colorado recovery community

recovery management- fly robin fly

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the next wave in the continuum needed to address the aod epidemic may just be recovery management. so much emphasis has been placed on diagnosis and treatment over the last 30 years, but statistics reveal that those strategies do not eradicate the problem. Diagnosis and treatment work on a percentage of the afflicted. The do not reverse the stop or slow down the illness in a larger percentage. they only delay disease progression.

recovery has been named the goal for several decades, but access and wraparound recovery services have been lacking in the disbursement of services. providers have long seen themselves as treatment providers who provide access to recovery. this does not reflect the true picture of treatment services in the country. it reflects the picture that treatment providers prefer to see themselves, but until long term recovery is the focus of programs, clinics, hospitals, residential treatment services, this will remain only a picture.

recovery management is the next big thing. fueled by the recovery advocacy and activism of the last 5 years, so very many of the flock are setting their sites on sustainable recovery as the goal.


here’s what’s hatching

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birds palo


there has been a buzz in my bonnet over this last week.  my training organization has hatched some plans for building a new nest to keep our family growing and to grow recovery within our community.

peer coach academy colorado is beginning a collaboration with agami health services. we will begin a recovery support group at their aurora location and facilitate a group for 2 hours a week. the group is being called “varsity” and is designed to be a team approach to recovery support. the roster will consist of team members, recovery coaches, and recovery alumni all providing playbooks, strategy, and experience to the rookies and interns.

the application for 501c3 status has actually begun. we have a brainstorm session scheduled which should help us distill the mission, the board, the initial budgeting, policies and procedures,  and business plan. we are resurrecting and blending another organization and it’s mission into ours which will add educating, raising awareness, and building capacity to the concept that  recovery is evidence-based and our community will be improved if it is integrated into our collective goals and treatment plans. we need treatment certainly, but we need more desperately recovery principles. this is the next big task and hold the promise of new life for pca.

to round out the new babies in the pca  flock, agami  and pca have submitted a response to a request for quote for a project with a legal arm of a county level colorado justice legal program which could provide a small revenue stream and a larger picture opportunity to develop relationship within the treatment/justice system to educate about recovery principles.

I am crowing a little here certainly. hopefully I am also releasing an affirmation into the universe and hopefully beginning construction on a new nest for pca. maybe-just maybe- for colorado too.  a guy can dream, can’t he

I love returning to a 90’s version of that nelly Furtado classic “i’m like a bird”. but I really really love the junior vasquez remix from twilo. I love the haunting slo-mo bassline and the tenderness of nelly’s vocals as they flit on and off that bassline like a bird on a wire.

You’re beautiful and that’s for sure
You’ll never ever fade
Your lovely, but it’s not for sure
And I won’t ever change
And though my love is rare
And though my love is true







welcome to the weekend

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i spoke with a friend yesterday about some ideas i have for developing a stronger sense of community among people in recovery. this guy is a networking nazi and very well known around town. he and i met after i had become a drug and alcohol counselor. he was a fairly high profile client. he had been instrumental in bringing crystal meth anonymous to denver and had been working as a peer navigator at denver’s drug court. additionally, i was walking and talking with him when he hatched the idea of “surrounded by recovery” which evolved into 2 years of recovery celebration at the capital which lead to a hand holding event each year around the gold dome with the intention of raising awareness that recovery works. when i met him, i had been clean only 2 years- he had been struggling for 5. i told him that i didn’t believe i could really be an effective counselor for him, but that it seemed he might need a good honest friend.

sadly all of his amazing and ground breaking efforts resulted in relapse for him. this humbled him and threw back each of the efforts he generated back several years. but this is life and this is how the brain operates. it likes dopamine. it bends and reshapes synapses to allow the dopamine release process to flourish and take over. if it were uncommon, our culture would not have many of the problems it does. he has again built time and has been dancing with humility which looks good on him.

as i spoke with him yesterday i ran down the basic concept of a recover resource and networking event in september and trying to market this. it includes using and developing a radio program- probably using blog talk radio. it’s a big task, but i think i am ready for a new project. and it would be beneficial to be able to reach more pockets of individuals.

funny- i feel a familiar sense of excitement in my gut. fear, hope, wonder usually accompany my muse. definitely excited to see how this unfolds. came across some web-based recovery support programs yesterday which i am hoping we can beta with some younger patients at my workplace-exciting. i have 2 interns starting on tuesday – this is my first mentoring gig as a counselor. i work 2 parties this week and hope to catch up on a couple of outstanding bills.

 i am planning to restart cardio classes this weekend and see the star trek -in 3d-. i am ready for some fun.

with fun in mind, i remember a time in the late 70’s that i could throw a b52’s vinyl album on the turntable and let the whole thing play through- all the while dancing, bopping, and having a blast. today i find the same joy with nicolas jaar. he is a composer, dj, producer that creates a rhythm pattern that makes my heart and soul smile.

the world goes round

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image credit…
Somebody loses and somebody wins
And one day it’s kicks, then it’s kicks in the shins
But the planet spins, and the world goes ’round-
But the world goes ’round
But the world goes ’round

Sometimes your dreams get broken in pieces
But that doesn’t matter at all
Take it from me, there’s still gonna be
A summer, a winter, a spring and a fall

And sometimes a friend starts treating you bad
But the world goes ’round….
And sometimes your heart breaks with a deafening sound…
Barry Manilow
life has been moving quite quickly as of late. i have more free time and i feel as if things are moving faster- no way to explain it and no way to see it without more distance. it’s mostly changing the workplace that has me in a tizzy. i have volunteers working 3 hours every morning greeting and giving referrals and resources. it’s a fairly easy intervention, but it required extra focus and answering a lot more questions. and then there is minimal push back from the other departments. it’s gonna take awhile for these others to realize the value. 
i have been working in building a peer support network at our little clinic. it is kinda magnificent watching it unfold. the enthusiasm, the volunteerism, the waft of hope and optimism that is smudging our corridors. bit by bit idea becomes integrated and hopefully second nature. i have emailed out a 2nd invitation to roughly 15 community organizations to join an advisory council with our peers. i also included a letter of explanation, a rough 3 year plan we drafted for the peer support efforts, some marketing outlines for a “recovery walk” and a toolkit for a “recovery idol” event put together so lovingly by Derrick Ford and the Phildadelphia Recovery Community.

please understand that this seems a grand sweeping gesture on my part. it is an affirmation in a very big way.  i am completely working with faith to create reality here. i feel the entire scope of hope that all of these  schemes and dreams will make it to this dimension. at the same time, my lifetime’s worth of less-than thoughts and not-worthy feelings which have pulled my proverbial wagon the majority of my life are rearing their heads, stomping their hooves, and whinnying and chortling syncopated in revolt to take the lead. 
in my recovery and in working with others, i have realized that my old beliefs and patterns will return. and return. and return again. the trick is to realize when this return happens, that i don’t have to continue to think and do the way i did before- that i have new ways to think and do- and then i have to connect to those. and i started this journey doing affirmations and following the lead of grand dame louise hay. either way, i’m affirming, and fighting, and continuing to breathe. and the world goes round.


aria ready

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maria callas image credit….

“Human life is a most difficult classroom until you learn the simple fact that your truth is your power, your salvation, your fulfillment, your purpose and your way. Once you can truly believe that, life becomes the joyous and abundant garden that it was meant to be..” 
~ from Emmanuel’s Book
i probably am jinxing our opportunity tomorrow by writing about it here, but i am excited enough to try to make it more real. as i’ve mentioned, we are moving forward with implementing a peer-to-peer network at my workplace. a grant has been written and within that process a framework was created for roll out. we are approaching another funding stream tomorrow and i have been asked to go along to discuss the concept, the framework, and the nuts and bolts. 
this represents a step in a direction i have at once coveted and doubted. this could very well mean that the mania-driven dreamstorming i have been doing this last year within the parameters of several organizations might stand a chance to have some life breathed into them. and beyond my own process and aspirations, it means that this idea of “recovery community” might actually become part of the architecture of public health substance treatment in colorado. ergo- our citizens with no resources might have more support when trying to put their lives back together- and that would be supplied very often by people just like them. this is like a multi-layer ganache cake to me.
the photograph of maria callas  is posted today because whenever i think of arias, i first think of her. she just might always represent the premier diva to me. she captivated a planet when she put her mind to it and she literally breathed life into an art form that had nearly become a museum exhibit. she was bright, talented, inspired. she was difficult, provocative, and a classic. she made no apologies. 
i googled aria as audition and came across a site named and found that there were 5 tips offered as follows.
1) Know your voice and your range and stick to them.
2) Select a diverse group of arias within your range.
3) Always start your auditions with the aria that is most solid in your voice and your heart.
4) Knowing the whole role is not necessary for your audition.
5) Always represent and present your personal brand.
so i will head to the meeting tomorrow with these tips in mind and some blueprints i have been working on. i am sharing them here to review the offerings. first there is the submitted grant- 18 pages of an outline. then there are some window dressings- 
1) A plan to implement and develop a coaching academy for our part of the country.
2) A plan to implement a volunteer workforce and addition to our campus.
3) Creating a value system from our peers to infiltrate our processes and help shift from a medical model.
4) Invite and support a multi-cultural peer network with the resilience necessary to speak to our population.
5) Create positive events for our recovering community to participate in with the intention of creating a recovery community.

a pair of wings with a ball and chain

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image credit…
O Tell Me The Truth About Love by W H Auden

Some say love’s a little boy, 
And some say it’s a bird, 
Some say it makes the world go around,
Some say that’s absurd,
And when I asked the man next-door, 
Who looked as if he knew, 
His wife got very cross indeed, 
And said it wouldn’t do.

Does it look like a pair of pyjamas.
Or the ham in a temperance hotel?
Does its odour remind one of llamas,
Or has it a comforting smell? 
Is it prickly to touch as a hedge is?
Or soft as eiderdown fluff?
Is it sharp or quite smooth at the edges?
O tell me the truth about love. 
Our history books refer to it
In cryptic little notes, 
It’s quite a common topic on 
The Transatlantic boats;
I’ve found the subject mentioned in
Accounts of suicides, 
And even seen it scribbled on
The backs of railway guides.
Does it howl like a hungry Alsatian,
Or boom like a military band?
Could one give a first-rate imitation 
On a saw or a Steinway Grand?
Is its singing at parties a riot? 
Does it only like Classical stuff? 
Will it stop when one wants to be quiet? 
O tell me the truth about love.

I looked inside the summer-house;
It wasn’t over there; 
I tried the Thames at Maidenhead,
And Brighton’s bracing air
I don’t know what the blackbird sang, 
Or what the tulip said;
But it wasn’t in the chicken-run, 
Or underneath the bed.

Can it pull extraordinary faces?
Is it usually sick on a swing? 
Does it spend all its time at the races,
or fiddling with pieces of string?
Has it views of its own about money? 
Does it think Patriotism enough?
re its stories vulgar but funny?
O tell me the truth about love.
When it comes, will it come without warning
Just as I’m picking my nose? 
Will it knock on my door in the morning,
Or tread in the bus on my toes?
Will it come like a change in the weather? 
Will its greeting be courteous or rough? 
Will it alter my life altogether?
O tell me the truth about love.
there is something i am learning about myself and my nature that seems new. funny, because i am sure it has been the same all along- i suspect i am just waking to it. in the beginning stages of taking an idea and running it up a flagpole and letting the winds of processing stretch it into a life size float. this part of the creative process is the intoxicating part for me. 
unsure as to whether to be validated or not, i feel vindicated to understand finally that it is the kinetics involved in ideas which propel me forward. i get high on ideas. gosh- i feel a little naked admitting this. it’s almost as if i feel a little ashamed because i find enjoyment. hmm- gotta find a way to let that bit go. 
i have been told that i am driving the bus on this new idea. i might as well have been given a pair of wings and a ball and chaing at the same time. it’s so dizzying and quite daunting. none the less, i am in my cups these days. spinning ideas on creating a vision, a mission, core values, developing and implementing a volunteer workforce, educating, training, and funding all have me believing i might be on a tilt-a-whirl. it’s certainly an amusement ride. 
thank you, thank you, thank you universe for opening my world to this opportunity. i have to admit here that some of my judgement will be clouded by my own desires and prejudices. i am swimming a resentment now that i perhaps clouding my judgement somewhat. i am willing to let it go, but i haven’t been willing enough to forget it. i pledge to make an effort to get to that place. 
the name of our new venture is slated to be named.
“Back To Life”. 
Peer Recovery Services 
What We Teach We Learn
the logo ideas are being bandied about and the next brainstorming event should happen this month. i am scheduling an impromptu thank you lunch for all the volunteers that have participated since the onset. and we will hopefully will start to work on our mission statement.
i don’t think i know more than anyone nor do i feel more special. i believe that the ideals of recovery and inclusion that i spout so often about here have been carved into the landscape well before i was aware they existed. i embrace those ideals however, and i work to live by them. and something tells me i will post more about the project as it rolls out.
Recovery Premise 1: All individuals are unique and have specific needs, goals, health attitudes and behaviors, and expectations for recovery.
Recovery Premise 2: Persons in recovery with mental illness, alcohol or drug addiction, or both, share some similarities, however, management of their own lives and mastery of their own futures will require different pathways at times.
Recovery Premise 3: All persons shall be offered equal access to treatment and have the opportunity to participate in their recovery process.


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image credit..
love the moss on stone above- it seems a metaphor for the work i am engaging in right now.

Heaven, is the whole of our hearts
And Heaven don’t tear you apart
Yeah, Heaven, is the whole of our hearts
And Heaven don’t tear you apart

There’s too many kings 
Wanna hold you down
And a world at the window
 Gone underground

There’s a hole in the sky
 Where the sun don’t shine
And a clock on the wall
 And it counts my time
… Psychedelic Furs
forgive me if i repeat myself, but i am a little agog with all the change in my work life. i can’t say they are happening because of anything i have done, but i can not say that my efforts have had nothing to do with this evolution as well. 
during the majority of last spring and summer, i had some goals aroung bringing some change to the culture at my workplace and i was independently taking some actions to develop a peer support culture within our treatment home with the intention of moving it in the direction of becoming a recovery oriented system of care (rosc). the process seemed to get stalled in late fall and i found myself feeling some disappointment and some frustration with the lack of progress. 
but recently i have been officially asked to pick up the reins of that had been laid down and infuse some life and nourishment once again into that direction. plus, our team has decided to work towards a grant to support this work and i am putting energy towards helping to design a framework for peer support services to sprout as organically as we are able to envision. 
i remember sharing with friends last year that somehow i had stumbled into what i might call a dream job. being able to envision, create, and infuse culture change and recovery into a largely dinosaured organization is something that represents the 4th dimension mentioned on pg 25 of the AA book- “We have found much of heaven and have been rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence of which we had not even dreamed.”

i offer this today as an exercise in gratitude. the tests that will follow- including my ability to follow through, to perform to expectation, and to support recovery and the people i am working leave room for concentrated effort. indeed, i am offered opportunities daily to review my past interactions and re-evaluate some relationships, responsibilities, and acquaintances i had thought i’d left behind. none-the-less, i am so very grateful to have my heart and my mind engaged like this right now.