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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“You’re all going to hate the word ‘recovery’” by DJMac

Disagree-2One of the problems with an aspirational and non-prescriptive definition of recovery is that it is hard to measure. The definitions most commonly featured in the literature share some elements including wellbeing or health, abstinence and citizenship.

Clearly if you can’t define it precisely, then it’s hard to commission services to deliver on it. In this case proxy outcomes are used. There’s a lot of debate amongst professionals on recovery definitions and measurements, but what about service users? What do they make of ‘recovery’?

In a teasingly titled paper (‘‘You’re all going to hate the word ‘recovery’ by the end of this’’: Service users’ views of measuring addiction recovery) Joanne Neale and colleagues scope the views of clients and patients in a variety of settings and run past them professional perceptions on recovery measures. How different are the perspectives?

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‘The Nature of Healing’ by Professor Helen Milroy

Unknown-1I have recently started collaborating with an Aboriginal lady here in Perth, Dr Marion Kickett, who is an Associate Professor at Curtin University. We’re very excited about the project we are developing, along with my close friend and filmmaker Mike Liu.

I have been fascinated reading about aboriginal history, culture, health, historical trauma – more of which I will talk about in later blogs – and many other things. During this time, I have become very interested in the concept of Aboriginal healing.

Yesterday, I was chatting with good friend Christina Burki about healing and she loaned me a fascinating book Traditional Healers of Central Australia: Ngangkari. In the Foreword, I found this delightful description of healing (I have altered the paragraphs):

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‘What is Recovery?’ according to Stephanie Brown (Part 1)

book-a-place-called-selfI wrote this blog earlier this month but forgot to follow-up with the other parts. Life has been hectic! Thought I’d post again and then follow-up!

“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.

I had no idea that recovery was also learning how to be in intimate relationships, learning how to have close, wonderful friends. Then there’s my marriage. My husband and I have developed a rich life together.

And get this – I really like myself now. Learning about who I am and accepting me, that’s been the hardest part of recovery – and the best. I wouldn’t trade this path for anything in the world.” Anne, Recoveree

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‘What is Recovery?’ according to Stephanie Brown (Part 1)

book-a-place-called-self“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.

I had no idea that recovery was also learning how to be in intimate relationships, learning how to have close, wonderful friends. Then there’s my marriage. My husband and I have developed a rich life together.

And get this – I really like myself now. Learning about who I am and accepting me, that’s been the hardest part of recovery – and the best. I wouldn’t trade this path for anything in the world.” Anne, Recoveree

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