‘Unraveling the Mystery of Personal and Family Recovery: An Interview with Stephanie Brown, PhD’ by Bill White (Part 1)

Unknown-1Stephanie Brown and Bill White are two of my favourite people, although I have never had the pleasure and privilege of meeting Stephanie. They have both made such a huge contribution to our understanding of recovery and how it can be achieved. The work of Stephanie and her colleagues on family recovery is unique.

Bill’s interview of Stephanie Brown is essential reading and will help you understand what an enormous contribution the latter has made. I’m going to visit several aspects of this interview over this and future blogs. Enjoy!

Bill says of Stephanie:  “One of the pioneers who has most influenced this interest in resilience and recovery is Dr. Stephanie Brown. I consider her developmental models of personal and family recovery as among the most important in the modern era of addiction treatment. The implications of some research are so profound and far-reaching that it takes decades to fully appreciate their import. I think we as a professional field will be mining the implications of Stephanie Brown’s work for decades to come.”

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‘Coping in Early Recovery: The Toddler Stage’ by Stephanie Brown

images-1In my last blog on Stephanie Brown’s book  A Place Called Self: Women, Sobriety, and Radical Transformation, I looked at what Stephanie describes as the Baby Stage of early recovery. Here, I look at what Stephanie says of ‘The Toddler Stage’.

‘As a baby moves into the toddler stage, she begins to acquire a new kind of learning. She begins to pick up language, which builds the foundation for understanding and forming ideas.

Similarly, the woman born newly into abstinence begins what is called cognitive learning. She listens to others telling the stories of what they did in the past and what they do now. She begins to hear a new language, the language of recovery, and, like a toddler, begins to form her new self and her new identity around the acceptance of her addiction. She comes to know the words, “I am an alcoholic” or “I am an addict” and build her new, strong sense of self on this foundation…’

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‘How Do I Cope in Early Recovery?’ by Stephanie Brown

rsz_dscf0052_2In my last blog on Stephanie Brown’s book  A Place Called Self: Women, Sobriety, and Radical Transformation, I looked at what women can expect in early recovery, in particular in relation to their feelings. Stephanie goes on to look at the question, ‘How Do I Cope?’

‘If you are like many other women in early abstinence, you feel inadequate, maybe even dumb. How did you get yourself into this predicament? And what do you do now? How do you stay away from your drug of choice and every other drug too? How do you focus on yourself one day at a time?…

How do you tell your family that you need to stop drinking and that you need meetings when they don’t think anything is wrong? Or when they’re so angry they don’t want to stick around while you get well. Most of all, how do you survive each moment and each day when the pain is so great and you are so scared?’

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