faces and voices of recovery

preparation

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A Pile of Dry Shit

One day a famous government officer met a highly respected edlerly master. Being conceited, he wanted to prove that he was the superior person.As their conversation drew on, he asked the master, “Old monk, do you know what I think of you and the things you said?”
The master replied, “I don’t care what you think of me. You are entitled to have your own opinion.”The officer snorted, “Well, I will tell you what I think anyway. In my eyes, you are just like a pile of dry shit!”The master simply smiled and stayed quiet.
Seeing that his insult had fallen into deaf ears, he asked curiously, “And what do you think of me?”
The master said, “In my eyes, you are just like the Buddha.”Hearing this remark, the officer left happily and bragged to his wife about the incident.His wife said to him, “You conceited fool! When a person has a heart like a pile of dry shit, he sees everyone in that light. The elderly master has a heart like that of the Buddha, and that is why in his eyes, everyone, including you, is like the Buddha!”
i find myself in the planning stage of change as the days once again begin the trek to get longer. i have been considering some options for the next project to dive into. part of me wonders whether i should just take a break, but i am not sure that is how i roll anymore. i can take a break when i’m dead. i would like to fuel and flame some passion in my life. and i would love the opportunity to continue to have conversations about recovery. not my recovery any more, but recovery in general- and why it is that the concept of recovery is not the first thing or even the 100th thing that people expect when the topic of addiction or illness comes up. it seems to me that our collective perspective on addiction and mental illness could be characterized as a pile of dry shit. but i hope to remind us that there is a something just like a buddha among us- recovery.
A New Recovery Advocacy Movement 
William L. White & Pat Taylor 
People in recovery from addiction, their families, friends and allies are on the 
move. Some are calling on mayors, governors and legislators to change policies to make 
it possible for people to get needed treatment and recovery support services. Others are 
joining National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month celebrations that draw 
tens of thousands of people and extensive media coverage. 
Local communities of recovery are organizing and sharing ideas, resources and 
experiences. A grass roots media campaign (see http://www.recoveryiseverywhere.org) is 
countering stigma and putting a positive face on recovery. A network of thousands of 
recovery homes is spreading rapidly to small towns and large cities. Recovery High 
Schools are flourishing, as are special programs for the growing number of recovering 
people entering or returning to college. Innovative peer-based recovery support services, 
ranging from Recovery Support Centers to growing networks of recovery coaches are 
testimony to new creative solutions to addiction. Something is happening in our 
communities — a renewed spirit of service and activism that has been christened the New 
Recovery Advocacy Movement. 
Faces & Voices of Recovery, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug 
Dependence, the Legal Action Center, the Johnson Institute, the Center for Substance 
Abuse Treatment’s Recovery Community Services Program grantees such as White 
Bison, Association of Persons Affected by Addiction (APAA) and Connecticut 
Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) and hundreds of new grassroots recovery 
community organizations are all part of this exciting movement. Recovering people are 
collaborating with visionary professionals to communicate to the world that addiction 
recovery is a reality for millions of people and their families. This movement is calling 
for a vanguard of recovering people…. www.facesandvoicesofrecovery.org

better days

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image credit……ddmag.tumblr.com
It goes a little something like this
In my shoes my toes are busted,
My kitchen says my bread is molded,
Got a good job at the dollar store,
One foot in the hole, one foot gettin’ deeper,
with a broken mirror and a blown out speaker
And I ain’t got much else to lose.
I’m faded, flat busted; 
I’ve been jaded I’ve been dusted.
I know that I’ve seen better days.
One foot in the hole, one foot gettin’ deeper,
Crank it to eleven, blow another speaker and
I ain’t got, I ain’t got much to loose 
‘Cause
I’ve seen better days I’ve been star of many plays
I’ve seen better days and the bottom drops out.
I’ve seen better days I’ve been star of many plays
I’ve seen better days and the bottom drops out.
life has distinctly taken a turn. april 2013 seems to have raced by as it excruciatingly revealed that i am only a passenger on this ride-not at all the conductor (my illusion). so many changes since the spring equinox, i have new time to spare and have once again made friends with my kitchen.  my heart smiles now and again for no reason. i am content to spend time quietly alone while napping, munching, and futzing around. 
i have learned to let go of some ongoing worry. as is commonly known, worry changes nothing tangible so the letting go is a spiritual exercise in which i am hopeful when engaging. the meditative quality of letting go and returning to center has the value of basket weaving to my manic brain. the result is not a straw vessel for fruit and correspondence, but an invitation to serenity, even in the midst of a sci-fi. 
i sometimes forget that every action there is a inevitably a reaction.  and rarely are the reactions as clock able as a light turning on when a switch is flicked. connecting the reactions to my actions can often seem like a jengo game- especially when meandering in a maze of day mares. 
i sat today and chatted with someone who completely lied to me. it was glaringly evident that the truth hadn’t arrived, but the absence of truth seems to have become their prosthetic which supports everyday balance and movement. and as i sat with them today, i realized that this prosthetic was not unlike the emperor’s new clothes- completely see through- and i couldn’t find a good enough reason to share my epiphany. 
faces and voices of recovery released the results of a survey that they conducted earlier this year. i am going to share the basic results which are not at all surprising, but remarkable none-the-less.
recovery, recovery, recovery
advocate, advocate, advocate
ADDICTION RECOVERY IS ASSOCIATED WITH DRAMATIC IMPROVEMENTS IN ALL AREAS OF LIFE
  • Involvement in illegal acts and involvement with the criminal justice system (e.g., arrests, incarceration, DWIs) decreases by about ten-fold
  • Steady employment in addiction recovery increases by over 50% greater relative to active addiction
  • Frequent use of costly Emergency Room departments decreases ten-fold
  • Paying bills on time and paying back personal debt doubles
  • Planning for the future (e.g., saving for retirement) increases nearly three-fold
  • Involvement in domestic violence (as victim or perpetrator) decreases dramatically
  • Participation in family activities increases by 50%
  • Volunteering in the community increases nearly three-fold compared to in active addiction
  • Voting increases significantly
  • Reports of untreated emotional/mental health problems decrease over four-fold
  • Twice as many participants further their education or training than in active addiction
THE BENEFITS OF ADDICTION RECOVERY OVER TIME
  • The percentage of people owing back taxes decreases as recovery gets longer while a greater number of people in longer recovery report paying taxes, having good credit, making financial plans for the future and paying back debts
  • Civic involvement increases dramatically as recovery progresses in such areas as voting and volunteering in the community
  • People increasingly engage in healthy behaviors such as taking care of their health, having a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and dental checkups, as recovery progresses
  • As recovery duration increases, a greater number of people go back to school or get additional job training
  • Rates of steady employment increase gradually as recovery duration increases
  • More and more people start their own business as recovery duration increases
  • Participation in family activities increases from 68% to 95%
The complete survey results are available in pdf format here.
i am really happy to post this citizen king ditty. it seems so 90’s pop classic to me.. makes me smile…

the anonymous people

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image- greg williams.. the anonymous people

i came across this vid on kickstarter by a guy named greg williams. it is a testament to the burgeoning social change movement that has been kicking up its heels on the eastern seaboard over the last 10 years. addressing the undeniable stigma of addiction as well as highlighting the lackluster outcomes of our now traditional substance treatment, the film asks questions about the invisible block of americans who have moved beyond their addiction and become happier and more productive members of society. this fact, of course, never getting much airtime or front page coverage, unlike the devastation and drama caused by active addiction.

the film clip stirs so many emotions in me. i believe that the wonders that have touched my life in recovery have rocked my world. it’s hard to imagine that others wouldn’t  want this if they understood it, even if they  only got a fraction of the relief i have found.

none-the-less greg williams is tapping into something greater than himself here. i encourage any readers to watch his clip and consider a contribution to his efforts. the local recovery organization i volunteer with has decided to donate enough to snag a private showing next year with a guest appearance by greg as well as a q&a. i fully support recovery coming out of the shadows and into the light.

here’s the link for his kickstarter project.