Thursday, July 3rd, 2015 Focus: Contact with the natural environment is powerfully restorative to my well-being.


Research gives strong support to something we know from our own experience: contact with the natural environment can be powerfully restorative to our well-being. Prisoners who can look out of their cells get sick less often, and patients in hospitals recover more quickly when their view is of greenery rather than concrete.

In developing a context that supports us in working for our world, we need to include contact with nature. There is something more fundamental here than the feel-good factor of pleasant scenery. Particularly for those living in cities, it is easy to lose touch with the biological reality that we arise out of nature and are part of it.

While indigenous peoples recognize that our very survival depends on the healthy functioning of the natural world, it is only recently that we’ve gained a scientific understanding of how true this really is. When we carry within us a deep appreciation of how our life is sustained by other living beings, we strengthen our desire to give back.

Excerpted from the article:

Plugging in to the Roots of Nature: Connectedness with All Life
Written by Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone.

Read more of this article…

RECOMMENDED BOOK OF THE DAY

Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone.
Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy
by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book.

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 Focus: I practice mindfulness anytime and anywhere.

Awesome
Many people find that sitting meditation does not suit their active lifestyles. However, mindfulness can be practiced anytime and anywhere.

It’s an especially interesting way to make valuable time out of standing in a line or waiting for an appointment. Any activity can become the focus of mindfulness practice.

Practicing mindfulness allows you to return to yourself so that your innate power emerges for taking on the artful orchestration of your life in all its complexity. Mindfulness allows you to stay present to the mythic journey that encompasses your daily life.

Excerpted from the article:

Mindfulness in Everyday Life, One Step At A Time
Written by Patricia Broersma.

Read more of this article…

RECOMMENDED BOOK OF THE DAY

Riding Into Your Mythic Life
Riding into Your Mythic Life: Transformational Adventures with the Horse
by Patricia Broersma.

For More Info or to Order this Book.

BLOG & NEW POSTINGS June 25, 2015 – Bill White – A NEW RECOVERY COVENANT


Leonard Campanello, former narcotics officer and now Chief of Police in Gloucester, Massachusetts, has recently proposed three provocative ideas: 1) stop arresting people solely for their status as addicts, 2) establish the police department as a safe haven where people with substance-related problems can get linked to effective treatment and recovery support, and 3) use assets seized from drug dealers to expand local addiction treatment and recovery support resources.
Drug control policy in the United States is in desperate need of fresh ideas and approaches after decades of failed efforts as a country to incarcerate our way out of a public health problem. Chief Campanello is to be commended for his courage in breaking with tradition and setting forth these new proposals.
Chief Campanello’s first proposal suggests that we hold citizens accountable for what they do (e.g., criminal conduct), but not punish them for who they are or for health conditions not of their choosing. This position is reminiscent of earlier Supreme Court decisions holding that the status of drug and alcohol addiction cannot in itself be considered a criminal act (e.g., Robinson v. California, 1962; Powell v. Texas, 1968).
Chief Campanello’s second proposal offers a bold new contract between local communities and their addicted citizens. In essence, this new contract says:
The Recovery Contract Image
If you commit yourself to long-term recovery–by any means necessary under any circumstances, we as a community will support you through that recovery journey. If you meet us halfway, we will assure you high quality addiction treatment and recovery support services, welcome you back into the mainstream life of our community, and forge the physical, psychological and social space within our community in which you can live as a person/family in long-term recovery.

Such an offer recognizes that people with alcohol and other drug problems are not some alien seed, but our own wounded family members, friends and neighbors. Such an offer recognizes that people can be held accountable for their decisions and actions and still offered the community’s helping hand. Such an offer recognizes that there is no more effective strategy for promoting public health and safety than recognizing and resolving alcohol and other drug problems at the earliest stages of their development. Communities wounded by alcohol and other drug problems can begin to heal themselves and their constituents by offering and fulfilling this recovery contract with their citizens.
Chief Campanello’s third proposal reflects a new slant on the concept of restorative justice which in principle suggests that those who inflict harm on the community have a responsibility to make amends to wounded parties. This proposal suggests a different kind of contract between a community and its members:
If you inflict harm on our community by your actions or inactions, we as a community will hold you accountable for that harm and its remediation costs.
Community connotes a place of safety and sanctuary. In its protective functions, the community pledges itself to challenge any person or enterprise (licit or illicit) that threatens the safety and health of its citizens. Where harm is inflicted by any person or institution, the community has the right and responsibility to seek restitution for such harm. In doing so, it declares that every individual and corporate entity is responsible for injuries incurred as a result of personal or institutional decisions and actions.
Chief Campanello’s proposals reflect a new slant on how we as communities can define and distinguish personal/corporate culpability and expectations for moral, legal, and financial responsibility. I hope his proposals will spark renewed discussion about drug policy alternatives at the local level.

Post Date June 25, 2015 by Bill White
Categories Articles
Tags community recovery | drug policy | Recovery contract | recovery space
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Sunday, June 21st, 2015 Focus: I choose to turn down the volume and velocity of my thinking, to rid myself of the grips of a busy mind.

Violin
Think about your home, for a moment. Most of us would probably agree that there’s an ideal amount of stuff — furniture, knicknacks, decorations, art, towels, clothes, pots and pans — when everything fits nicely. At some point, however, when you cross a certain line, the result is clutter. There’s a point of diminishing return.

This is a great metaphor for our minds as well. There is a huge tendency, in many of us, to have way too much going on inside our minds, at the same time. It’s too crowded in there. Our thinking is relentless. Hundreds of thoughts and decisions about various things are all vying for our attention. I think of a busy mind as the early stage of nervousness, irritation, and stress. It’s the breeding ground for overreactions and poor decisions.

When looked at in this way, it’s seen as being undesirable, which makes it easier to be motivated to turn down the volume and velocity of our thinking, to rid yourself of the grips of a busy mind. The key to calming down and quieting a busy mind is to trust that, if you do, everything will be okay.

Excerpted from the article:

Beware the Burden of a Busy Mind
Written by Richard Carlson.

Read more of this article…

RECOMMENDED BOOK OF THE DAY

What About the Big Stuff? by Richard Carlson, Ph.D.

What About the Big Stuff?: Finding Strength and Moving Forward When the Stakes Are High
by Richard Carlson, Ph.D.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book.

Thursday, June 18th, 2015 Focus: I acknowledge that I can’t control the actions of others.


I know that it’s always easier to complain and blame someone else (haven’t we all done it?) than to admit that we are the ones who need to change. If one of your co-workers aggravates you “to no end”, of course one solution is to quit your job, but then, the next job may have someone who aggravates you even more. The solution probably lies in looking at what really aggravates you and asking yourself two things: Is it that important? and Why does it aggravate me so much?

Answering these two questions truthfully will greatly alleviate the pressure. The idea is to search for things you can do… whether it is in changing your attitude, your expectations, your actions, your thoughts, your job, your whatever… This is not about blame and condemnation — either of yourself or the other persons involved.

If you’ve decided that someone’s behavior bothers you, then it will. So why not decide that you can handle it? And then see what can be done? We can’t control the actions of others. However, since our own actions and thoughts are in our own jurisdiction, that’s where we can make a difference.

Excerpted from the article:

Complaining Properly!!! It’s The First Step of a Two-Step Process
Written by Marie T. Russell.

Read more of this article…

RECOMMENDED BOOK OF THE DAY

A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted
by Will Bowen.

For More Info or to Order This Book.

June 12, 2015 – Bill White “HELLO, MY NAME IS…” (PORTRAITS OF RECOVERY)


The Phoenix does not mourn what lies in its ashes; the serpent does not mourn its old skin. (Arthur Frank)
If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you. (Gnostic Gospel of Thomas)
Service to others, giving back, and carrying a message of hope have long been central themes within recovery mutual aid fellowships. The new recovery advocacy movement is extending these acts of gratitude and service to the larger community. As a result, people in recovery, family members affected by addiction, and family members blessed by the fruits of recovery are finding ways to use their personal talents and resources to carry the recovery message, not just within a small recovery circle, but to all people. Such acts of service are changing public conceptions of addiction and recovery, carrying hope and invitation to those in need of recovery, and sharing lessons drawn from the recovery experience to meet the broader challenges all people face in accepting and rising above their limitations and living an authentic and meaningful life.
Unpaid acts of service by people in recovery are being expressed in innumerable forms. These include acts of volunteerism, philanthropic gifts, and sharing assets more valuable than gold—their stories and their voices. But the giving does not end there. People in recovery are finding creative ways to give back through their own special areas of expertise and interest. Writers like myself are writing. Filmmakers are creating recovery-themed films. Athletes are carrying the recovery message through the arena of sport. Managers and accountants are volunteering to help newly founded recovery community organizations. Carpenters, plumbers, and painters are gifting their crafts to open new recovery community centers and recovery cafes. And artists are telling the recovery story through multiple media. In the coming months, this blog and the recovery advocacy interviews on this site will highlight some of these experiments in giving back.
Douglas Lail recently asked himself two provocative questions: If I am a person in recovery, what precisely has been recovered? How could I best convey the fulfilled promises of recovery to others? To the first question, Douglas concluded upon reflection that he had recovered “a deep and loving relationship with my partner and our families, a network of caring friends, the gift of gratitude, and the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming a fulltime artist.” To the second question, he developed the idea of using his talents as a portrait artist to reveal to the world what other people in recovery had recovered. That was the beginning of the Hello, my name is… project.
The mission of the Hello my name is… project is to “paint the light that I see in the mirror as well as the light I see in people in recovery around me. We emerge out of the shadows eager to share this new found hope with others like us. Hello my name is… offers a look at the faces of people who face their greatest fears and reunite with the world.” The portraits Lail creates are made using white charcoal on black paper—conveying the light coming out of darkness theme. The project joins others operating on the premise that the revelation of personal stories can change ourselves and the world.
In addition to the time and talent Douglas is donating, the Hello my name is… project is made possible by people in recovery who volunteer to sit to have their portrait done and who then add a handwritten note expressing what they have gained through the recovery experience. The completed portraits and messages are posted on the internet at the Hello my name is… website and other public forums and are displayed in exhibits at recovery celebration events. Some of first portraits completed can be viewed by clicking here. If you would like to support the Hello my name is… project (e.g., funds to purchase of art materials, exhibit space, and travel expenses), click here.
Douglas Lail is contributing his talents as a portrait artist to a higher calling. What talents and resources do you possess that could be devoted to carrying the message of recovery? Is it time to step out of the shadows?

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015 Focus: The only person I can change or accept is myself


One of the greatest teachers of all time Pythagoras, demanded that his pupils examine themselves each night and reflect on their progress. Can you imagine how truly different our lives would be if we took time every night to examine ourselves?

By asking reflective questions of ourselves, it will deepen awareness of self and others. Questions such as: Did I listen to my children? Was I loving to my mate? Did I give my all at work? Have I been over critical of another or myself? Did I pay attention to what I was thinking then or was I on automatic pilot? Was I honest with myself and others? Did I leave a situation angry? These questions will help you become more self-responsible.

Unfortunately, many of us spend time every night examining lives — but rarely our own. Too often we do not take the time or energy in relationships to examine what part we played in creating situations and circumstances. Instead, we spend an immense amount of time figuring out the other people involved. It is a waste of time figuring out others because the only person you can change or accept is yourself.

Excerpted from the article:

Know Thyself… Because Wherever You Go, There You Are!
Written by Lana Allen.

Read more of this article…

RECOMMENDED BOOK OF THE DAY

Instant Healing: Gain Inner Strength, Empower Yourself, and Create Your Destiny by Susan Shumsky.
Instant Healing: Gain Inner Strength, Empower Yourself, and Create Your Destiny
by Susan Shumsky.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book.