every corner. I mean what is it like inside the mind of a parent who has gone from discovery (of a child’s drug use) to recovery (from a drug addiction)?

As I take stock of my current emotional state – examining all of the emotions I have felt over the last 10 years – I wonder: Am I normal? Am I a survivor? Am I crazy? Maybe I’m just a composite of these experiences and it’s simply who I am now.

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‘What’s Next for the Truth?’ by Suzanne Beachy

Any diagnosis of mental illness results in a complicated and uncertain fate for those it strikes. When you lose a son as a result of such a diagnosis, it ignites a search for answers. Suzanne Beachy has gained a perspective on life as a result of her loss but is still asking, “What is the truth?”

Suzanne gave this talk at the TEDxColumbus event in 2010.

Addiction Recovery: Getting Clean At 22

IMG_2353I found this powerful Recovery Story on the Huffington Post website. It’s nice to see such a story of hope amongst the addiction-focused ‘stories’ that predominate in the popular media. There is also a short video interview to watch.

‘On March 4th, 2012, I was having trouble breathing. “Am I going to be okay?” I asked the nurse who was monitoring my heart rate. “I don’t know,” she said. “If you are, I hope you stop destroying your life.”

It was not the first time substance abuse had landed me in the emergency room. But, though I didn’t know it then, it would be the last.

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‘An old cynic now believes in Recovery’ by Maggie Messenger

P1010935I really liked this blog on Wired In To Recovery, which appeared in June 2010.

‘I have just returned from a visit to the SHARP Recovery service in Liverpool. Having worked within the drug and alcohol field for almost 20 years I had heard the word “Recovery” tossed about here and there and, like a revival of the “midi”, come back into fashion again!

So I took my old cynical head and was prepared to look and see what this “new and improved Recovery” looked like.

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Message from David

P4081202A major focus of this website is to help people understand how they can recover from addiction. How to initiate the process of recovery and how to maintain recovery despite the day-to-day struggles and obstacles we all face.  How to live without resorting to the use of substances as a coping mechanism.

Some of what appears on this website will be relevant to people taking their first steps on their journey to recovery. This might involve a person using clean needles and syringes for the first time, or involve a person realising the damage that their drinking is doing to themself.

Other content will be oriented towards people who are much further along in their recovery, who are looking for things that can facilitate their recovery journey and daily living. This content may be focused on spirituality or recovery coaching, for example.

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‘Hope and Full Recovery From Addiction’ by Kendra Sebelius

IMG_1870Hope is a key element of recovery. You need hope at the beginning of your recovery journey and at various other stages along the way, particularly when you are struggling and/or facing obstacles. Other recovering people provide hope by showing that recovery is possible via a multitude of different pathways.   

Here’s a blog from Kendra Sebelius I spotted the other day on the HealthyPlaces website. It focuses on hope and provides some hints to facilitate your recovery.

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‘Solving addiction lies in empowerment, not shame’ by Beth Burgess

P1011013Found this article by Beth Burgess in the New Statesman in October 2012. Beth is certainly getting her writing in a number of important places. Well done, Beth.

‘Brighton’s Recovery Walk is an important sign that stigma about addiction isn’t acceptable.
What springs to mind when you envisage thousands of excited alcoholics and drug addicts gathered on the streets of Brighton? The casting queue for The Jeremy Kyle Show? Early opening at the dole office? A new Wetherspoons opening up on the seafront?

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Family members

Film clips showing that family members of a person with drug and alcohol addiction develop their own problems from which they need recovery. [3 clips]

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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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Adam’s Recovery Story: ‘A moment of clarity’

After spending years locked into an addiction to amphetamine, cannabis and alcohol, Adam’s recovery took him to the other side of the world, where he lives happily with his new family.

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Factors that facilitate recovery

The importance of these factors has been demonstrated by listening to the narratives of recovering people about their journeys into and out of addiction (1,200 words).

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Must-read books: ‘Tweak’ and ‘Beautiful Boy’

P4081216Five years ago I read two remarkable books by a father and son. There was only one way to describe these books – they were an emotional roller coaster.  I read one straight after the other, hardly putting them down.

I was wrapped… and I was drained! I felt despair… and then hope. I learnt so much from these books. I cannot recommend them highly enough.

The two books were addiction Recovery Stories, written by Nic and David Scheff.  Here’s what the back cover of Nic’s book Tweak had to say:

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‘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 wet 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.

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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.

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‘The astonishing power of example’ by Peapod

P1010948This blog appeared on WITR in April 2009.

‘Astonishment. That’s what I felt the first time I was taken to a mutual aid group meeting.

I was in treatment at the time in a residential centre. I was also neck deep in trouble. I had lost my job through my using. As part of the fallout from my own million megaton addiction detonation, I’d caused someone else to lose their job. The police were on my tail and I was massively in debt.

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Natalie’s Story: ‘I didn’t plan to be an addict’ (Part 1)

IMG_3464I first met ‘Natalie’ over 12 years ago when I lived in South Wales. I will never forget how she emphasised the importance of providing online support for people with substance use problems. She had been desperate to find helpful online information when she trying to overcome her drug problem.

Natalie has always been such an inspiration to people around her. Mind you, many people had to first get over the shock of finding that such a lovely lady had once been a heroin addict.

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Natalie’s Recovery Story: ‘I didn’t plan to be an addict’

Treatment staff and her peers not only taught Natalie how to live a happy and rewarding life without using drugs and alcohol, but also how to be a responsible and caring mother to her son.

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