Classic Blog – ‘Losing a Self: Lying to Yourself’ by Stephanie Brown

rsz_41a-shrpktl_bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_sx342_sy445_cr00342445_sh20_ou02_I’ve made reference to Stephanie Brown’s brilliant book A Place Called Self: Women, Sobriety, and Radical Transformation in past blogs. I’ve recommended this book to several women in early recovery and they have really like it.

Here, Stephanie describes how one’s self (or identity) changes in a negative manner during the process of addiction. She focuses on lying to oneself.

‘… addiction develops over time, and it involves changes in the way you behave but also changes in the way you think: the way you think about drinking, the way you think about yourself, and the way you think about life.

You start to build your sense of self on a a false belief, the belief that you can control your drinking or other addictive behavior. This isn’t an easy thing to do. Since you really don’t have control, you’re going to have to lie to yourself in order to believe you are not addicted.

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‘Listening Across the Stages of Recovery’ by Bill White

ListeningAnother powerful blog from Bill White.

‘Addiction shrinks one’s world to a state of stark self-imprisonment.  As the person-drug relationship devours everything else of value, nothing remains that cannot and will not be sacrificed.

And as the drug then devours the self, what remains are only manipulative masks interchanged so quickly that any sense of “true self” remains as only a faint memory.  This shell, now masquerading as a person, burns its way through the world leaving human wreckage in its wake – all wounded by addiction’s self-centeredness, dishonesty, disloyalty, depravity, and brutality.

Extreme narcissism, self-will run riot in the language of Alcoholics Anonymous, is the essence of addiction regardless of whether one sees this trait as a cause or consequence of addiction.  It is a paradoxical entrapment manifested in self-absorption (self-inflation and exploitation or self-deflation and serial victimization) and deteriorating capacities for self-care. 

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‘Experiencing Recovery – Part 8′ by William L. White: History of Recovery Support

Bill introduces about the various types of recovery support that have existed historically: natural support, limited generalist support within the community, peer recovery (mutual aid) and treatment. He then goes on to describe how things have been changing in recent years.

‘Experiencing Recovery – Part 5′ by William L. White: Recovery Identity & Cultural Affiliation

This part of Bill’s excellent talk focuses on identity, social stigma and recovery styles. He describes how some people hide behind anonymity because they are ashamed of themselves.

‘Recovery: What Do We Know and Where Might We Go?’ by David Best

Dr David Best of Monash University gives the Keynote Speech at the CSARS Conference at the University of Chester in 2014. Well worth watching, particularly as David is one of the world’s leading recovery researchers.

The talk ends after 65 minutes, after which there is a panel discussion.

‘A personal and social model of recovery’ by David Best

Unknown-1Here’s another excellent article from David Best which is essential reading for people trying to facilitate recovery.

‘There has been a subtle change to the role of recovery in UK addictions research, policy and practice in recent years, with a transition from the periphery to centre stage. But it can be argued that, for all the bluster, we still have a limited evidence base and we have not come far in developing an integrated or testable theoretical model.

Humphreys and Lembke (2013) have done a good job in summarising the ‘what works’ of recovery – focusing on three areas: peer-inclusive interventions, recovery housing and mutual-aid groups – so this article will not revisit that evidence.

What I will do is overview three key component parts of a theoretical model of recovery, then draw them together to derive conclusions about what we should do next to make policy and practice stronger in this area.

  1. Recovery capital – personal and social resources – the journey of growth
  2. Social identity and social contagion in recovery – the role of friends and connections
  3. Therapeutic landscapes of recovery – the role of location.

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Balunu Foundation Cultural Healing Program

I love the look of this healing programme in northern Australia.

‘The Balunu Foundation Cultural Healing program delivers cultural healing programs to many at risk youth. The healing retreat and program are located in Darwin, NT and youth have attended the program from all over Australia.

Although the program was established to help address the many challenges faced by Indigenous youth, it has had as great an impact with non-Indigenous youth who have attended the program.

Balunu adopts a holistic and culturally appropriate approach to strengthening the youth with a major focus on suicide prevention, substance abuse, emotional, mental and physical trauma, intergenerational trauma, family disruption, homelessness, crime and education.

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Recovery from mental disorders, lecture by Pat Deegan

Patricia Deegan PhD is a psychologist and researcher. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teeenager. For years, Patricia has worked with people with mental disorders in various ways, to help them get better and lead rewarding lives.

This film features clips from a lecture by Patricia Deegan on the subject of her own route to recovery. She describes how her diagnosis took on ‘a master status in terms of her identity’. Her humanity seemed to others ‘to be quite secondary.’

‘He had read a generic text book and simply applied it to the case in font of him. Schizophrenics don’t recover, Pat Deegan won’t recover. It was that simple…’

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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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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.

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New Resource: Stephanie Brown on Recovery

Unknown-1I’ve added the following to the Resources section.

‘These blogs are based on Stephanie Brown’s wonderful book, A Place Called Self: Women, Sobriety, and Radical Transformation. In her book, Stephanie talks about what happens to women in recovery, how they think, how they feel, their problems, the good things, etc. (The book is relevant to men as well!)

What is Recovery? (Part 1)
“Recovery has held so many surprises for me. Some good. Some bad. I didn’t know I could hurt so much. But I also didn’t know I could love so much and be so loved.”

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Stephanie Brown on Recovery

These blogs are based on Stephanie Brown’s wonderful book, A Place Called Self: Women, Sobriety, and Radical Transformation. In her book, Stephanie talks about what happens to women in recovery, how they think, how they feel, their problems, the good things, etc. (The book is relevant to men as well!)

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Sharing Culture: Transcending Historical Trauma

Sharing Culture is a new initiative I am developing with Dr. Marion Kickett, a Noongar Aboriginal leader and Associate Professor at Curtin University, and Perth filmmaker Michael Liu

Sharing Culture is a unique initiative to empower Aboriginal people to heal and develop resilience to historical trauma and its consequences. These consequences include poor physical health, mental health problems, drug and alcohol addiction, violence, abuse and suicide.  

Sharing Culture is based on the core values of authenticity, connection, courage, creativity, empathy and forgiveness.

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‘Coping in Early Recovery: The Toddler Stage’ by Stephanie Brown

images-1In my last blog on Stephanie Brown’s book  A Place Called Self: Women, Sobriety, and Radical Transformation, I looked at what Stephanie describes as the Baby Stage of early recovery. Here, I look at what Stephanie says of ‘The Toddler Stage’.

‘As a baby moves into the toddler stage, she begins to acquire a new kind of learning. She begins to pick up language, which builds the foundation for understanding and forming ideas.

Similarly, the woman born newly into abstinence begins what is called cognitive learning. She listens to others telling the stories of what they did in the past and what they do now.

She begins to hear a new language, the language of recovery, and, like a toddler, begins to form her new self and her new identity around the acceptance of her addiction. She comes to know the words, “I am an alcoholic” or “I am an addict” and build her new, strong sense of self on this foundation…

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‘Social Actions to Control Addiction: Reviving Community Art’ by Bruce Alexander

rsz_slum_151210_fct951x585x28_t460In my humble opinion, one of the great thinkers in the addiction field is Bruce Alexander. In his excellent book, The Globalization of Addiction: A Study in Poverty of the Spirit, Bruce talks about addiction arising from people becoming disconnected (or dislocated) from the close ties to family, culture, and traditional spirituality that constituted the normal fabric of life in pre-modern times.

In the closing chapter of his book, Bruce describes some social actions to control addiction. What he describes are social actions that will NOT necessarily reduce addiction directly, but will help counter some of the adverse effects of our free market society and globalisation, factors that are leading to marked increases in addiction of all kinds.

In this blog, I’ll look at one of these suggested actions – Reviving Community Art – quoting directly from Bruce’s book:

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‘Losing a Self: Lying to Yourself’ by Stephanie Brown

rsz_41a-shrpktl_bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_sx342_sy445_cr00342445_sh20_ou02_I’ve made reference to Stephanie Brown’s brilliant book A Place Called Self: Women, Sobriety, and Radical Transformation in past blogs. I’ve recommended this book to several women in early recovery and they have really like it.

Here, Stephanie describes how one’s self (or identity) changes in a negative manner during the process of addiction. She focuses on lying to oneself.

‘… addiction develops over time, and it involves changes in the way you behave but also changes in the way you think: the way you think about drinking, the way you think about yourself, and the way you think about life.

Read More ➔

Marion’s Story: My Identity

Marion has a strong identity which has helped shape her into who she is today.

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Marion’s Story: Conclusion

Marion’s family have faced adversities, risen above them, and taught Marion to be the resilient person she is today.

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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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The culture of addiction: Part 1

384985_10150365241281765_1866835833_nThis is the first of two blogs on the culture of addiction. I will later look at the culture of recovery, and after that consider how we can help people move from the culture of addiction to the culture of recovery.

These articles are based on the seminal writings of William L White, in particular from his book Pathways from the Culture of Addiction to the Culture of Recovery. In this book, Bill provides key insights into how we can help people move cultures – essential in their journey along the path to recovery.

‘Culture’ generally refers to patterns of human activity and the symbolic structures that give such activities significance and importance. Wikipedia

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