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.
I am so excited to be working on the 1st Recovery Coach Training utilizing the CCAR (Connecticut Community of Addiction Recovery) curriculum which I pursued last year.
the last week has flashed by me with a potpourri of memories like a 3 day music festival. i inherited the phalanges of an organization that has operated under an agreement field that is miles away from the world in which i inhabit.
i was under the impression that i could work with all the players on the team, but a larger truth soon reared its head and insisted that there would need to be a proverbial lightening of the load before anybody could start to travel up the long road ahead.
i think the least favorite part of any job i have ever inhabited has been the release of any person from service or services. i am beginning to realize that a small (or otherwise) business is very much like a family. if a family member’s behaviors are causing undue discord and that member refuses to change those behaviors then it is a call for tough love.
tough love often comes wrapped in words like “no”, “no more”, “good luck with your next chapter”.
the new gig has offices and so i am touching base with each entity and performing any edits deemed . two locations have seemed especially toxic. the editing process is in full swing and the removal of polyps, cysts, and warts is nearly complete.
my naivete reveals itself again. i forget that there is real racism and homophobia in our midst and how poisonous it is to health and healthcare. and how it hurts the people around me and ultimately me, too.
Oh, I can’t take another heartache
Though you say you’re my friend, I’m at my wit’s end
You say your love is bona fide
But that don’t coincide with the things that you do
And when I ask you to be nice, you say
You gotta be
Cruel to be kind in the right measure
Cruel to be kind it’s a very good sign
Cruel to be kind means that I love you
Baby, you gotta be cruel to be kind
Well, I do my best to understand, dear
But you still mystify and I want to know why
I pick myself up off the ground
To have you knock me back down again and again
And when I ask you to explain you say
i love the tv series “elementary”. the writing seems sharp and the performances entertain me consistently. but what i love the most is that sherlock holmes is an addict in recovery. his life is not easy. his emotional landscape is complicated and often dark and self-deprecating. it takes a less problems solved perspective and a more progress not perfection approach. i love this. last night’s episode did not disappoint. sherlock had to fight for what he felt he needed among his recovering peers in order to stay connected. and i felt empowered and grateful for watching.
the new road ahead in 2015 is at the crest and coming into view. i have resigned myself to the notion that there will be surprises. i have discerned a couple of separate agendas i am operating with these days. not sure how i feel about them, but there they sit like an underneath pimple on a tween’s forehead seemingly visible for the world to see.
i have developed interest in the aspects of treatment and wellness that involve activating a person’s substance abuse issues and connecting them with our thoughts and feelings or mental health. it seems that the treatment community has been operating in a couple of vacuums i.e. the substance treatment discipline has been mostly separated from the mental health landscape even though statistics have shown for some time now that an overwhelming portion of individuals have deficits in both camps.
the system for a very long time has demanded that a person who has both need travel to two locations, often needing to cease one behavior before offered a thoughtful way to look at the other issue. needless to say, the success rate in both these fields has been underwhelming. but as long as the professionals and the insurance companies were able to collect their stipends things could continue. providers have no doubt been able to appease their career needs of being successful by highlighting the individual successe they did come across while many of them work on their personal issues which drew them to the field in the first place. it seems it has been a system that has operated with the comfort of the providers in the front seat and the recipients of treatment riding shotgun.
my personal experience involved mental health counseling first. i had ignored and tattered my own psyche for so long that i needed to develop a relationship with wellness before i was able to look at developing healthier coping skills. this process took 30 some years to transpire as i started using when the abuse began in my tweens and never gave a thought that i might not be sick and the actions i was involved with were the tainted piece and were not my doing. i felt to blame for the differences in me from those around me. i had no concept that the variation might actually be the norm from a larger perspective.
when i did enter substance treatment, it was full of people drawn to it by force or court order and that mandated influence affected the intention of almost every group process in which i participated. yes, perhaps i got a firsthand demonstration of my own denial, but initially i had fallen so low that i wasn’t ready to look outwardly in a grounded way at all. i needed to lick some wounds and rediscover some internal strenght before i could start the long and arduous task of putting humpty dumpty back together again.
i also really needed to take my mental health seriously which is something i had never been able to do. i always describe being bi-polar as growing up on a houseboat or a ship spending your life at sea. then you come to port and disembark to dry land and are expected to find life without sometimes subtle sometimes turbulent pitching to and fro of the waves below your vessel to be natural and right. this did not feel natural. i often missed the primal unsettledness. what was challenging was staying put and settling down. that has been the work for me. this remains some of the work for me, too.
i have been working in the treatment field because that seemed a natural transition from all the personal cleaning out i have engaged in having been a chronic emotional horder for most of my life. “what you teach you learn” has become my modus operandi. whether this is selfish or community minded remains to be determined. i only know that as i have travelled this journey, the doorways to creating, developing, and implementing ideas and processes involving addiction and abuse, the culturally diverse, and self esteem and mental health issues have presented themselves repeatedly and i have stepped through them just as fearlessly as alice slipped behind the looking-glass.
i now am implementing a program which i did not create but believe in wholly. affordable and frontline mental health treatment accessible and integrated in a probation driven substance treatment program. dui treatment located in community clinic settings which offer and normalize working on life issues at the same time you try to slow down drinking and look at your life. hopefully this approach will become a new generation of approaches to the scandalously overgrown broken life skills that our generation has embraced. never once should it be acceptable for a person to be ridiculed for trying to heal themselves. nor should it be rewarded to headline another persons’ struggles for personal amusement. the tabloids (our culture’s creation) uses their influence to be the modern version of the stockade visibly shaming individuals like lindsay and charlie as pariahs when compassion, understanding, and an expectation of success is what is needed most. who in the world would ever want to admit they have a problem (without the grace of bottoming out) if they see the world laughing at their missteps?
wow-what a very long winded way to get to integrated (really integrated) mental health and substance abuse services!! sorry but it is my blog.
secondly is a visible and supportive recovery community. with all the press going to the addicts who are failing, it may also really be an invisible urban legend that people do not recover from addiction. there is very visible proof. with 23.5 million people in america living in recovery from drug, alcohol, and mental health issues, and the looming problems related to those issues, you’d think that there would be a black friday sort of rush to get as much of this “recovery” in our schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods as we can. but that doesn’t seem to be the case. the last item on our agenda (if it’s there at all) is to encourage each of us to look at our coping skills, our life skills, and our substance use and drinking from an objective vantage point. instead it remains whispered about and undisclosed. judged and joked about. and it remains a way for us to be manipulated.
i have learned that i deserve to be happy and work towards it. i don’t need to be like anyone else in order to be okay. it is okay to stumble. it is not my fault i was victimized. being naive does not need to define me. it is not a requirement to become the aberrant that others see me as because they are too afraid to get close. i don’t need to punish myself because my inside does not match someone else’s image.
sober people continue to trudge in these muddy waters. people who continue to use (in a healthy way or not) do not care to or perhaps even need to look at their own use. when someone does not imbibe in a social situation, there is an underlying “alien” vibe that is transmitted and segregation and judgement often follow. it makes it so much more difficult when someone trying to get or stay sober is bullied into using so that the people who imbibe can feel more at ease.
healthy recovery community means creating an environment where it is the “norm” to not change the way i feel by ingesting or imbibing something. instead i might pray, or exercise, or read, or do something for someone else to get out of my own head.
integrated mental health and substance treatment services and a visible healthy recovery community. these are the two agendas in my sites. i honestly don’t know if i am on the right path or if my input and participation is gonna get us any closer. but i’m gonna continue to try.
happy holidays to you all. and may your dreams move closer to reality in 2015.
here’s a little playlist of some music that soothes the beast in me. mebbe it’ll have some effect on you as well.
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.