ManyFaces1Voice: Chris Herren

Unknown-2“To me it’s not about how society perceives me, it’s about how I see myself. It’s how I look at myself in the mirror. People still call me junkie. Not as many, but there are still those people out there. But it doesn’t matter, it’s what I call myself. And as long as I am good with myself, I couldn’t care what everyone else says.”

Check out this film on ManyFaces1Voice, the Story of father and ex-basketball star, Chris Herren.

‘Chris Herren is man in long-term recovery from alcohol and other drugs since August of 2008.

Chris was a high school basketball legend from Fall River, Massachusetts, who realized his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA when he was drafted by the Denver Nuggets in 1999 and then was traded to his hometown team, the Boston Celtics in 2000.

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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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My Favourite Blogs: Ed Mitchell – Lost & Found

‘… documentary [from 2009] on the latest steps to recovery of former BBC and ITN broadcaster, Ed Mitchell, is broadcast exclusively on Inexcess TV – marking Ed’s return to television and first employment following his battle with alcohol and homelessness.

In his new role as editor at Inexcess Television, Ed produced and directed his latest documentary, Ed Mitchell: Lost and Found, the second programme to be broadcast on Ed’s life story, from living as a white-collar tramp to his subsequent recovery from alcoholism.’

This blog first appeared on this website in June 2013. Ed Mitchell no longer works for Inexcess Television. Check out the first documentary made about Ed’s alcohol-related problems. His book Headline to Hard Times is well worth a read.

My Favourite Blogs: The Story of Noreen Oliver – What you can do with Recovery

‘It’s almost ten years ago that I conducted an evaluation of the BAC O’Connor for Noreen Oliver. My visits to Noreen’s treatment centre were a real eye-opener! Here was a genuine recovery community, a place where recovery oozed out of the walls.

I couldn’t tell who was there to help and who needed help! It was a special experience and I learnt so much from those early visits. Most importantly, I learnt the power of community and belonging, of love and acceptance, of role models and peer support.

Over the years, I’ve watched as Noreen has continued to build BAC O’Connor and facilitate related activities (RIOT, Langan’s Tea Rooms and RIOT Radio). We meet periodically when I am back in UK and it’s always great to catch up.

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‘Dead Man Running: From Alcohol to Atacama’ by Billy Isherwood

Now, here is pure inspiration! Quite remarkable Story.

‘After 30 years of drug and alcohol abuse, Billy Isherwood was written off by the medical profession who predicted he’d be dead by the age of 50. But then Billy discovered running and it changed his life.

Starting out barely able to last five minutes on a treadmill at his local gym, it wasn’t too long before Billy, aged 55, found himself on his way to Chile to take part in one of the world’s most extreme desert marathons: the Atacama Crossing.

After a 5 minute montage with pre-recorded voice over, the film cuts live to Billy telling the story of his journey ‘From Alcohol to Atacama’. It’s a dramatic warts-and-all account that’s full of humour and humanity.’

ManyFaces1Voice

With the release of The Anonymous People documentary film, Faces & Voices of Recovery and their partners are collaborating to launch a new campaign, ManyFaces1Voice, to engage and mobilize the newly emerging constituency to transform public attitudes and policies affecting people seeking or in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.

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Highly Recommended Blog: Beyond Meds

monica-christmas-84-e1367944392197Beyond Meds from Monica Cassani is one of my favourite blogs, packed full of content… and I mean packed full! You’ll be seeing a lot more from Monica on Recovery Stories in the future.

Here is what Monica has to say about her blog:

‘BEYOND MEDS – ALTERNATIVES TO PSYCHIATRY – A RESOURCE

This blog documents and shares many natural methods of self-care for finding and sustaining health in body, mind and spirit.

My own experience as both (now – ex) patient and a mental health professional allows for some interesting and sometimes uncomfortable insights into the mental health system in the United States.

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Chiara de Blasio Tells Her Story

Chiara is daughter of New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio. In this professionally prepared clip, she talks about her depression and anxiety and her illicit drug use and treatment. Chiara also emphasises that recovery can’t be done alone.

YouTube clip intro reads:

‘For many, the holiday season is a time for joy. But it’s also a time when many of those battling depression and substance abuse find their struggle most difficult. In the hopes of helping others, Chiara de Blasio wants to share her personal story.

If you think you have a problem, don’t wait. Ask for help. Talk to a friend, family member, or health professional today.’

ManyFaces1Voice: William Cope Moyers

images‘I was invited to give a presentation at the Rotary club in downtown St Paul, where I got up there and started my talk and was telling them all about the statistics of alcoholism. I saw people like just dropping off, you know, checking their watches and people sneaking out the back door and I was losing them.

So I just decided if I was going to hold this audience and take advantage of this unique opportunity to speak at a Rotary club, I better grab them. So I literally threw the speech to the side of the podium there and said, “I am an alcoholic and an addict and I’m talking today about people like me.”

And I told them my Story, not my 12-step Story but my Story of addiction, my Story of recovery and the multiple treatments I’d had. And I had them! That was the day that I realised that the real power is in the Personal Story.’

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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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What Works in Treatment?: Sapphire’s Story, Part 3

rsz_dscf2263We’ve been following Sapphire’s Story with a focus on the treatment she received, recognising that treatment can either facilitate or have a negative impact on the recovery process. We’ve seen Sapphire courageously overcome heroin addiction, crack addiction and most recently an addiction to benzos. There’s more to overcome.

‘Once I was off the benzos and feeling a little more like myself, I went back to work. I hadn’t worked since having the crack-induced event, so was really scared that I wouldn’t be able to cope with a job.

As I had come off the benzos, and now had the proper support of a partner and my family, I started thinking about reducing my methadone with a view to abstinence. I knew I had the willpower, as I’d managed eight nightmarish months of the benzo detox and I’d also kicked a crack addiction about two years earlier.

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What Works in Treatment?: Sapphire’s Story, Part 2

rsz_img_2115Last week, we looked at Sapphire’s Story, with the aim of showing the importance of person-centered treatment. Along Sapphire’s journey into and out of addiction, things went well when Sapphire was intimately involved in decisions about her treatment, but poorly when professionals took sole control.

We left Sapphire’s Story after the Community Drugs Treatment had reduced her prescribed methadone dose against her will and she started to use street drugs again. She eventually became addicted to crack. This drug took over Sapphire’s life, until the day she ended up in hospital: “I’m not sure what actually happened one particular day. I know that I had been up for about five days smoking crack and I think I had a fit and was taken to hospital.”

Sapphire was transferred to the drug and alcohol unit of the hospital and put on a high dose of methadone. When she left this unit, she did not go back to the controlling and abusive man she had been living with since she was 16 years old.  Her parents had found out about her drug-taking and became very supportive.

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What Works in Treatment?: Adam’s Story

rsz_img_3275In the second of our series on what works in treatment, we look at Adam’s experiences and views. Adam had a problem with alcohol, amphetamine and cannabis before attending a residential rehab in Northam, Western Australia. 

‘I remember my first day in the rehab very well. I thought to myself, “What am I doing here? What have I got myself into?” I was very, very nervous, and along with the shakes and anxiety from coming off the alcohol, I was a right mess. However nervous I felt though, I had made my mind up before the implant operation that I was not going to drink or drug again. I was determined to do something about my addictions.

I did all the necessary paper work and was shown around, before being taken to my room. I was relieved to find I had a room to myself. I then sat on the end of the bed with the two garbage bags that contained my possessions, and had a good cry. I started to think about my family and I realised how much I missed them. Later that day, I was allocated a night to cook dinner and assigned a daily chore.

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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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Most visited content: Nos 16 – 20

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI thought I’d do something different over the next four days. We’re going to look at the 20 most visited pieces of content on the website (other than from the About Us section). We’ll look at five per day.

20. ‘What is Recovery?”: David Best (blog from May 28th) We looked at some of the views of one of the leading researchers in the recovery field. I included quotes from his excellent book, Addiction Recovery: A Movement for Social Change and Personal Growth in the UK.

19.  Julie Repper and Rachel Perkins (blog from June 3rd) answered the same question, “What is Recovery?” I not only looked at how they characterised recovery, but also included quotes from people in recovery from their book Social Inclusion and Recovery: A Model for Mental Health Practice.

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Marion’s Story: Introduction

Dr. Marion Kickett tells her Story, to help the reader understand her background and why she undertook her PhD research on resilience.

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Marion’s Story: My Identity

Marion has a strong identity which has helped shape her into who she is today.

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Marion’s Story: ‘My Spirituality’

Marion’s spirituality is very important to her and is central to everything else that matters in her life.

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Marion’s Story: My Culture

Marion believes her culture is changing and she has learned to adapt when changes occur.

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Maetta Broadus on ManyFaces1Voice

Unknown-1“Once you’re an addict and once you are seen in society as an addict or an alcoholic you’re an abnormal to society. You are something that no one wants in their community. you’re that things that they have to hide.

The stigma is that they’re doing it because they want to. But my experience is that I didn’t become a drug addict because I wanted to.”

See Maetta Broadus speak on ManyFaces1Voice, the website promoting The Anonymous People film. Maetta is a community activist and recovery ambassador from Kentucky. She serves on the board of People Advocating Recovery, belongs to Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, and is a certified recovery dynamics instructor.