Factors Facilitating Recovery: (Gaining) Recovery Capital

Here’s the last of the 11 factors facilitating recovery that I wrote about in my book Our Recovery Stories: Journeys from Drug and Alcohol AddictionJust because it is last, does not mean it is the least important factor. In fact, it is one of the most important!

Recovery is better predicted by someone’s assets and strengths, rather than their ‘pathologies’, deficits and weaknesses. People can make progress by identifying and building on their personal assets and strengths. Interventions to facilitate recovery must focus on helping individuals build their recovery strengths, more often referred to as ‘recovery capital’. 

Recovery capital is the quantity and quality of internal and external resources that one can bring to bear on the initiation and maintenance of recovery [1]. It takes three main forms:

Read More ➔

Factors Facilitating Recovery: Mutual Support

I continue with my series of blog posts relating to the factors that facilitate recovery from addiction, which I have detailed in the second last chapter of my eBook Our Recovery Stories: Journeys from Drug and Alcohol AddictionThese factors are also relevant to recovery from mental health problems.

“Acceptance is just one aspect of the fifth key factor underlying recovery, being supported by others. People in recovery stress the importance of having someone believe in them, particularly when they don’t believe in themselves. They also stress the importance of having a person in recovery as a mentor or role model as they travel their journey.

Read More ➔

Factors that Facilitate Recovery

The importance of these factors has been demonstrated by listening to the narratives of recovering people about their journeys into and out of addiction (1,200 words).

Read More ➔

Untangling the Elements Involved in Treatment

Our research focused on interviews of people in a prison treatment programme revealed insights into the elements that operate in the treatment process, and how they might interact to facilitate a person’s path to recovery from addiction (1,700 words).

Read More ➔

‘A Day With Dave’ by Annalie Clark

I posted this originally in July 2013, a day before lovely daughter Annalie headed back to the UK tomorrow, having spent a year here in Perth working as a doctor (along with her boyfriend Max) in the emergency department of  a local hospital. Over seven years later, Annalie is a psychiatrist working in the UK.

Here’s an article that Annalie wrote in the summer of 2005, when she had just finished her first year of medical training at the University of Edinburgh. It appeared in a June edition of Drink and Drugs News. The article is about Dave Watkins who used to be a top-class support worker at a treatment centre in Swansea.

Read More ➔

‘5 Reasons Why I Could Get to Katahdin’ by Phil Valentine

springer_mtn_ga_at-225x300I couldn’t resist putting up this Hooked on Recovery blog from Phil Valentine. [If you missed out on my blog yesterday about Phil’s amazing trip, please check it out.]

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

I’ll be on Springer Mountain, Georgia in just a few days (03.19.15) to start my Appalachian Trail (AT) adventure. I set up a card table in my man cave and have started to get all my gear in one place. I bought a warmer sleeping bag because of all the cold, cold weather in the south this spring. As I talk to people daily about the AT, I’m usually asked…

“How are you feeling, Phil? You must be excited?”

Ya, I’m excited. Partly. And other parts are terrified, nervous, calm, anxious, determined, peaceful, relieved, sad, grateful, happy, curious, … Um, probably others too, but I have never been too good at describing my emotions. I am, after all, a typical male.

Read More ➔

I Am Not Anonymous: Lauren’s Story, ‘Will To Bear Discomfort’

LaurenText-1024x682(pp_w1000_h666)I’m starting 2015 with some powerful writing from the I Am Not Anonymous website.

‘When I walked into the door to rehab in early 2008 at the age of 29, I was given a lengthy input questionnaire. I decided it was time to be honest for once.

There was just one question I had to leave blank. I pondered it for the better part of a day and kept returning to it with no decent answer.

What is spirituality? I didn’t have a clue. I reluctantly left it blank. By the time I left rehab almost three months later to return to the life I had left, I had a much better understanding of what spirituality was and how it could help me.

Read More ➔

‘Three Things You Should Know about the Suicidal Mind’ by Douglas Bloch

I love this excellent video. Please share.

Author and depression counselor Douglas Bloch shares what factors make people suicidal and how to find a way to hope and recovery. More information.

‘How Depression Can Bring Blessings in Disguise’ by Douglas Bloch

In this video. author and depression counselor Douglas Bloch talks about how depression and anxiety can bring unexpected blessings in their wake.

‘Setting the Intention to Heal: The Starting Point of Mental Health Recovery’ by Douglas Bloch

dblochHere is such an important blog about healing and recovery. Thank you, Douglas.

‘“The readiness is all.” William Shakespeare

In my work facilitating depression support groups, I have discovered three essential factors to healing from depression, which I call ”the three pillars of mental health recovery.”  In my earlier blogs for Mad in America I wrote about two of these pillars  – connecting with community and using a holistic approach to treat symptoms. Now I would like to present the first and MOST IMPORTANT pillar – Setting the Intention to Heal.

I define setting the intention to heal as “making the decision that you want to get well, even if you don’t know how.”  Setting the intention to heal does not require that a person know the exact path that will heal him from a major depression or other mental health disorder. It just requires that he or she wants be well.

Read More ➔

‘Experiencing Recovery – Part 9′ by William L. White: Recovery Advocacy and New Recovery Support

Bill talks about recovery as a new paradigm and its influence on treatment systems. He goes on to describe the new recovery advocacy movement and new recovery institutions and organisations. Most of this is occurring at a grassroots level.

‘Experiencing Recovery – Part 8′ by William L. White: History of Recovery Support

Bill introduces about the various types of recovery support that have existed historically: natural support, limited generalist support within the community, peer recovery (mutual aid) and treatment. He then goes on to describe how things have been changing in recent years.

‘Recovering From Psychiatry’ by Laura Delano

0-71Here is an excellent website from a very special lady. Please spend time exploring the website, including Laura’s amazing Story. Here’s what Laura has to say:

‘We search, and search, and search for answers to our emotional pain, until we realize they’ve been in us all along – not in psychiatric diagnoses, psychiatric textbooks, pill bottles, or the minds of the doctors we’ve surrendered ourselves to.  At least, this has been my experience.

What does it mean to “recover” from Psychiatry?  For me, it’s meant healing from the physical, emotional, cognitive, and existential trauma of psychiatric labels and psychotropic drugs, which has taken time, patience, acceptance, and unyielding determination. 

Read More ➔

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.

Read More ➔

‘Reflections on a Pathologized Adolescence and a Vision For The Future’ by Laura Delano

0-71I’ve been working on a larger writing project for a while now, and am currently focusing on my ninth grade year –  the year I turned fourteen, the year I began to think about suicide, the year I discovered the temporary satisfaction that comes from escaping oneself, and the year I met my first psychiatrist and said goodbye to myself.

For many years, I carried great shame about all that unfolded during that year – about the things I did, the secrets I kept, the harm I caused, the darkness I was so immersed in.

Today as I write, I am full of love for that lost girl I once was, for I see that I was on a universal, archetypal search – for answers to my profound emptiness, to why I yearned to die, to why I felt so utterly convinced that I didn’t fit into the world.

I was searching for self-worth, for peace of mind, for a sense of safety in a world I didn’t understand. I was searching for the kinds of things that all young people search for, only I was never presented an opportunity to realize this.

Read More ➔

‘Benzodiazepines treat anxiety, cause long-term problems’ by Markian Hawryluk

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.clsThis article appeared in The Bulletin in Central Oregon.

Meant for short-term relief, these medications are prescribed repeatedly.

Over three decades, Marjorie Carmen had helped her husband, Milton, through many of his health issues. From heart surgery to cancer to a hip replacement, they had survived each of them.

But in 2007, as her husband slowly descended into dementia, it scared her. It was not so much the fear of him dying or leaving her alone. It was the angst over what the Yale-educated, highly successful real estate developer with his New England upbringing and sensibilities would have to endure, unable to fend for himself – the sheer indignity of dementia.

Read More ➔

‘Support for those in Withdrawal Who Struggle With Family & Friends Not Understanding’ by Baylissa Frederick

bfrederickOne of the most challenging and frustrating aspects of withdrawal is that feeling of being misunderstood, unsupported and isolated.

If someone has diabetes, dystonia or other chronic illness or experiences a life event such as a bereavement, people will more often empathise and offer support. They understand these issues – the required dietary restrictions, medication, etc., and they will be able to tell you the stages of grief. Support of every kind is forthcoming because there is enough awareness, shared through every medium, on these topics.

Even an addiction to cocaine, alcohol or heroin receives more attention and holds more credibility than protracted benzodiazepine and antidepressant withdrawal. It is saddening indeed that those in withdrawal are so terribly misunderstood.

Read More ➔

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.

Read More ➔

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.

Read More ➔

Barry Haslam – Addiction to Prescription Drugs

“Not only is it a national scandal, it is a political problem. And it needs a political solution. In fact, I’d go even further and say, it needs an independent public inquiry. We’ve had 50 years of prescribing these drugs which have addicted literally millions, certainly one and a half millions currently [in UK – DC] and they’ve injured, disabled, they’ve killed people…”

Here is a real courageous man, someone who has highlighted the problem of prescription drug addiction and tried to help people for years. You are a true hero, Barry! And you too, Sue!!

‘In conjunction with the imminent launch of our new service which we will be delivering in the new year, ‘ADS-Haslam Clinics for Prescribed Addiction’, we interviewed Barry Haslam, our partner and leading expert on the effects of prescription drugs.

During the interview Barry talks about his struggle with addiction to prescribed medicines and the devastating effects it’s had on himself and those around him. We also hear the story from a carers point of view from Barry’s wife Sue and collectively their resolve to make this national scandal understood.’