Tatiana’s Story: ‘On with Forever , Backwards Never’

TatianaText(pp_w1000_h666)Here is another of those beautiful Stories from the I Am Not Anonymous website.

‘My name is Tatiana and I am person in long-term recovery. My sobriety date is April 19th 2011.

What does it mean to be an addict? Some people may shrug with a look of disgust on their face when you ask this question. Those who do actually understand are riveted with compassion and love for the addict. Its funny how a complete misconception can create such a divide amongst people.

Many people still believe that addiction is a behavioral issue and that addicts are just “bad” people with a weak will. Although it may appear this way to the naked eye, this is so far from the truth.

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Transforming Youth Recovery: Cameron’s Story

unnamedTransforming Youth Recovery, one of the founding partners of the ManyFaces1Voice campaign, helps students in recovery thrive with community, educational and peer recovery network supports. By the end of 2015, Transforming Youth Recovery will have issued over 100 grants to institutions of higher education across the country to start or expand recovery support programs on their campuses.

Cameron Taylor, whose story is below, attended a recovery high school in Houston and is currently enrolled in a university in Texas that has a recovery program for students.

‘I started using when I was in the seventh grade, you know smoking cigarettes and pot and drinking with my older brother. We didn’t really have anything in common and this was a way for me to get to hang out with him.

We started using together more frequently and we got into other drugs too. My parents knew that my brother was using, but they didn’t realize I was. They were really worried about my brother, as he was getting worse, so we went to live with my father in Houston.

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‘I Am Not Anonymous’ website: Kate’s Story

Kate(pp_w1000_h431)Please check out this wonderful website, I Am Not Anonymous. And check out the wonderful photographer who has put this together. 

‘I’m Kate Meyer… a NY based Portrait and Wedding Photographer and lover of all things humanity-related.

It is hard to even know where to begin.  I will start by saying that I am by no means, an expert on addiction.  Have I been greatly affected by it?  YES.  I am my own expert in that field.

Long story short, I am in a relationship with a man in recovery from drug addiction.  What that means is that he hasn’t picked up a drink or drug in a significant amount of time and as a result,  his life gets better every single day.

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‘Invisible Pain’ by Jonathan Keys

PdxJonThe issues raised by Jonathan Keys in his recent Mad in America article need highlighting and addressing.

‘In my practice as a therapist I often work with people who have been seriously hurt by the practice of psychiatry, either directly or indirectly through family members.

Many of them started taking psychiatric drugs for moderate depression, or for some anxiety, or for panic attacks. But as time went on, their doses went up. More meds were added. By the time they realized the drugs were making things worse, they were already stuck on a large cocktail of psychiatric drugs.

The side effects worsened and became intransigent. Increasing depression, lethargy, loss of libido, confusion, mental fog, weight gain, lowered immunity and poorer sleep became the norm.

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‘Four Examples of Expensive Rehabs That Spread Stigma, Not Recovery’ by Tom Horvath

shaming‘Eliminating stigma against people in recovery appears to be a universally supported goal within the recovery community, and for good reason. Recovery is hard enough without this additional burden.

The unspoken assumption is that stigma is the fault of the “outside” world – not of other people in recovery. But the recovery community has failed to provide effective leadership on this issue. And one component of the community—treatment providers—frequently reinforces stigma. How can we expect the world at large to change when we don’t change?

I operate a treatment system with two residential facilities, a sober living home and outpatient services. Because relapse is common, we often see clients who have been to other facilities. Most are frustrated, and often furious, at how they have been treated elsewhere. They generally report that they were viewed by staff as entirely lacking good judgment or a capacity for self-management. Therefore their requests and perspectives were easy to dismiss, even ridicule. They often have not been treated with much hospitality, either.

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‘Overcoming the stigma of depression’ by Douglas Bloch

dblochAn excellent article on stigma and on how people with depression can feel shame. Stigma and shame are roadblocks to depression.

“The last great stigma of the twentieth century is the stigma of mental illness.” Tipper Gore

One of the roadblocks to recovery for those who suffer from depression is our culture’s tendency to stigmatize depression and other mental health disorders.

After my first hospitalization, I remember the dilemma I faced in trying to explain my three-day absence to my employer. If I told the truth – that I was being treated for anxiety and depression – I stood a good chance of losing my job. Instead, I reported that I had been treated for insomnia at a sleep clinic.

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‘An interview with Greg Williams – The Anonymous People’ by Veronica Valli

20956_610039903223_6779801_n-1-300x280Greg Williams and The Anonymous People are in the news a lot recently which is great. Exactly what we want. Here’s a new interview from Veronica Valli.

‘If you are in the recovery community then you would have heard of the movie The Anonymous People. A ground breaking movie that highlights the need for more advocacy and more access to treatment for addicts and alcoholics.

Many of the participants of the movie have been interviewed for my Recovery Rocks series: Emmy award winning actress and NYT best selling author Kristen Johnston, former NBA basketball player Chris Herron, Recovery advocate and media commentator Joe Schrank.

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‘Dying of a Heroin Overdose Does Not Make You a Scumbag’ by A. Thomas McLellan, Ph.D.

Unknown-6Great article in the Huffington Post by one of the leading addiction treatment researchers involving the loss of one of my favourite actors.

‘In the wake of the tragic death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, I am shocked by the vast range of opinions and emotions that have been voiced in the public discourse. Media outlets of all shapes and forms are weighing in on his death – and specifically, the foolish, self-destructive choices he made associated with his addiction.

The explosion of speculation and moralizing surrounding this death brings to light how conflicted our feelings, as a society, are about this disease. And the science is clear on this point.

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Stigma and Discrimination of Injecting Drug Users

“I think what we need to do is to just talk about fundamental rights. I think it is such a basic right that someone who is coming for healthcare should receive that healthcare without any judgement.”

An excellent video from the Australian Injecting & Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL). ‘A short video of professionals and drug users discussing the impact of stigma and discrimination towards people who inject drugs.’

‘This Is An Alcoholic’ by Beth Burgess

london recovery coach.jpgAnother little gem from Beth Burgess.

A piece I wrote before I was in recovery. A bit of a rant at the current addiction treatments too. Do you identify as an alcoholic or addict?

No-one these days seems to understand what an alcoholic is. Middle-class winos, binge-drinking teenagers, hard-drinking journalists or Wall Street party-boys. These people are all labelled as alcoholics of some description. And yet most of them are probably not alcoholics at all.

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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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‘My Truth – On Relapse, Recovery and Getting Out of My Own Way’ by Ellie Schoenberger

Unknown-1Those of you who read my last blog, focusing on her interview by Courtney Webster, will know what I feel about Ellie Schoenberger. Here is Ellie’s latest addition to her One Crafty Mother blog:

For many, if not most, of the people in my day-to-day life I am the only alcoholic – at least self-admitted alcoholic – they know.

Or, perhaps more accurately, I am the only alcoholic in recovery they know. Over half the population in the United States has been directly or indirectly impacted by addiction, and many people are familiar only with the ugly, destructive face of alcoholism; the one that rips apart families, destroys childhoods and brings so much sorrow and fear.

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‘Your Recovered Life’ Series with Ellie Schoenberger

Couldn’t think of a better way to starting my blogging week. I was quite simply blown away by this interview. Ellie Schoenberger is quite simply one special lady. Here is what your host Courtney Webster has to say about Ellie.

‘Ellie wears many hats (see bio below) but I think of her most as a woman who takes a stand for bringing alcoholism and recovery out of the shadows –  Letting us know that recovery is not only possible but phenomenal and that no matter where you are in the process, you are not alone.

I have admired her work from afar for years and personally known many women whose lives she has touched with her advocacy for telling the truth and taking the shame and stigma out of our addictions. I was thrilled to talk to her for this project and am now honored to call her a friend.’

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ManyFaces1Voice: BIll White

 Unknown-1Bill White has been a huge inspiration for Greg Williams of The Anonymous People. Here he is talking on ManyFaces1Voice.

‘William (Bill) White is Emeritus Senior Research Consultant, Chestnut Health Systems. He has served as a volunteer consultant to Faces & Voices of Recovery since its founding. He has a Master’s degree in Addiction Studies and has worked in the addictions field since 1969.

He has authored or coauthored more than 350 articles and monographs and fifteen books including Slaying the Dragon: The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America and Let’s Go Make Some History: Chronicles of the New Addiction Recovery Advocacy Movement. Check out an online library of his writings at www.williamwhitepapers.com.

Your Recovered Life Series with Greg Williams, Filmmaker

I really like the look of Courtney Webster’s new website, where she is interviewing inspiring people in recovery. First up for us is Greg Williams, who made the film The Anonymous People. Here’s part of what Courtney has to say about this interview:

‘Last spring I was minding my own business on Facebook when I happened upon a kickstarter video that rocked my world.

Greg Williams, was talking about a film he was making called The Anonymous People (see description below). I sat at my kitchen table with my little boy on my lap and was riveted. By the time my husband had come over to see what was making me so excited, I was crying the best kind of tears. It was so inspiring.

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My Recovery Highlight of 2013

images“Many of us have carried a message of hope on a one-to-one basis; this new recovery movement calls upon us to carry that message of hope to whole communities and the whole culture. We will shape the future of recovery with a detached silence or with a passionate voice. It is time we stepped forward to shape this history with our stories, our time and our talents.” William White

I have one major Recovery Highlight of 2013. A Recovery ‘event’ – or a huge series of events would be a better to describe it – that has moved, excited and inspired me. Yes, it is the Greg Williams’ film, The Anonymous People.

Now, I know that no one person is ever responsible for making a film. But Greg deserves a great congratulations and thanks for making this happen. My congrats and thanks also go out to all all those other people involved  in the making and distribution of The Anonymous People and ManyFaces1Voice.

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Beth’s Reflections

A series of blogs from recovery coach Beth Burgess of Smyls. Beth writes about recovery for the Huffington Post which means she has a large audience.

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The Culture of Addiction, Part 2: Influence of Legal Status

UnknownThe second part of this series focuses on the impact of legal status on drug culture. Click here for Part 1.

‘Society makes judgements about different types of psychoactive drug. As Bill White points out in his book Pathways from the Culture of Addiction to the Culture of Recovery, the social status and value attached to a particular drug by society influence several things:

  • The risks associated with use of the drug
  • The organisation of ‘tribes’ within the culture of addiction
  • The characteristics of each tribe and the impairments that members experience from both the drug and the culture itself.

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Transcending addiction and redefining recovery: Jacki Hillios at TEDxBoulder

Every now and again, I see something in the recovery field THAT BLOWS ME AWAY. And this talk does just that. One of the best recovery talks I have ever come across. Thank you Jacki, Scott and all your colleagues at Phoenix Multisports.

‘Why are some able to transcend their addiction while others are not? What do people really need to escape the shame of their addiction and achieve sustained recovery?

Jacki’s talk focuses on answering these questions and demonstrates how resilience of the human spirit intersects with social contextual factors to set the stage for those struggling with addiction to choose a pathway to health.’

Most visited content: Nos 11 – 15

rsz_img_4069I continue our list of the most viewed content on this website, this time focusing on those that just missed the top ten.

15. Beth’s Recovery Story: ‘Becoming Beth’ tells the story of a young lady who says, “I really shouldn’t be here.” Beth was dependent on alcohol by age 19, had an eating disorder, anxiety condition… and more. Now she is in recovery, running Smyls, a solution-based service to help other people.

14. Stopping heroin use without treatment is an article I wrote focusing on Patrick Biernarki’s research in the mid-1980s into how 101 heroin addicts gave up using their drug without accessing treatment. Far too few people know about this seminal research.

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