Phil Valentine Sets Off Today: Recovery on the Appalachian Trail

photo-224x300“First of all, celebrations to Phil on his five year recovery from cancer (Today!). And for over 27 years in recovery from addiction.

And if that is not enough he will – in 6 – 8 months time – be in recovery from walking the Appalachian Trail. But firstly, he’s got to walk – and today, get started!!

Wishing you the very best from down under, Phil. We’ll be following you, thinking of you, and spiritually walking alongside you. Enjoy yourself, good friend. Go, Phil, Go.” David Clark and Michael Scott

And for those of you who do not know what is going on, you can find out more here and here. 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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Recovery Walks the Appalachian Trail: From Phil’s Family

photo-224x300Yes, Phil Valentine begins his amazing journey this week. I hope his family doesn’t mind, but I just had to show two beautiful blogs that wife Sandy and daughter Samantha have written for Phil’s travel website.

10 Days by Sandy Valentine (March 7, 2015)
‘It’s only 10 days until Phil hops on a plane to Georgia, and officially begins his adventure. Each day this week, he adds another item to the table of supplies he started. Each time I wonder what item will be the first to go when he’s worn that pack a few hours.

I also wonder – who will I blame when the tp roll isn’t changed? Who is going to clear the driveway a la the winter that never ends? Who is going to remind me “trust them (kids) til they give us a reason not to”? Who’s going to make the family brunch on Sundays?

No one can replace his presence in the house, but as we’ve done before, we will create a new “normal”.

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‘5 Reasons Why I Could Get to Katahdin’ by Phil Valentine

springer_mtn_ga_at-225x300I couldn’t resist putting up this Hooked on Recovery blog from Phil Valentine. [If you missed out on my blog yesterday about Phil’s amazing trip, please check it out.]

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

I’ll be on Springer Mountain, Georgia in just a few days (03.19.15) to start my Appalachian Trail (AT) adventure. I set up a card table in my man cave and have started to get all my gear in one place. I bought a warmer sleeping bag because of all the cold, cold weather in the south this spring. As I talk to people daily about the AT, I’m usually asked…

“How are you feeling, Phil? You must be excited?”

Ya, I’m excited. Partly. And other parts are terrified, nervous, calm, anxious, determined, peaceful, relieved, sad, grateful, happy, curious, … Um, probably others too, but I have never been too good at describing my emotions. I am, after all, a typical male.

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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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ManyFaces1Voice: Phil Valentine

Unknown-1Every now and again when I am feeling a little down, I see a piece of recovery film and it lifts my mood. I found a piece like this yesterday, a film clip from ManyFaces1Voice of Phil Valentine. Here’s what is said about Phil:

‘Phil Valentine is the Executive Director of Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR).

Phil has been instrumental in the development of the recovery movement. He’s been at CCAR since January 1999, when he organized CCAR’s first Recovery Walks! A sought after speaker, he is recognized around the world for his leadership.

In 2006, the Johnson Institute recognized his groundbreaking work with an America Honors Recovery award.

In 2008, Faces & Voices of Recovery honored CCAR with the first Joel Hernandez Voice of the Recovery Community Award, recognizing it as the outstanding recovery community organization in the country.’

‘Portraits of Strength – Phillip Valentine’ by University of Connecticut

The purpose in my life, I’ve been blessed to find, is to carry the message of recovery. … Integrity is, for me, to live true to that calling. Philip Valentine ’87 (CLAS)

On Oct. 18, 1987, Phillip Valentine was in the birthing room at Rockville General Hospital in Vernon, Conn., high on cocaine and waiting for the arrival of his first child, a baby girl. He describes what happened next as a religious experience.

“I was in a kind of cocaine-induced haze, and when my daughter looked into my eyes, there was so much love and spiritual power,” he says. “That’s when God burned his way into my soul and said, ‘You’re not alone.’”

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My Favourite Blogs: Setting up a Recovery Community

Phillip Valentine, Executive Director for the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR), emphasises that the essential first stages in building a recovery community are to:

  • create a vanguard of recovering people who want to tell their story
  • organise the community, so that there are many different people, with many different types of recovery, all working towards the same aim.

Phil also stresses the importance of providing a way for people to ‘give back’ – giving back is an essential element of recovery for many people – tapping into this energy and ‘helping it flow to where it wants to go.’

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Many Faces1Voice: Phil Valentine

images“I don’t think we’re all that good at handling relapse. We talk about it like, ‘The person wasn’t ready, you know, or it was their fault. And maybe there is some truth to that. But how often does the recovery community, or providers or the system rally behind someone that’s relapsed.

And the native Americans taught me something on their thing, that they, if you truly believe that addiction is a force of darkness or a force of evil or whatever you want to call it, and you’re fighting a battle and once you’re in the light you’re finally fighting a battle against this darkness. Then, in a sense, we’re warriors, aren’t we? Are we? We’re on this side of light, we can be warriors.

You know what this two-word programme is that the native Americans have? Warrior… Down. Do you leave a warrior on the battlefield?” Check out Phil Valentine on Vimeo

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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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‘Sharing our Experience, Strength and Hope, With our Friends Across the Pond’ by Phil and Sandy Valentine

phil-valentineI was looking through my blogs on Wired In To Recovery and came across one focusing on Phil and Sandy Valentine’s trip to the UK in late 2011. Thought I’d provide a link to the original source material on the CCAR website, an interview of this lovely couple by Bill White.

There are a lot of interesting points in this interview, but here are just a few as a taster.

Phil Valentine: Where recovery is concerned, anonymity and stigma still reign. People in recovery have worked in the treatment system for years, and their colleagues and co-workers (never mind the “service users”) don’t know they are in recovery. Personal recovery seems to be a taboo subject. And countrywide denial, particularly with alcoholism, prevails.

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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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CCAR films

Three films from Connecticut Community of Addiction Recovery (CCAR) on the healing power of recovery, making recovery visible and recovery walks. [3 clips]

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Phil Valentine talk

Talk given by Phil Valentine of CCAR in Cardiff, UK 2011 where he discusses recovery, recovery-based care and recovery communities. [5 clips]

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Setting up a Recovery Community

Phillip Valentine, Executive Director for the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR), emphasises that the essential first stages in building a recovery community are to:

  1. create a vanguard of recovering people who want to tell their story
  2. organise the community, so that there are many different people, with many different types of recovery, all working towards the same aim.

Read More ➔

The Healing Power of Recovery

A beautiful film made by Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR). What more can I say?