I Am Not Anonymous: Lucas’s Story, ‘Seconds and Inches’

Lucas-Text-1024x681(pp_w1000_h665)My name is Luke Mosley, and I am in long-term recovery from alcohol and drugs. By that, I mean that I haven’t found it necessary to pick up a drink, a drug, or any other mind or emotion altering substance since November 10, 2010. And for that I am truly blessed and eternally grateful.

I say “I haven’t found it necessary,” because for the first 27 years of my life, I lived in emotional and spiritual bondage. More than simply having a drug or alcohol problem, I had a problem dealing with life in general.

What seemed to be day-to-day challenges to most other people were crippling burdens to me. Call it social anxiety. Call it restlessness or irritability. Call it being overwhelmed.  Whatever labels my concerned family, friends, teachers, doctors, or therapists applied, they never quite identified that “thing” in me that just felt off.

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I Am Not Anonymous: Adam’s Story, ‘An Open Book’

Adam-Text-1024x681(pp_w1000_h665)‘For the entirety of my addiction – many sad, painful years of car accidents, overdoses, barroom brawls and street fights, failed relationships, small-time legal skirmishes and stints at rehabs – everyone wanted me to admit I had a problem, to talk about it.

Then, after I got clean and sober and became a husband, father, hockey dad and a union president that negotiated my co-workers salaries and medical benefits, many people wanted me to put it behind me, to shut up about it.

The planet witnessed the train wreck, yet I was supposed to cover it up after I got that bad boy back on the rails, which was no small feat.

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I Am Not Anonymous: Mariel’s Story, ‘Together We Can’

Mariel-Text-1024x681(pp_w1000_h665)I’ll be finishing off Bill White’s talk this week, as well as highlighting some stories from the excellent website I Am Not Anonymous. Here’s the first of these stories.

‘My name is Mariel Harrison. I am 28 years old. I live in Point Pleasant, NJ. I am a daughter, sister, aunt, girlfriend and friend. I am also a consumer, a voter, a tax-payer, a home-renter, and a licensed/registered/insured driver.

I am a responsible, productive and valued employee. I am a diligent full-time student with a 3.9 GPA. I believe wholeheartedly in the healing properties of yoga and meditation, am a certified yoga teacher, lived in an ashram for 9-months, and hold nothing more sacred then my personal practice both on and off the mat.

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‘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.

Holding Space

Unknown-5I’m reading a very interesting and inspiring book  at the moment, Healing the Mind Through the Power of Story: The Promise of Narrative Psychiatry by Lewis Mehl-Madrona. I love the concept Lewis describes below:

“Holding Space is an important and rarely discussed concept. When we hold space for someone, we bear witness to them, their stories, and their pain.

We serve as a supportive audience member, sometimes a coach, sometimes a warm shoulder for comfort.

We hold the vision of the person being well, being happy, having recovered. The more people who hold that vision, the more possible recovery becomes.

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I Am Not Anonymous: Kristina, ‘Change is Freedom’

KristinaText-1024x681(pp_w1000_h665)‘Recovery goes far beyond its definition or interpretation. It’s about embarking on a process; a journey of fulfillments, enriching lives without the use of mind or mood altering substances.

Before ever being introduced to this process I was left with my own devices. After years of struggle and degradation, and the lives I’ve hurt as well as my own brought me to my knees. Everyone and everything seemed to have vanished within a blink of an eye, as if I woke up from a bad dream laying in the fetal position.  My body was  aching in pain and I couldn’t recall much of anything.

Crying out in desperation I felt helpless and my vulnerability was eating me alive. I hadn’t bathed, ate or slept in days. I was nothing but a mere existence of skin and bone who had lost her soul.

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CRAZYWISE: Rethinking Madness – A Documentary Film

There’s a great film coming to our screens next year. CRAZYWISE, directed by Phil Borges and Kevin Tomlinson, is a feature documentary exploring alternative treatments for mental illness.

You can learn more about the film and support its production – PLEASE do – by going to the film’s Kickstarter page. I’m really excited by the film. Here’s what is written by Phil and Kevin:

‘About the Film:
CRAZYWISE centers around Adam, 29, a former wakeboard champion who struggles with his sanity following a psychotic break. Desperate and feeling shame from being labeled with a potential lifelong disease, Adam embraces meditation.

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‘The Power Of The Narrative’ by Peter Bullimore

This is a brilliant talk about an amazing life! A must-watch with lessons to be learnt. Thank you, Peter.

Here is a bio taken from a website I’ll be profiling soon:

‘Peter heard his first voice aged seven, after suffering sexual abuse at the hands of a child minder.  But as the abuse went on the voices increased in number, eventually turning sinister and aggressive.

By his mid-twenties Peter had lost his business, his family, his home, everything.  Peter spent more than a decade after that on heavy medication, but the voices never went away. He had to get out of the psychiatric system to recover.

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Family Stories, Secrets and Survival: Dr. Judith Landau at TEDxVailWomen

I can strongly recommend this extraordinary talk from Dr Judith Landau. It’s one of my favourites, found only this morning. Thank you BDawg!

This talk will provide you with insights into intergenerational trauma and how addiction arises as a coping response. It will show you a way forward to recovery and healing, through Story. Understanding the past can help us deal with the present and help create a better future.

Judith, thank you for this wonderful talk! Here is the Youtube intro:

‘Dr. Judith Landau tells the story of trauma and recovery through generations and gives clues along the way for healthier families.

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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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‘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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‘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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Baylissa’s journey off clonazepam

Baylissa suffered from dystonia since childhood and was given a prescription for a benzodiazepine called clonazepam in order to minimise a facial tic on her wedding day. She soon became addicted and subsequently spent three years in withdrawal.

However, this terrible experience led to her work as a withdrawal support counsellor and – fully recovered – she now has no regrets.

‘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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Excerpt from Anna’s Recovery Story: ‘Should I or shouldn’t I?’

stories-02Through his heroin addiction and recovery, Anna’s brother has taught her so much about life, including the most valuable lesson she could ever learn – you can get through anything.

“… there’s no way I can tell this story without saying that my brother is truly the most inspirational person I know. I am in awe of who he is and what he’s achieved. He has taught me so much about life, including the most valuable lesson I could ever possibly learn – that you can get through anything.”

‘6. Emotional release
My parents could see that I wasn’t really coping with what was happening and they convinced me to go and see a counsellor. I went to see a very expensive psychologist for three sessions. The first two sessions were spent crying and telling the same story I’d told everyone else a thousand times.

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Excerpt from Brad’s Recovery Story: A Spiritual Awakening

stories-04Here’s an excerpt from Brad’s Story. Brad was in the process of breaking away from a life of drinking, crime and violence.

‘3. Starting with The Breakfast Club
In 2006, Thames Valley Police informed me that Paula had taken her own life. This made me angry. I thought she was selfish leaving three kids behind, although I’d left my kids behind years ago.

I continued drinking and six months to the day my best friend Mick died in my arms at Calderdale Royal, having fallen and banged his head. Mick’s death crushed me. It was this was the first time I can remember showing any real emotion. To this day, I shed a tear when talking about him, as I am now. We had done everything together.

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Adam’s Story: A Moment of Clarity

Adams Story 2I thought we’d have a period of having excerpts from our collection of Stories. Let’s start with the Story of my good friend Adam. I met Adam here in Perth and he now lives in the UK with his lovely wife and two young girls.

After years of having problems with amphetamine, alcohol and cannabis, Adam reached this stage:

‘Eventually, I ended up living in a caravan in Palm Beach, near Rockingham. I had sold my car for $50, which bought me two dope sticks. I got around on an old pushbike from the dump, but ended up selling that. I was just drinking and smoking dope to get blottoed, and often would wake up to find myself covered in vomit. The caravan, like me, was a mess. Eventually the dope ran out, then the money.

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An Update From StoryTeller Iain Donald

iains-story-220x294“I regret to a certain degree ever getting involved with drugs, but involving myself with drugs and battling the chaos that goes along with that lifestyle has made me who I am. And I am really happy with who I am.”

I recently heard from Iain Donald, author of one of our Stories, This is Me. Iain, from Scotland, is coming up to four years drug-free.

In brief, his Story describes his addiction to heroin and crack cocaine, a period spent inside prison, time on methadone maintenance programmes, and support from a treatment service in Glasgow – amongst many other things. Most importantly, Ian met and fell in love with Nadene and her wonderful son William and they have settled down as a family – and had a new family member, Harvey. Iain works for the Scottish Association for Mental Health in one of their homeless units.

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‘Recovery Advocacy and the Making of The Anonymous People: An Interview with Greg Williams’ by William L White

UnknownGreg Williams’ film The Anonymous People has contributed enormously to the new recovery advocacy movement in the US. How did it all begin? Here, Greg is interviewed by Bill White. Below, is just a small part of that interview – it is part of Greg’s Story. 

Introduction
Since the rise of a new addiction recovery advocacy movement in the late 1990s, culturally and politically mobilized people in recovery have found numerous vehicles through which that advocacy is being expressed.

A few years ago, I was contacted by Greg Williams, who shared his vision of capturing on film the spirit of the new recovery advocacy movement being manifested in communities across the country. It was one of the great honors of my life to play a small part in making Greg’s vision a reality.

Today, the film The Anonymous People is being screened in theatres and community settings across the U.S. and in other countries. On November 6, 2013, I had the opportunity to interview Greg about his life and this film. Please join us in this engaging conversation.

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Theresa’s Story: Through her Wired In To Recovery Blogs, Part 1

The Right reefTheresa started blogging about her recovery on Wired In To Recovery in May, 2010. Here are her first two blogs:

Me (6th May, 2010)
I am 17 weeks, today, into Recovery from alcohol addiction. I have found that getting into Recovery is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. It is also the thing I am most proud of because of the unbelievable physical and mental effort it has taken to get this far.

The fear of withdrawal and the absolute belief that I would be unable to cope without drink made me believe for a very long time, that a drunken haze would be my life until I became so distraught and heartbroken that I ended it (which I almost did) or my body just gave up the fight.

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