emotional sobriety

Autumn Brings Inspiration

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Portrait of John Talbot, later 1st Earl Talbot; Pompeo Batoni, Italian (Lucchese), 1708 - 1787; Italy, Europe; 1773; Oil on canvas; Unframed: 274.3 x 182.2 cm (108 x 71 3/4 in.), Framed: 301 x 209.9 x 10.8 cm (118 1/2 x 82 5/8 x 4 1/4 in.); 78.PA.211
Portrait of John Talbot, later 1st Earl Talbot; Pompeo Batoni, Italian (Lucchese), 1708 – 1787; Italy, Europe; 1773; Oil on canvas; Unframed: 274.3 x 182.2 cm (108 x 71 3/4 in.), Framed: 301 x 209.9 x 10.8 cm (118 1/2 x 82 5/8 x 4 1/4 in.); 78.PA.211


Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire!
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon’s sphere;
And I serve the Fairy Queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green;
The cowslips tall her pensioners be;
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours;
In those freckles live their savours;
I must go seek some dewdrops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear.
William Shakespeare

autumn has sailed in this year like a luxury yacht. I have been afloat all season and barely knew we were moving. Pumpkins, harvest, fall, golden, changing, pumpkins, squash, sweaters, corduroy. Along with these returning symbols of my life, I am reminded also by my nature that the 3rd quarter shift every year signals internal reminders of this cycle of life. I make changes at this time of year. I’d like to frame it as “I grow every year”

there is a part of me that is so driven by impulse I can rarely notice when I genuflect via autopilot. I leap and then I reflect. It seems others ponder before they make a move. I can’t imagine what that’s like. To make it stickier, I judge my nature as immature and spend a good deal of time feeling badly about how I am. I forget that I do not endure hypocracy and toxicity for very long as my more mature counterparts do.

This song played on my apple shuffle the other day and I swooned. Paolo remains a source of inspiration for me.


Autumn leaves under frozen souls,
Hungry hands turning soft and old,
My hero cried as we stood out there in the cold,
Like these autumn leaves I don’t have nothing to hold.

Handsome smile, wearing handsome shoes,
Too young to say, though I swear he knew,
And I hear him singing while he sits there in his chair,
While these autumn leaves float around everywhere.

And I look at you, and I see me,
Making noise so restlessly,
But now it’s quiet and I can hear you saying,
‘My little fish don’t cry, my little fish don’t cry.’

Autumn leaves have faded now,
That smile I lost, well I’ve found somehow,
Because you still live on in my father’s eyes,
These autumn leaves, all these autumn leaves, all these autumn leaves are yours tonight.

Voila .. Are You There Mr Gaga?

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November will bring many changes. I am excited. It seems there has been a theme to my positions in the addiction treatment field. Each position has been given to capitalize on my reputation, then very little training provided, followed by even less supervision, and then there has been ongoing dual roles of fee collector, disciplinarian, and counselor. what the fuck?

i am embarking on another adventure soon. Will this be the door that opens upon a future I wish to call home?

Part 2 of this post: I want to see “mr Gaga”-the documentary about Ohad Naharin at the preview of The Denver Film Festival and was blown away on so many levels. Especially gobsmacked by the sheer extra dimensional perspective that Naharin brought to dance. There is a quote about small minded people watching his work and trying to compare it to work they have already seen. But to experience his work is not about what we already know. It’s more about foraging into the unknown. Maybe it’s all about the unknown. Naharin’s choreography is subtly transforming. It is human and animal. It is kind and it is it’s own critique.ita a paradox. It is the future. It is much of what we need.

The connection here between paragraph 1 and part 2 is that substance treatment in America is extremely flawed. Some clinics and programs are as effective as the customer service departments at banks and utility companies that are geared to bait and switch, collect fees, and redirect and deflect before they provide any service. And success is based on hours completed (paid for of course) and not distance travelled.

There is such a need for new vision in treatment. And here’s hoping I am gonna have an encounter when I go through the next doorway. I am thirsty for inspiration. As are 23 million Americans dealing with addiction every day.  Wish our community luck.



Cracked Veneer

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Each day, we’re given many opportunities to open up or shut down. The most precious opportunity presents itself when we come to the place where we think we can’t handle whatever is happening. It’s too much. It’s gone too far. We feel bad about ourselves. There’s no way we can manipulate the situation to make ourselves come out looking good. No matter how hard we try, it just won’t work. Basically, life has just nailed us.
It’s as if you just looked at yourself in the mirror, and you saw a gorilla. The mirror’s there; it’s showing “you”, and what you see looks bad. You try to angle the mirror so you will look a little better, but no matter what you do, you still look like a gorilla. That’s being nailed by life, the place where you have no choice except to embrace what’s happening or push it away.
Most of us do not take these situations as teachings. We automatically hate them. We run like crazy. We use all kinds of ways to escape — all addictions stem from this moment when we meet our edge and we just can’t stand it. We feel we have to soften it, pad it with something, and we become addicted to whatever it is that seems to ease the pain. In fact, the rampant materialism that we see in the world stems from this moment. There are so many ways that have been dreamt up to entertain us away from the moment, soften its hard edge, deaden it, so we don’t have to feel the full impact of the pain that arises when we cannot manipulate the situation to make us come out looking fine….pema chodron

i have been wrestling with guerrillas in the mirror, morals and ethical questions for a couple of months. There is a trail of crumbs that keep leading me down a path to a destination not known. As is often the case, I follow my instincts and encounter both comfort and the opposite. I then need to discern the temporary from the true. Once the veneer cracks. Perhaps that image, with the cracked facade, is the actual picture.

Everybody loves the things you do
From the way you talk
To the way you move
Everybody here is watching you
‘Cause you feel like home
You’re like a dream come true
But if by chance you’re here alone
Can I have a moment
Before I go?
‘Cause I’ve been by myself all night long
Hoping you’re someone I used to know
You look like a movie
You sound like a song
My God, this reminds me
Of when we were young
Let me photograph you in this light
In case it is the last time
That we might be exactly like we were
Before we realized
We were sad of getting old
It made us restless
It was just like a movie
It was just like a song
I was so scared to face my fears
Nobody told me that you’d be here
And I swore you moved overseas
That’s what you said, when you left me


sunday kind of love………. matt butler

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my friend Allison Harden turned me on to Matt Butler via a song used in the revolutionary film “generation found”

he kindly let us use his song “just one”  during our “surrounded by recovery” event. Since that time I have come to respect his music and lyrics, as well as his sense of propriety.

i have included selections from Matt’s new album “Relentless”- please consider buying a copy and supporting his efforts and his philanthropy.






A dozen really does feel good

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“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

It is really hard to believe that I have been fortunate enough to have lived 12 years substance free. It definitely the most sober time I’ve ever had. My emotional sobriety has grown the most in the last 5 or so years and I have become a much better citizen, friend, and neighbor.

this is due especially because I had a mentor who reassured me often that  god does not create junk and therefore I had worth. With that support, my ability to see beyond my own limitations to find hope and courage to just be ok. Today I’m thrilled with ok. It requires much less stress.

My mentor Paul passed away a few years back. Still today I miss him and can feel the support from the infrastructure he helped me build. My post today is strictly gratitude for all my mentors and teachers. Without you I am nothing. Thank you universe for the invitation to taste so much in this life. I will do my best to

Sticky Sweet

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life has shifted gears so quickly and silently I hardly noticed. I helped produce a community event with the intention of creating some collaboration within the recovery community. I became ensconced in the process of planning. Intoxicated really. And it was a hella ride. Now I find myself dripping with the sweet sticky leftover of some hard work and inspiration.

The action of “Surrounded” changed my mental state. I didn’t know I wasn’t breathing. Not until I was breathing again.

Something old, something new, something borrowed……

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Speaking for those who no longer have a voice...
Speaking for those who no longer have a voice..


we have been diligently planning an event called Surrounded by Recovery 2016 which takes place Saturday September 17 a the Colorado State Capitol. It has evolved into a celebration of recovery and a call to action for the recovery community, the treatment providers, the legal system, our family and friends, and ourselves that the out of orbit escalation of overdose deaths and addiction related deaths need to be addressed. It can’t wait. No one will come along and do it for us.

I came across a notice for an event in Seattle honoring international overdose awareness day which asks for old shoes to be used to represent the 300 lives lost to overdose in Washington state the previous year. My heart opened as I read the ad. I knew this would be a powerful image to place upon the steps of our Capitol and impact our attendees to enough hopefully to get more involved.

The CARA bill falls short in many areas due to the fear, bias and stigma many have about treating addiction. If we are serious about addressing the opioid epidemic, we will eliminate barriers to effective recovery treatment and treat the addicted brain the same way we treat any other organ in the body – with medication that has been scientifically proven to work. We will provide access to recovery support including groups, mentors, recovery coaching, and long term recovery.

Surrounded by Recovery 2016
September 17 Colorado State Capitol



thanks to Tony Radovich yet again for flooding me with inspiration and awe. Thanks also to all the Coloradans who have agreed to join the Surrounded efforts. There may never have been a greater need to make a change in the way we do business than right now.

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sunday kind of love…….. todd rundgren

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i  have been posting music for as long as I’ve been blogging. 2006 was the year of my first post. I was really just investigating the medium. i was 2 years into my recovery and needed something more. In the process I met a circle of like minded individuals across the continent and further who enhanced my support network and helped alleviate greatly the anxiety that my early recovery heralded.

Along with the beautiful addition of online support, the evolution of my 10 year journey with blogging has cemented my lifelong love and reliance upon music. This continues to this day. Today’s offering….. Todd Rundgren. His name music will speak for itself.-




an artist … formerly known as…

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the artist

Q. Are you saying that everyone who ends up addicted was traumatized or abused in childhood?
A. No, I’m not;  I am saying that all addictions come from emotional loss, and exist to soothe the pain resulting from that loss.  Trauma and abuse, as we define them, are certainly surefire sources of loss but they’re far from the only ones.  The human infant and toddler is a highly vulnerable creature, and emotional stresses of all kinds in the rearing environment can create long-lasting wounds in the psyche that a person will later try to soothe or numb with addictive behavior.  In addition to things that do happen that shouldn’t happen, like abuse, there are things that (developmentally speaking) ought to happen that don’t.  For instance, any sustained sense of emotional disconnection with the parenting figure – which can often happen when the parent is excessively stressed or preoccupied over a period of time – has the capacity to have this sort of impact, especially if the child is constitutionally very sensitive.  In a stressed society like ours, with fewer and fewer supportive resources for parents, this is more and more common.

So many of us, whether or not we were acutely traumatized or faced extreme adversity as kids, have these sorts of lingering challenges to contend with.  We can and should be grateful things weren’t worse, but we shouldn’t discount or minimize the pain we carry from childhood even if it didn’t result from severe neglect or abuse….. Dr. Gabor Mate

it has been an intense and adventurous week. more accurately, it’s been a ride. it feels as if life has sped up and changes are flying by like the reading of possible side effects of a new drug during a pharmaceutical commercial.

thank you universe for offering me a sped up version of change happening in my life. it’s dreamlike.

also very dreamlike were the last few days and the passing of prince. it is fairly clear to me that he was yet another casualty in the plague that is prescription drugs. but even that does not overshadow the abundance of joy and inspiration that he gifted to us here on earth after his departure.

i never felt connected to prince after about 1983- i loved “little red corvette” “let’s go crazy”, “1999” and “controversy”. but i enjoyed his persona and his gender-fluidity..

undisclosed desires

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On Gratitude:
Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.

it has been a hella couple of months. i had no idea that my nature was so easy to track and my muse so omnipresent. life has felt so alive with inspiration and opportunity since i made a change in my full time gig. i knew i was unhappy, but i didn’t realize how stifled i had been feeling. each day since then seems to have brought new discovery, new beings, new collaborations, and a promise of some better days.

the next coach training is almost here. i think there might be enough requests to do another. we are presenting for a training contract next week as well. we will be starting a recover group in aurora on thursday nights and may look at another night in lakewood-both located conveniently in treatment oriented buildings that lend themselves to collaboration.

i am also looking toward pride right now. my friend mark has agreed to try to resurrect “surrounded by recovery” as a community building, consciousness raising, team building event this time during pride. the idea is to gather enough folks to hold hands and encircle the capital to raise awareness of the growing epidemic of deaths by overdose, the shortage of treatment availability, and that recovery is an option that has positive outcomes and often gets overlooked. here’s a glimpse of what use to happen and what we hope will happen again.


it has seemed almost like my ship was sinking and i have been rescued by a friendly fishing crew. i am reacquainting with fun at the workplace, and with not feeling constant financial pressure. it remains to be seen if i have learned what i need.

there are 2 more curricula to add to our course selections for this year: ccar introduced me to another training organization (mt) who have opened up my mind and eyes to possibilities.

1)Self-Care for Recovery Coaches & CRPA in a two day, retreat style format. Specifically for those who utilize peer support principles this workshop offers a parallel process of introspection and professional development. Participants are challenged to evolve their own self-care plan while developing the sensitivities to a recoveree’s unique pathway dynamics. Participants emerge from this two day workshop with a keen understanding of the role authenticity contributes to their role of recovery coaches as well as their personal well-being.

2)Recovery Coaching for All – Families, Friends & Colleagues,based on the original RCA, acknowledges and explores the experience of “everyone else” who either lives or works with an addict or recoveree. This new 30-hour curriculum (chronological or modular delivery available) is designed for people who wish to provide coaching support to all those affected by the addiction and/or recovery of another – first-tier family members, friends, partners, colleagues, employers, etc.  Coaches are trained to help people identify, manage and meet their own recovery wellness goals independent of the addict/recoveree.
Topics include:

  • Distinguish between addict/addiction
  • Define and increase fluency in the language of recovery
  • Delineate the roles and tools of a recovery coach
  • Articulate the problems, pitfalls and potential of recovery
  • Recognize and understand RECOVERY CAPITAL
  • Build capacity to perform in a recovery coach role
  • Discover and develop an authentic voice of recovery
  • Describe how relationships impact recovery coaching
  • Understand ethical context for recovery coaching
  • Practice newly acquired skills

Specific skill sets – professional boundaries, recovery wellness planning, self-disclosure, stages of change/recovery, active listening, motivational interviewing, cultural competence, systems of care, multiple pathways, advocacy

oh yeah- have i shared with you my hopes for Bhaven? ask me if you would like to know more.