‘The Street to Recovery’ by Kevin Kennedy

51-JLmnATJL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_SX385_SY500_CR,0,0,385,500_SH20_OU02_Remember this guy? Well, he has a Recovery Story to tell, which you can read about in his new book. Meanwhile, here is an article from Addiction Today.

‘Kevin Kennedy – Curly Watts from TV’s long-running Coronation Street, and so popular he drew in 22million viewers for his TV wedding – has now been sober for 15 years. He shares his experience of alcoholism and rehab, strength of recovery and hope for the future with Addiction Today readers. Pdf

PROLOGUE: A FRIDAY IN AUGUST 1998
Sometime in the morning, I came round. I’d blacked out from the drink, with no memory of the night before. As soon as I opened my eyes, before I’d even focused on the room around me, I knew I had done it again. After all the promises, even swearing on the Bible and all the pleas for second chances, I’d still gone ahead and lost it. The four hideous horsemen – shame, remorse, self-disgust, and, worst of them all, fear – had found me, again.

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‘RSA Shorts: The Power of Empathy’ with Brené Brown

An awesome short animation from the RSA involving one of my favourite ladies, Brené Brown.

‘What is the best way to ease someone’s pain and suffering? In this beautifully animated RSA Short, Dr Brené Brown reminds us that we can only create a genuine empathic connection if we are brave enough to really get in touch with our own fragilities.

Voice: Dr Brené Brown. Animation: Katy Davis (AKA Gobblynne) Why not check out Brené’s full talk The Power of Vulnerability at the RSA?

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‘Psych drugs can strip folks of caring about hygiene & home environment’ by Monica Cassani

adlI really like Monica Cassani’s blog Beyond Meds. Monica say: ‘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.’

In the world of social services they refer to them as your ADLs. Activities of daily living. ADLs encompass more than care of self and home but I’m referring to those two things here as they are the most common and visible dysfunction quite often.

If you’ve been part of the mental health system you’ll know that mental health professionals quite often check in with you to see how well you’re functioning by asking about your ADLs. And people who’ve been highly psychiatrized quite often know the acronym. ADL.

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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.’

‘Out of the dark into the light: The beginning of the recovery journey’ by Rosie

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy good friend Wynford Ellis Owen of The Living Room Cardiff was a regular blogger on Wired In To Recovery. While he was on holiday, his ‘stand-in’ Rosie wrote some beautiful blogs. Here’s the first.

‘Leaving the dark place of my drinking and moving into the light of my new life has been a journey of self discovery – a journey of change – a painful journey at times – a wonderful journey – which has brought me what I was seeking most – peace.

I have come to understand that recovery is a healing process of mind, body and spirit, and time is an essential factor in this process. We cannot expect to recover from the illness of alcoholism or any other addiction overnight. We cannot undo the harm done in a short space of time. This is a fact which I believe is so often not recognised – people are not realising the importance of time in the recovery process.

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Expectations in Early Recovery

rsz_prop-img-full-f3y0fv91-1i4rrdkllxwjkOne of the problems in early recovery is the person not knowing what to expect. And then not being able to deal with the ‘unexpected’ when it happens. Here’s some reflections from Stephanie Brown in her book A Place Called Self: Women, Sobriety, and Radical Transformation.

‘Sharp feelings
New recovery is painful on several levels. Firstly, new recovering women must deal with the normal feelings that most women have but which they have buried under addiction.

Second, they have to face the ambivalence they feel as they bring their own recovery needs  into balance with meeting the needs of others.

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‘Figuring out self-acceptance’ by Matt Kay

rsz_unknownBy popular request, another Wired In To Recovery blog by Matt Kay.

‘Self-acceptance means accepting our whole self; the talents and strengths along with the bad habits and pain. When we deny, repress or hide any aspect of ourselves it is likened to rejecting ourselves.

The very things we want most in life include being accepted, loved and acknowledged, yet we often don’t give these gifts to ourselves. We are all here to grow, learn and enjoy life, and no one is perfect. Making mistakes, experiencing pain and embarrassing ourselves are all a part of the package.

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Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

51Yq0hL1NEL._SY346_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_Shame plays a major role in keeping people locked in addiction. Shame of what a person has become through their addiction, and how it has affected relationships with loved ones and friends, can drive people to more self-medication in efforts to alleviate the feelings experienced. 

In the section Books to facilitate your recovery, I have recommended Brene Brown’s latest book Daring Greatly, which is well worth a read. Brene is a shame researcher who has become a major name in the past few years, in part due to her having the second most viewed TEDx talk. I guess 10.7 million views is what you call viral.

Here’s what I said about Daring Greatly:

“Every now and again, I read a book that I immediately read again (this time using a marker), and then keep picking up to read various bits that I have highlighted. This is the latest of such books.

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‘How Forgiveness Can Change Your Life’ by Peter Breggin

Unknown-1I have a high regard for the work of the psychiatrist Peter Breggin. Here is an article he wrote on forgiveness for the Huffington Post earlier in the year. Forgiveness plays a key role in recovery.

‘Early in 1865, in his second inaugural address, little more than a month before his assassination, Abraham Lincoln stood before the bloodied, fractured United States to speak about forgiveness, the letting go of hatreds, and the binding of wounds. He implored the people of America:

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

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Addiction Recovery: Getting Clean At 22

IMG_2353I found this powerful Recovery Story on the Huffington Post website. It’s nice to see such a story of hope amongst the addiction-focused ‘stories’ that predominate in the popular media. There is also a short video interview to watch.

‘On March 4th, 2012, I was having trouble breathing. “Am I going to be okay?” I asked the nurse who was monitoring my heart rate. “I don’t know,” she said. “If you are, I hope you stop destroying your life.”

It was not the first time substance abuse had landed me in the emergency room. But, though I didn’t know it then, it would be the last.

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‘A bright light in a dark world’ by Maddie

IMG_4069I’m almost nine months into my recovery journey, during which time I have not had a drop of alcohol. I’ve been reflecting back to my past, the time that I was drinking very heavily. Today, I can’t imagine drinking every day as I did, waking up with a hangover every morning. My mind just can’t seem to go back there.

It’s almost as if I have forgotten my past, but at the same time so much of it is very fresh. But the past ‘me’ is so different to the person I am today. My past does not hurt me anymore. I can walk past a pub or bottle shop and not even think about alcohol.

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‘Solving addiction lies in empowerment, not shame’ by Beth Burgess

P1011013Found this article by Beth Burgess in the New Statesman in October 2012. Beth is certainly getting her writing in a number of important places. Well done, Beth.

‘Brighton’s Recovery Walk is an important sign that stigma about addiction isn’t acceptable.
What springs to mind when you envisage thousands of excited alcoholics and drug addicts gathered on the streets of Brighton? The casting queue for The Jeremy Kyle Show? Early opening at the dole office? A new Wetherspoons opening up on the seafront?

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