white papers

sunday kind of love- anne clark

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"No matter what the problem is, our experiences are just outer effects of inner thoughts."... louise hay
“No matter what the problem is, our experiences are just outer effects of inner thoughts.”… louise hay

The Other Closet
As the queer community has reached greater visibility, a considerable segment of our population—the queers in recovery from addiction—has remained hidden from the whole. For decades, queer people have been congregating in church basements and YMCAs to offer support and healing to each other for their recovery from addiction. Queer-oriented Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and scores of other 12-step groups are the most organized, but by no means the only recovery support networks for queer people across the country.
Marty Mann, an early recovery advocate who promoted public education about the disease of alcoholism and founded what is now the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence, was a lesbian. She was also responsible for ushering many gay men and lesbians into AA in the 1940s and 1950s. “Mrs. Marty Mann” was “out” about being a woman in recovery (double stigma), but remained silent about her sexual orientation (triple stigma). This was partly because of the times, but also because being out about too many stigmatized areas of her life would have undermined her already compromised credibility as an activist. In our community now, many queers are willing to disclose their sexual orientation or gender variance, but not their recovery from addiction. The lives of far too many among us span both closets.
As early as 1970, gay activists in recovery began to challenge AA in the flurry of queer-positive activity that followed Stonewall, petitioning AA for the right to establish “special interests” gay AA groups. This piece of history, largely unknown to the overall queer community, preceded the 1973 removal of homosexuality as a mental disorder in the DSM-II by the American Psychological Association (APA). Advocates pioneered what was to become a current network of “Gay AA” meetings across the country, arguing that it was important to create a safe and openly identifiable recovery space in which queers could explore the nature of their addiction and sexuality in a supporting and understanding community of peers. This has resulted in a strong, sober queer community that is a subset of the larger community. It has also created an overall acceptance of queer experience in many mainstream factions of AA and 12-step culture in general.
Many queers today express discomfort with the notion of disclosing their recovery within the queer community. As in other oppressed communities in which substance use is a social norm, there is often a reverse stigma and harsh judgment placed on people in recovery who no longer share common activities that center around the use of substances. Further, oppressed communities tend to shy away from addressing addictions as a social problem in their specific communities, fearing that it will bring further negative attention and blame upon them by the dominant culture. Because of these variables, it is important for us to tease out the issue of addiction in our community from the separate but related issue of the “right to use,” and the historic role of substance use in subcultures promoting sexual liberation. Thoughtful dialogue can direct us to recovery solutions that include not only those who practice abstinence from substances as a means to generate their recovery from addiction, but also those who chose to use substances in a way that promotes informed choice, awareness, and acknowledgment of risks, while reducing them

…. excerpted from writings by Tom Hill from History on Queer Experience with Addiction and Recovery. 

now you see it

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Thirty of the Most Frequently Asked Questions about Recovery and Recovery-Oriented Practice(along with some beginning answers)  Do people really recover? And if so, why don't I see them? Is recovery evidence based? How is recovery-oriented care different from simply implementing evidence-based practices? How is recovery different from psychiatric or psychosocial rehabilitation? How does recovery-oriented practice relate to the medical model or clinical care? Is the recovery movement anti-professional? How do you see mental health recovery interfacing with the substance abuse recovery movement? How is recovery relevant for inpatient units and/or psychiatric emergency departments? How is recovery relevant for a justice-involved client population? Is recovery different for people from different cultural backgrounds? How is recovery relevant for children and youth? What does "resilience" mean? What does it mean for practices to be resiliency oriented?* How can I instill hope in those I work with? What if people don't want care, or don't have personal goals? What role do medications play in recovery? How can consumers self-direct their treatment and their lives if they have a mental illness? Do you really believe that people with serious mental illnesses should be trusted to make their own decisions? Why is work an important component of recovery? Many people living with psychiatric illness are often concerned about losing their benefits if they return to work. How can you address these concerns? What role does trauma play in recovery? What role does spirituality play in recovery? What roles do the body and physical well-being play in recovery? What is peer support? Who provides peer support? How/where can you find funding for peer support services? What are the various roles that people in recovery can play as service providers? Should peers work as peer specialists in the same clinic/program where they receive their own mental health care? How can program directors take a leadership role in motivating their staff to become recovery oriented and develop true partnerships with clients? How does the relationship between the practitioner and the service user change in recovery-oriented practice? How can a practitioner adopt recovery-oriented practices within the context of a traditional or conventional mental health program or setting? What kind of culture change is required to support recovery-oriented practices? How are recovery-oriented services funded? Are they supported by Medicaid and/or Medicare?
Thirty of the Most Frequently Asked Questions about Recovery and Recovery-Oriented Practice(along with some beginning answers)
Do people really recover? And if so, why don’t I see them?
Is recovery evidence based?
How is recovery-oriented care different from simply implementing evidence-based practices?
How is recovery different from psychiatric or psychosocial rehabilitation?
How does recovery-oriented practice relate to the medical model or clinical care?
Is the recovery movement anti-professional?
How do you see mental health recovery interfacing with the substance abuse recovery movement?
How is recovery relevant for inpatient units and/or psychiatric emergency departments?
How is recovery relevant for a justice-involved client population?
Is recovery different for people from different cultural backgrounds?
How is recovery relevant for children and youth? What does “resilience” mean? What does it mean for practices to be resiliency oriented?*
How can I instill hope in those I work with? What if people don’t want care, or don’t have personal goals?
What role do medications play in recovery?
How can consumers self-direct their treatment and their lives if they have a mental illness?
Do you really believe that people with serious mental illnesses should be trusted to make their own decisions?
Why is work an important component of recovery?
Many people living with psychiatric illness are often concerned about losing their benefits if they return to work. How can you address these concerns?
What role does trauma play in recovery?
What role does spirituality play in recovery?
What roles do the body and physical well-being play in recovery?
What is peer support?
Who provides peer support?
How/where can you find funding for peer support services?
What are the various roles that people in recovery can play as service providers?
Should peers work as peer specialists in the same clinic/program where they receive their own mental health care?
How can program directors take a leadership role in motivating their staff to become recovery oriented and develop true partnerships with clients?
How does the relationship between the practitioner and the service user change in recovery-oriented practice?
How can a practitioner adopt recovery-oriented practices within the context of a traditional or conventional mental health program or setting?
What kind of culture change is required to support recovery-oriented practices?
How are recovery-oriented services funded? Are they supported by Medicaid and/or Medicare?

certainly most of you will consider this post overkill. and i am sure i will review and rescind some of the youtube segments. but i cannot overemphasize the magnitude with which william white’s ideas and insights have (and still are) revolutionizing how many view and approach treatment and recovery.

i have posted previously about addiction being the disease of our time. perhaps because i work in the field, my beliefs have moved in this direction, but it does ring  truth for me. a huge percentage of our culture is now in prison because of the compulsion of the brain for dopamine. the stigma of “feel good” has infiltrated so many board rooms and backroom deals.   as a society we prefer to make people with difficult issues disappear rather than help them solve them. and i contend that our society is hesitant to look at our own relationship with dopamine so we avoid insisting that anyone else examine theirs.

this all will change. it has too. i hope it is soon. my intention is to continue to learn about recovery and discuss and share my findings. after all- that’s how i found a solution for myself. i didn’t see it for a long time. but now i do.