life on life’s terms
these last few weeks have provided me the opportunity to make room for some of my real nature to come into view. if only i could proclaim how wonderful i am. wouldn’t that be wonderful? it might be, but that’s not the case. what i have seen is how very human i am. how vulnerable to primal reaction and fear i am. and how my ” chasing shiny things behaviors” keep me caught in a whirlpool of mild chaos.
it is often a challenge not to throw the book at myself in judgement over all this. after all, i have spent most of my adult life feeling “less than” and standing on the outside looking in. recovery and spiritual practices have taught me to think differently and feel differently which is how i try to live most of the time. but there are times when primal reactions emerge without warning and leave me standing clueless like a deer in some headlights trying to figure out what is happening and which direction i need to make a dash for.
this process i describe is my version of actuating emotional sobriety. old behaviors emerge and cause me to see life as in a rainstorm. emotional recovery involves time and patience to remember that who i was and how i was does not dictate who i am now. it is like using a wiper blade to better see the world with clarity.
attached to this cycle is the much more fragile self-forgiveness tangent. acceptance and forgiveness become the fulcrum that growth and change teeter upon in my world. when i pray now, it is for the ability to zoom out of my life and make room for unexpected blessings to be seen.
welcome to my january in 2016. i am grateful for your visit.
I don’t know why I love her like I do
All the changes you put me through
Take my money, my cigarettes
I haven’t seen the worst of it yet
I want to know that you’ll tell me
I love to stay
Take me to the river, drop me in the water
Take me to the river, dip me in the water
Washing me down, washing me down
I don’t know why you treat me so bad
Think of all the things we could have had
Love is an ocean that I can’t forget
My sweet sixteen I would never regret
I want to know that you’ll tell me
I love to stay
Take me to the river, drop me in the water
Push me in the river, dip me in the water
Washing me down, washing me
Thank you very much for your interest in Peer Coach Academy Colorado. Here is a brief rundown of my history working with peers. I have worked as a peer manager since I began working It Takes A Village in 2006, co-facilitating a substance use treatment group as a peer facilitator for a grant-funded program. I transitioned to Denver Health HIV clinics, started a newsletter and a not-for-profit dedicated to addressing stigma and adherence to care. In 2012 I transitioned to the Methadone clinic and began a peer support program intended to put patients successfully managing their own Methadone adherence in front of patients who were new to the program or struggling. I partnered with AFR for training and implemented a peer-to-peer program that continues to this day. The hospital experience provided me with a fairly basic understanding of mental health issues, common challenges for people who are dually diagnosed as well as a plethora of resources available.
I began to realize that our community needed more than the training and support Colorado had, so in 2014 upon leaving Denver Health, I traveled to Connecticut and trained with an early pioneer of the National Recovery movement CCAR ( www.ccar.us) . The training was profound and includes a remarkable section focused on power and privilege which invites participants to understand the challenges and stigma that people of color and other minorities experience in our systems. I keep up a healthy professional relationship with CCAR and can tap into their years of Recovery Coach experience if the situation were to arise.
Since then, I have worked on a recovery-oriented treatment option for multiple DUI offenders featuring a peer co-facilitator and using a cognitive based recovery oriented curriculum instead of the same one most have used at least one time earlier. I have collaborated with Colorado Mental Wellness Network to bring recovery coach trainings to their catalog of peer trainings.
What I believe is essentially missing from most peer programs I have encountered in Colorado are supervision, professionalism, education, and boundaries. PCA has assembled 5 continuing education trainings including Ethics, MAT, Legal Recovery Coaching. These supportive shorter program give the coaches an opportunity to reassess their skills. receive healthy feedback, reconnect with the larger recovery coach community, and learn new information about the field all of which enlarges their perspectives and creates stronger values.;
I have demonstrated strong supervision skills in my career. As a CAC III, I have been supervising CAC’s for the last 5 years. With regard to Recovery Coaches, I am fortunate enough to maintain contact and relationships with most of the coaches that have graduated my trainings. Many continue to work with others to this day.
I am attaching a copy of the 4 day training agenda (40 hours) On a 5th day (or 5th and 6th days later) we could add any of the extra modules like Ethics or Legal Recovery Coaching to compliment and strengthen skills. If the group would benefit from diversity, I can invite one or two trainees of different cultures or backgrounds to take part.
I hope this is not too long. I get excited as I talk about this work. Please feel free to edit and/or request more if needed.
funny- i purchased a copy of “living beautifully” by pema chodron and once again while breathing in her perspective, i felt a slight shift of insight, as if a thin veil had been pulled away. my experience with pema’s writing is that she is a lyricist for the soundtrack of my life. although i run and i hide, the truth in her soothsayer tellings that rings with clarity that it may very well be time to wake up.
As human beings we share a tendency to scramble for certainty whenever we realize that everything around us is in flux. In difficult times the stress of trying to find solid ground�something predictable and safe to stand on�seems to intensify. But in truth, the very nature of our existence is forever in flux. Everything keeps changing, whether we�re aware of it or not.
What a predicament! We seem doomed to suffer simply because we have a deep-seated fear of how things really are. Our attempts to find lasting pleasure, lasting security, are at odds with the fact that we�re part of a dynamic system in which everything and everyone is in process.
So this is where we find ourselves: right in the middle of a dilemma. And it leaves us with some provocative questions: How can we live wholeheartedly in the face of impermanence, knowing that one day we�re going to die? What is it like to realize we can never completely and finally get it all together? Is it possible to increase our tolerance for instability and change? How can we make friends with unpredictability and uncertainty�and embrace them as vehicles to transform our lives?
The Buddha called impermanence one of the three distinguishing marks of our existence, an incontrovertible fact of life. But it�s something we seem to resist pretty strongly. We think that if only we did this or didn�t do that, somehow we could achieve a secure, dependable, controllable life. How disappointed we are when things don�t work out quite the way we planned.
Not long ago, I read an interview with the war correspondent Chris Hedges in which he used a phrase that seemed like a perfect description of our situation: �the moral ambiguity of human existence.� This refers, I think, to an essential choice that confronts us all: whether to cling to the false security of our fixed ideas and tribal views, even though they bring us only momentary satisfaction, or to overcome our fear and make the leap to living an authentic life. That phrase, �the moral ambiguity of human existence,� resonated strongly with me because it�s what I�ve been exploring for years: How can we relax and have a genuine, passionate relationship with the fundamental uncertainty, the groundlessness of being human?
My first teacher, Ch�gyamTrungpa, used to talk about the fundamental anxiety of being human. This anxiety or queasiness in the face of impermanence isn�t something that afflicts just a few of us; it�s an all-pervasive state that human beings share. But rather than being disheartened by the ambiguity, the uncertainty of life, what if we accepted it and relaxed into it? What if we said, �Yes, this is the way it is; this is what it means to be human,� and decided to sit down and enjoy the ride?
this is how my life must look like from the outside.
bantering about trying to get free and swim my way back to the sea.
Don’t you ever say I just walked away
I will always want you
I can’t live a lie, running for my life
I will always want you
I came in like a wrecking ball
I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was wreck me
Yeah, you, you wreck me
I put you high up in the sky
And now, you’re not coming down
It slowly turned, you let me burn
And now, we’re ashes on the ground
changes are brewing at pca colorado and change is due to follow here at after the pop. as my focus shifts away from fortifying my recovery towards creating a stronger sense of recovery in our community. i haven’t completed the visioning yet, but i am excited to continue blogging albeit with a different twist. www.rodrushing.com
thank you to my readers. this medium continues to be a vital part of my recovery process. i wish you all an abundant and joyful 2016..
i hadn’t thought i would find the time to post again before 2016. it has been a busy catering season and i have been busy, busy, busy.
however i find that the need to express gratitude for all the blessings that have come my way this year is almost overwhelming. and the finish of 2015 and the beginning of the next year-long chapter seems to make this effort.
i hope to begin my 12th year in recovery in 2016. with that sober time comes the gift of not just recognizing my real behaviors and emotions, but the familiarity to adapt and change as is needed. although not a skill i have perfected by any means, i now understand that one of my survival skills that has developed over my lifetime is knowing that starting over can be done and it’s often less messy and emotionally sticky than working through a situation. one by-product of that tendency is that i have had little experience with forgiveness and acceptance both with letting others see my vulnerability and with working with similar characteristics in others. this seems a very short stick which i have voluntarily drawn repeatedly throughout my life, even in the early years of sobriety.
but emotional sobriety offers me the chance to zoom out from this pattern and see its limitations, not just its lifeboat effect. for this realization alone, i can eagerly say that all the tribulations that washed over me this year have brought with them this understanding and emotional growth. i am certainly a better man for it.
i have taken some chances and am still reeling from some of the aftermath of all this. i have shaken my sense of safety, wavered on some decisions, stirred up some community, questioned the pecking order, and continued to touch a few people and witness the wonders in transformation. it has been a full and flavorful year. i gave freely of myself to some close to me and have received much more than i could have imagined.
there is hope in my life and that is primarily a result of the spiritual practices i take part in regularly. i consistently forget that struggle does not mean failure, that failure does not mean defeat, and that surrender is often a winning strategy, but i am forgetting these things less.
thank you universe for the amazing and for the mundane. and for the grace in reflection. and welcome 2016.
i have become acquainted with several indie songwriters this year and jason isbell is the next gem i will share. my drives around town have raised now that his poetry and melodies are keeping me company. i give you a review from our local scene screen “the westword”.
“Jason Isbell’s story is one of recovery and redemption so it was only fitting that the backdrop he played in front of for Friday night’s show at the Ogden Theatre were large, church-like, stained glass windows. After being ousted by the Drive-By Truckers in 2007, the 36-year-old Alabama native took years to find his footing — mired in a heavy drinking routine that slowed his creative pace. In 2013 after giving up alcohol for good, he released Southeastern, his best album to date and a major turning point in his career. He followed with 2015’s Something More than Free which just earned a Grammy nomination for Best Americana Album. The concert on Friday showcased Isbell as, not only a highly professional and skilled performer, but as a poet, a tragic figure and one of the best songwriters in the world (and one who just announced a headlining date at Red Rocks for 2016). “