‘Prison-Based Recovery Advocacy (The San Quentin Story)’ by Bill White

San Quentin ARC Group Counseling Image‘The stage is set for a recovery-focused advocacy and peer support movement within the U.S. prison system.

The mass incarceration of drug offenders in recent decades, the growth of prison-based addiction treatment, the growth and diversification of prison-based recovery mutual aid, increased disillusionment with incarceration as a policy strategy of addiction containment, and the rise of grassroots recovery community organizations in local U.S. communities have all been part of this incubation process.

There is a growing critical mass of people in correctional institutions who are initiating and sustaining addiction recovery and who are pursuing service to others as part of their recovery processes.  Leaders are rising to articulate ideas and launch programs that address the particular needs and aspirations of people seeking recovery within the shadow of the criminal justice system.

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‘WA Attorney General: Please don’t sell our family home of 30yrs – don’t make my kids homeless’

ZqLhKcpfLOAFEhi-556x313-noPadSomething pissed me off today! I came across Valerie’s Story on change.org and immediately signed the petition. My comment was: “This situation is disgusting and is a clear human rights issue. Why are we so backward and so willing to disregard basic human rights here in WA?”

Please read and sign the petition. I don’t know the lady, but this story does not surprise me.

‘A few years ago I was at a desperately low ebb in my life. I was a 40-something single mother of three kids who had just fought my way out of an abusive relationship.  I worked hard at a range of jobs (book keeper, courier driver, Avon rep) but money was always tight.

Then I somehow fell into the darkest years of my life. I fell in love with a man who used drugs and I started using too, soon after I started selling some (to people already using) to fund my habit and to make ends meet. I know now it was wrong. I wasn’t thinking clearly but I became trapped in this world and didn’t know how to get out.

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ManyFaces1Voice: Patrick Fogarty

Unknown-4Check out the latest filmed Recovery Story from ManyFaces1Voice.

‘Patrick Fogarty received a gift on the day he was supposed to receive a sentence of years in prison.

During a caseworker’s pre-sentence investigation, Fogarty found himself being honest and telling her he had a “major drug problem.” He said, “I’m good with going back to prison. Send me back. I have nothing.”

That honesty – and the caseworker’s compassion – earned him a spot at The Healing Place in Louisville, Kentucky, the organization where Fogarty now works as a result of entering recovery in 2008.

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The Road from Crime – Extended Preview

Excellent preview, I’m heading to watch the full film.

‘What can we learn from those former prisoners who have successfully “desisted” from criminal behaviour or “gone straight?”

The exit at the prison gate often appears to be a revolving door with nearly 60 per cent of released prisoners re-offending within two years of their release. Prisons and probation departments have, almost literally, tried everything in efforts to rehabilitate offenders over the past century, but the results have been uniformly bleak leading many to conclude that “nothing works.”

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‘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.

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Ruby’s Healing Story

“But she said what she had to do first, before she started to heal, was to let the past go. And in order for her to let it go she had to forgive… she had to forgive the people in the mission, the missionaries, the manager of the mission. She had to forgive the station owner and his sons and workers. And she also had to forgive herself.”

Professor Marion Kickett shares the harrowing story of Ruby and describes how her early life experiences impacted on her later life, including the development of a drinking problem. By forgiving people involved in these terrible events, Ruby started a healing (or recovery) process which led to her realising a dream.

Marion is the new Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at Curtin University in Perth and co-founder (with David Clark and Mike Liu) of Sharing Culture, a new initiative to tackle historical trauma and its consequences in Aboriginal peoples. 

‘Heroin Addiction, a Mother’s Story’ by Kim

301116_1829390393379_1798948842_1202263_68985599_n-225x300It’s time I put up another blog from Veronica Valli and the following from Kim is special… and very moving.

‘Addiction doesn’t just affect the person using drugs it affects the whole family. I know because I lived through my daughter Kayela’s addiction to heroin.

We raise our children and its hard work, changing diapers and heating formula and lining up daycare, the first day of school and homework we don’t understand.

We care for them until they are ready to go off in the world and we can only hope that we did the right thing, made all the right choices.

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‘Saved by the book’ by Erwin James

rsz_2john460x276Mike Scott found this Story from 2008 in the Guardian. Not only has the subject of the article, John Healy, a stirring recovery story, but also the author of the article, Erwin James.

‘It’s 20 years since the publication of The Grass Arena, the autobiography of an alcoholic vagrant who, against the odds, found redemption in prison through chess. Now it is being lauded as a modern classic. Erwin James, whose own life was transformed by John Healy’s tale, catches up with the author.

Some books have the power to change the way you think about life. In my case one such book was The Grass Arena, the autobiography of John Healy. First published by Faber in 1988 and now republished as a Penguin Modern Classic, Healy’s visceral account of his decade and a half as a wino vagrant among London’s feral underclass in the 60s and 70s – and his redemption through chess and writing – brought me hope in dark times.

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Kathy’s Recovery Minute

“I’d like to stress that one day does not go by that I don’t think about the life I took. I don’t forget that a child grew up without her father and that a mother’s heart was broken because of my choices, including again my own mother.”

“I live a life now full of blessings and I tell my Story as often as I can, so if I can at least save one life, make one change to somebody when they hear my  words, it will make at least some part of this tragedy and pain have some type of meaning for the positive. Thank you.” Kathy of CCAR (Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery)

Michael’s Recovery Minute

“I was ingrained in CCAR to show the positive side of recovery, putting a face on recovery, allowing people to see that recovery was possible. A reality that people in many walks of life would able to get their life together again.

Michael Askew is Manager of the Bridgeport Community Recovery Center, under the auspices of CCAR. Formerly known as Dark Shadow, he has been in recovery from 1989 after being in and out of prison for years (seven visits).

A Remarkable Reinvention

Former model Tovah Cottle transformed her life from being a drug addict in jail to designing fashion for the catwalk. Check out a longer version of Tovah’s story on Australian Story.

‘A Personal Story’ by Wee Willie Winkie

2007_0116walpole0097‘I’m 33 years old. I started taking drugs from ten years old and, apart from a three and a half year stint in the army, took them continuously right up to the age of 30. This included 11 years as a heroin addict.

During this time, I felt totally isolated and alone in the world, and completely worthless. After a few years I was desperate. I’d overdosed a couple of times and, at this point in my life, I’d have welcomed death with open arms. It never came, so I decided to help it along a bit.

Luckily, it didn’t work but at the time I just didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I decided that this was my life and to try make the best of it I could. I ended up living in the woods for a year. I could never see myself living in shop doorways.

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David McCollom and DMC Media

David, who is in recovery himself, uses film to empower people – here’s a selection of his work [6 clips]

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Untangling the elements involved in treatment

Our research focused on interviews of people in a prison treatment programme revealed insights into the elements that operate in the treatment process, and how they might interact to facilitate a person’s path to recovery from addiction (1,700 words).

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