A Counselor and Patient in Long Term Recovery

A Counselor and Patient in Long Term Recovery
Out of the shadows-By Jamie Lebish BS, CADC, RC
What would life and work be like for a long-term MAR (medication assisted recovery) patient, whom is also a drug and alcohol counselor? Stigma dictates that life would not ever be predictable. Logic dictates that there will always be barriers.
Imagine going through part of your life addicted to opiates, by no choice of your own, but everyone still thinks to themselves differently, perhaps with distaste. ‘You made bad choices’.
Imagine actually getting better, becoming clean and having to use a medication to stay clean. This is called MAT or medication assisted treatment. There are millions of us around the world at this very moment.
Now, imagine that you have made it through almost 10 years of recovery and trying your best to go from methadone (oh no! not methadone) to Suboxone. “Not only have some of you stopped reading, but others still have that uncomfortable pit in your throat”. I know. I am one of you and I am one of them. Long term Suboxone patients that are not able to taper lower than 2mgs. There is science behind this Long Term recovery phenomenon.
I am a person that lives in a divided world. One in which some would say, counselors don’t use Suboxone, and certainly not medical marijuana. But we do exist. Not only exist but thrive, and have a true passion for life and helping others get better. We as counselors in recovery know what it is like to be addicted to opiates, and better yet, we know that you can get better. We believe in you.
There is no road map for life, and there certainly is no road map to recovery from Drugs, alcohol or any other addition. You have to want to get better and you find a path that works for you. That is what I did to get better. Along the way many people in the rooms (AA/NA), and in treatment said that “if you want to recover you have to do X, Y and then Z. Well, real recovery does not happen quite like that. To get right with yourself is the hardest part, because you have already written yourself off. Becoming human and learning to like yourself again.
I have to tell you that recovery is not a secret, and most of us that get better, find a path that works for them. The first thing that I did want was; to not have to take opiates as a medication for pain ever again. I am terrified of opiates, as I was in a horrific auto accident and spent 1 month in hospital (the start of my addiction to opiates), and when I started to get older, pain from arthritis came in. I learned to use every alternative, but take opiates. That is where Medical Marijuana came in. For me, it is a vastly safer and effective as an anti-inflammatory and mild pain reliever, and a very effective anti-anxiety alternative. Certainly, you get that? No?
Ok, so I may have to get some more qualifiers in this text for you to believe me, but in the 19+ years since using any illegal narcotics or alcohol, I can safely say that I am a good human being, and I am a good counselor, and I get it. If you or anyone you know who is struggling with addiction, or the stigma associated with MAR or MMJ, please comment on this blog? Let’s get a conversation going for the rest of us that want to come out of the shadows. I am sick of hiding.
We are effective, high-quality people that deserve to live and work alongside others without hiding, and wondering why some of you think it’s ok to drink and drive, instead of relief through MMJ. That’s a whole other debate. If you want to change the status quo, we need to effect change. Leave your comment and let’s talk?



In 1976, Dr. Thomasina Borkman penned a now-classic paper depicting two ways of knowing: professional knowledge and experiential knowledge. In distinguishing the two, she noted the following: “In contrast to professional information, experiential knowledge is (1) pragmatic rather than theoretical or scientific, (2) oriented to here-and-now action rather than to the long-term development and systematic accumulation of knowledge, and (3) holistic and total rather than segmented.” The tension between these two ways of knowing is evident throughout the history of addiction treatment and recovery and within the relationship between academically trained addiction professionals and helpers credentialed by personal addiction recovery experience. While the categories of professional and experiential knowledge are not mutually exclusive, the tensions between the two have heightened in both primary medicine and addiction medicine.
Within primary health care, evidenced-based medicine (EBM) remains the primary methodology for examining the efficacy of medical treatments. EBM was originally developed to counter the rise in harmful or ineffective treatments being disseminated within the medical field. EBM is based on a rigorous analysis of the risk, costs, and side effects of any proposed treatments through randomized trials and meta-analytic studies. Although EBM has dramatically improved treatment outcomes, it fails to reflect the full spectrum of factors involved in the care and healing of patients. Each patient has a unique personality, culture, ethnicity, history, social standing, and religious background, which EBM cannot analyze quantitatively, but which are critical to providing optimal care and addressing the full spectrum of physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the patient. In light of EBM’s limitations, many physicians have adopted narrative-based medicine (NBM) within their clinical practice and research.
Unlike EBM, NBM focuses on examining the intertwining narratives found between physician-patient relationships and society. As Ian McWhinney explains, “It is not easy for us to attend to our patients’ experience. To do so requires us to step out of our usual way of attending to a person’s illness. We are trained to see illness as a set of signs and symptoms defining a disease state – as a case of diabetes or peptic ulcer or schizophrenia. The patient, on the other hand, sees illness in terms of its effects on his or her life. The physician therefore must learn to see illness as it is lived through, before it has been categorized and interpreted in scientific terms”. Rather than being viewed as a statistic or disease entity, each patient within the NBM is understood and encountered through the lens of their personal journey and narrative. In the framework of NBM, the physician aims to utilize the narratives of themselves and their patients to address the relational and psychological dimensions involved in both treatment and healing.
Similar trends are evident in addiction medicine and the larger arena of addiction treatment. There is, on the one hand, a growing emphasis on evidence-based practices and competency-based training of addiction treatment practitioners. On the other hand, there is a growing recovery advocacy movement that seeks to reconnect acute care models of addiction treatment to the larger and more enduring lived experience of personal and family recovery. The latter is being supported, in part, by the re-integration of people with lived experience of recovery as “wounded healers” within the clinical world of addiction treatment. The result is an effort to identify and replicate scientifically-validated methods of treatment that have measurable effects on recovery outcomes and parallel efforts to help patients weave such supports into larger narratives that have personal and cultural salience.
What is occurring in primary health care and addiction treatment is a blending of professional knowledge and experiential knowledge. Such a synthesis can counter the limitations of each way of knowing and holds great promise within the future of both primary medicine and addiction medicine. This shift will require shifting the service relationship from an expert model to a sustained recovery partnership.
About the Authors: Jonathan Kopel is an M.D./Ph.D. student at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC); Bill White is author of Slaying the Dragon: The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America.
Borkman, T. (1976). Experiential knowledge: A new concept for the analysis of self-help groups. Social Service Review, 50(3), 445-456.
McWhinney, I. (1997). A Textbook of Family Medicine. 2 ed. New York: Oxford Univeristy Press.

Post Date July 7, 2017 by Bill White


Of all the experiences I have had as a recovery advocate, none have been more heart-rending than receiving news that a person prominently involved in recovery advocacy efforts has died of a drug overdose. It reminds me once again that personal health and recovery are the foundation of all larger efforts to educate, advocate, and counsel within the alcohol and other drug problems arena.
This is not a new lesson. Consider, for example, the following stories. John Gough got sober in the Washingtonian revival of the early 1840s, but relapsed three times in the early period of his long career as America’s most charismatic temperance reformer. The lawyer Edward Uniac always stated that he was more vulnerable to the call of alcohol during extended periods of rest than when he was moving from town to town giving his temperance lectures. But Uniac suffered repeated drinking episodes and died in 1869 of an overdose of whiskey and opium while on a temperance lecture tour in Massachusetts. Luther Benson tried to use his own personal struggles with alcohol in the temperance lectures he gave across the country. His tales of continued binge drinking while on the lecture circuit were penned while he was residing in the Indiana Asylum for the Insane. His 1896 autobiography was entitled, Fifteen Years in Hell. Benson truly believed that throwing himself into temperance work could quell his own appetite for alcohol. In retrospect, he was forced to admit the following:
I learned too late that this was the very worst thing I could have done. I was all the time expending the very strength I so much needed for the restoration of my shattered system.
The stories of Gough, Uniac, and Benson are not unique. Similar tales were told by others who sought to cure themselves on the temperance lecture circuit. However, recovering people did achieve and maintain stable recovery working in the 19th century temperance movement and within treatment institutions of that era. An important lesson emerged out of the 19th century recovery movements: service activity, by itself, does not constitute a solid program for continued sobriety. This lesson was relearned throughout the 20th century, particularly within the modern rise of addiction counseling as a distinct profession.
A New Recovery Advocacy Movement is spreading across America and beyond, leaving in its wake new grassroots recovery advocacy organizations and a fresh generation of recovering people and their families seeking new ways to carry a message of hope to those still suffering. To prepare themselves, this new generation would do well to review the stories of old. The enduring message in all of these stories is clear: Working as an addictions educator, advocate, or counselor does not constitute a program of personal recovery. Those who forget that lesson court injury to themselves and to the very movements to which they claim allegiance. The key to effective recovery advocacy is first and foremost the primacy of personal recovery.

Post Date June 2, 2017 by Bill White

El Rancho De La Vida- The Ranch of Life-A treatise; to address the old and outdated recovery standards and practices.

This is a monograph that takes into consideration multiple attempts at battling addiction at the personal level, and recently works alongside many others in the same battle. We will be starting with the insanity of emotional precursors that exacerbate addiction. We will address the constant threat of user’s guilt, blame, self-harm, personal ambivalence, cognitive and psychiatric responses, or lack of. Then, moving up to the parties of responsibility, the corporate pirates of addiction recovery for-profit providers; the PCP for-profit level, the local for-profit government and for-profit public view, (Stigma), the state government for-profit level, and all responsible for-profit federal levels, and all scientific endeavors; as per Addiction Sciences, Addiction Medicine and Drug Addiction policy.

Never said, written or recognized is a real, understandable and implemental, Recovery Policy- like our attempts at addiction and drug polices like ‘The War on Drugs’. (names of all past and present addiction Treatment alternatives?); our Huge monolithic Government and society currently has in place. Have you ever seen an Addiction Recovery Policy?

Not until last year came The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2015. The current history of addiction recovery tells us that we have failed miserably at helping our population recover properly from alcohol, drugs, sex addiction, gambling problems and every other activity that provides human beings with a false sense of power, and a true feeling of a rush, or of an intense life force, coming at us too fast, too strong, and all of us wind up, ‘battling addiction’ instead of treating both our physical selves, and the underlying emotional issues that have clearly gone awry.
This self-actualization is a way to enforce a failing system because we as Helpers like to blame. We have not taken into consideration that these people (our sons and daughters, our mothers and fathers, our wives and husbands, brothers and sisters are all quite human and quite fallible when faced with a substance or activity that challenges the very core of our humanity and living as a healthy human being. The feeling of power and confidence, when all else has not, made us feel that way, and of course, the real sense of, ‘fuck it’, when we feel that we are beaten down and abused by ourselves. That is never talked about. We want to feel good. When life gets in the way, we imbibe.
Ok, so we as helpers have failed at assuming that ‘we’ can ‘fix you’. We know or are starting to know, that only you, the human inside your addiction, is capable of ‘fixing’ a problematic behavior that was once fun and now rules our lives. We have to want to get better. This ‘faith’ in oneself is at the very essence of stopping addiction permanently. I know, as I had lost faith in myself and faith that control of usage is lost, gone and we simply fold.
Then as our addictive obsession continues “taking everything from our lives, (obsessive, compulsive behaviors that always lead to vastly uncharted negative consequences, start to pile up. Loss of self, loss of money, loss of home, loss of work, loss of pride, loss of joy, loss of comfort and of course loss of loved ones, and the love and loss of ourselves.
The Recent news on Narcan
I have recently witnessed, first hand, people lying on the side of the road, dumped off by scared friends or family in front of my current place of business, at Milestone Detox. I have been by their side as police and first responders try to resuscitate a non-alive human being. They work feverishly and patiently to assess the heartbeat or lack of, then administer Narcan by way of “The Kit”. The Narcan kit once pushed into a lifeless body miraculously brings it back to life, and most of the time, that person is really angry that they were brought back (from the dead). These addicts have had enough, and really want to die as a precursor for living in the hell that they have been living in. This is another way for providing a needed resistance to death as an alternative of the ravages of addiction.
“Dope/Alcohol” (insert addictive behavior) “has control over me and now I am fucked”. This is the top of the rabbit hole, as now, a whole new addiction industry has been built around, “We can fix it, if you can pay X amount for our modality of treatment and recovery”. Institutions and Treatment centers started to pop up everywhere (When, names, types, outcomes). There are many large and small confusing, profit oriented systems of cessation of addiction, not recovery care from addiction.
Recently I called around to Suboxone providers in the Portland area, for the purpose of finding barriers to treatment, (at the provider level). Every Suboxone provider I called told me; ‘we could fit you in, in 2 weeks’ “2 weeks, really”? “What do I do now, I am calling now”? ‘All I need is for you to bring in $350.00 cash and we can get you started on Suboxone’.
The argument being that: you were able to pay for your habit, so why can you not come up with the money that will save you? I am sorry to say that this standard of practice among providers is real and dangerously profit-oriented from the get go. Why not $100.00 or why not ask for insurance? Why don’t these providers say to the suffering person, we will take you today, and we will work out the cost when you get here and become stable?
This is when profiting from addiction starts, at the beginning of recovery with hospitalization for detoxification. When I went through detox, at a for-profit hospital and a few private for-profit detoxes, I only knew that this was the first step, (proven medically that a Human Being must detoxify the body of poisons, before any real recovery can begin). Then the levels of recovery and aftercare start with the very lucrative business of owning and operating a Sober Home. Or, there is Intensive Outpatient Centers (IOP) for- profit, and Long term Treatment for-profit and other aftercare models, such as groups and therapy, all of which need funding(for-profit), except AA/NA and all self- help groups meetings (self-funded through passing the basket).

For-Profit Addiction treatment is killing us, (Put in Statistics). Why do we need to profit from the very thing that helps people get off deadly medications prescribed by physicians, or as it seems to go…we turn to street drugs because we still feel pain (The science of pain) increasing, with more Opioids increasing. Yet doctors have limits? Then they just stop prescribing opiates for pain. This is a gateway into the world of self medication.
We have gotten recovery wrong. We as caregivers can be the best and sometimes the worst caregivers, because we are not people in power(money and status), we are in recovery we have experienced loss and devastation because of addiction, We indeed may not know how or why we are to counsel or manage something that is inherently impossible to manage. Addiction is a beast from within. It implies a suffering and a state of loss, one of total confusion, and it is at the very core of being an addict. This impact is ‘not important’ in the public perception of addiction today.
We as ‘recovery helpers’ have failed miserably. We have tried everything that comes to us as a possible treatment, when we goddamn know better. The addict, the human being that is sitting in front of you is at a loss of explanation because addiction, at any level (Mild, Moderate or severe really?) is traumatic. Addiction is trauma, stemming from other ‘mental health’ issues, forming together to complete a shit storm in our brain. ‘Put down that drink or it will kill you’, sounds very attractive to a human being who is suffering a kind of madness from within. The addiction professional in recovery would know this.
I put quotes around ‘mental health diagnosis’ because initial diagnosis is not a rational way of determining a sound ‘Mental Health’ diagnosis from something we have not even begun to understand, no less, try to assess. Trauma forms different pathways in the brain to “feel better” or to feel nothing at all; because “I cannot handle any of this” I have tried and tried. (Science). Think about it, every time I have assessed a client and every case I have read about says that, we are to write down separate and distinct mental health diagnoses or the client self-reports anxiety, depression, PTSD, ADD and ADHD, all diagnosis that were assumed, while the client was most likely much younger, or not sober, nor at all rational 99% at the time of their diagnosis. (Find science).
I know. I was always high and irrationally defiant at all of my therapy appointments and psychiatric assessments, and when after checking into 10 separate detoxes over time, (all profit based), because I had to be assessed? Life seemed too unfair and my dreams and hopes were dying in front of me. That is why I used, eventually to acknowledge that it’s ok that I’m a failure, as long as I get through the day, with my medicine. The high or getting well is really described as “feeling normal, for me”. That was a big issue for me as I did not know, and no one was able to tell me, what normal for me, was when I was addicted to heroin, I rarely got ‘high”, I intended to get ‘well’. Getting high was a huge plus, if at all possible.
We also never talk or talk about what initially started our recreational use. My mind felt better, in the first place I felt warm and comfortable in my own body for the first time. A classic example is why we do not talk about how our addiction started, instead we ask, what are you taking now, how much, and how often?
At the end of my run, or at any point along my addiction, I did not ask” hey dude, what is it cut with? We do not care anymore. Addicts do not care what they put in them; we just want to feel like everything is OK. Do you believe that any of us, when we were active users, could or would put our dope in a gas spectrometer? Hell no, we are all secretly hoping this shot will make it all go away.
My point is that the whole realm of Addiction recovery has to be re-written through the eyes of people who have recovered. Only those folks know how insanely hard and uncomfortable recovery is, how it was for them, and life may be forever dull, and for sure we would have no fun ever again. Were we having fun? Was this all worth it? Skewed awful thinking yes, it is also true, yes it is. Ask any addict.
We need a new way of thinking and implementing the recovery process.
The one idea that has always been at the back of my sick mind, until I became not sick, was the idea that we as addicts need a place to call home or sense of being ‘at home’, where we as addicts, and we as helpers are on the same page, and in the same area 24-7. Where we become one with the knowledge of how, why and what does it take. And now that we have put in the grueling torment of recovery time, we need a home base for others recovering from a life changing event that is killing us one by one every day. There were 367 deaths from opiates in 2016 in Maine alone.
El Rancho De La Vida is that place. The Ranch of Life is where human beings can get back their humanity, and eventually be there for the next addict that comes into our lives. We want to care for the sick and mind-altered addicted persons because of skewed thinking, so that they can care for the next person and so on. One addict helping another, while sharing important life coping skills that each of us has acquired through sobriety. We have learned to live clean then schooling ourselves, and then working within professional ties. One person may come in with knowledge of cuisine. Why do we not celebrate that person by giving them a place to recover (to get back) one’s life, but the 2.0 version of their life.
The Ranch is the only avenue bold enough to be a real stepping stone for starting recovery and being recovered, through feeling empowered that you have now taken a choice to get well, and look forward to a life that matters. We want all of these people at The Ranch. We will not tolerate violence. That is the only line we will draw. If you have anger management problems, most likely you are not a violent person. You have become angry because inside, you know you are better that that.
El Rancho De La Vida will be a Non-Profit recovery and Life Ranch with 100+ acres of Farmland, woods, fields and a real working ranch with cattle and cowboys, Recovering cowboys living at a place that does not punish or discriminate because of your lust for passion. That is a human quality, passion that is. We need to adapt passion for inner peace through drugs, alcohol and other self empowering needs, so that we can always look forward to a rewarding feeling, when we do good works. The Ranch will be staffed by anyone in recovery who has battled with and won. We are recovering addicts who want to put other’s addictions before them. That includes Addiction Specialists like medical doctors who are in recovery and have rejoined their clinical colleagues, but feel out of place at a typical hospital or private practice.
Nurses who are in long term recovery who have a true passion for being where they do their best work, and counselors and administration staff in recovery are the front line workers at The Ranch.
Imagine for a second, one on one counseling on horseback. Or, imagine discussions while walking through fields of gold, without the constraints of modern, clinical buildings that have no personality. Imagine, Snowy afternoons on a ridge with a person beside you that is listening and compassionate, advising only if the person asks for help, or advice. We want to be there for all of us that battle with being inherently human, with its faults, and its immense pleasures.
Imagine, for example, the feeling of being in love. That is a human pleasure that most of us have turned off long ago, or forgotten about completely, on our own accord or through the devastating effects of the chemicals and lifestyles we thought would get us through.
Then a certain type of magic will occur, totally out of respect for one human, being with another human being that has run head first into a wall of shame doubt and anguish. The entire community will be built around safety, comfort, humane treatment for a disease that does not conjure the word comfort, when thinking about recovery from our previously insane life style. The Ranch is ‘the place’ I have had on my mind ever since I entered treatment for my heroin addiction.
El Rancho De La Vida will be built and hopefully staffed by the very people who can understand the insanity of active addiction. We want to help, and we will make a difference, while not profiting from the pain of another human being.


“How does it feel to be a problem…It is a peculiar sensation, this double consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of the world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.” –W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folks
“I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves or figments of their imagination, indeed, everything and anything except me.” ― Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
W.E.B. Du Bois and Ralph Ellison introduced three concepts of considerable import to recovery advocates. Du Bois’ notions of the veil and double consciousness were brilliantly conceived with profound implications for the future of race relations and efforts to escape the personal effects of racism—or similar processes related to people affected by prolonged historical trauma and contemporary social stigma and discrimination.
Du BoisIn the addictions context, the veil is a metaphor for the artificial lens through which people in addiction recovery are socially viewed and through which they simultaneously view the larger social world in which they are nested. As Howard Winant has observed, “The veil not only divides the individual self; it also fissures the community, nation, and society as whole (and ultimately, world society in its entirety.).” The veil contains objectified images and caricatures that distort how one is seen and how one sees oneself and others. Self-talk and communication with others are hampered and distorted through the veil’s influence. The veil creates a deep sense of alienation, disconnection, and utter sense of aloneness. As Richard Wright’s Bigger Thomas declares in Native Son: “Half the time I feel like I’m on the outside of the world peeping in through a knothole in the fence.”
Du Bois double consciousness depicts a related split produced by the introjection of addiction-related social stigma (a stained self) and the resulting defensive projection of a false self. Over time, these processes of double consciousness make claiming one’s “real self” increasingly difficult. As a result of this prolonged mask-making, one’s greatest fear is not that one’s inner evilness will be revealed, but that one’s utter emptiness and status as an imposter will be fully exposed to self and others.
Ralph EllisonEllison’s concept of invisibility suggests a potential threefold loss of self: 1) being seen only as an objectified caricature if one’s recovery identity is revealed, 2) a profound sense of imposterhood as one’s stigmatized status is hidden behind layers of masks, and 3) the inability to feel and hold to one’s own true self. That sense of invisibility-even to oneself–is amplified by the depersonalization experienced in late stages of addiction. Social invisibility, whether buried within a subterranean drug culture or hidden behind a carefully but fragilely crafted mask of normalcy, is an inevitable dimension of the addiction experience.
While addicted, we are invisible until acts of degradation and desperation (or our untimely death) briefly thrusts us into the public spotlight. In recovery, we also remain invisible until we come to see ourselves as a “people” and respond to prophetic call to collectively step from hiding to declare our existence. Other illnesses once bore a moral stain (e.g., tuberculosis, epilepsy, schizophrenia, cancer) and social invisibility, but campaigns to destigmatize some of these disorders (most particularly, cancer) have fundamentally altered their social perception and their professional treatment.
When we all step out of our cloistered sanctuaries and look around, we realize a profound lesson: we are all wounded in some way and all reaching for healing and wholeness. When the veils fall, the need for double consciousness diminishes and invisibility and transparency give way to a new sense of personhood. When the veil is lifted, we can escape entrapment within the label “substance abuser” and emerge as a free person of substance. When the veil of shame is lifted, we will find to our great surprise that what lies beneath is not our personal inferiority, but shared pain, unquenchable hope, and our common humanity—what Ernie Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham christened The Spirituality of Imperfection. It is time the veil, the double consciousness, and the invisibility that pervades addiction recovery were relegated to the dustbin of history. Only a recovery advocacy movement sustained across generations will achieve that goal.

Post Date May 20, 2016 by Bill White

A personal entry from Jamie and My band; Lebish And Grinnell Music to Thank The Akademia Music Awards for winning Best Hard Rock Song

Dear Lebish And Grinnell,

We wanted to take this opportunity to formally congratulate you on winning The Akademia Music Award for Best Hard Rock Song for ‘Final Approach’ in the March 2016 Akademia Music Awards! The results are now available and public at:

http://www.theakademia.com/home1 This page includes the general announcement and some artist features.

http://www.theakademia.com/winners1 This page lists all of the March 2016 winners in your review group.

http://www.theakademia.com/march2016_bestsong_hardrock1.html This page is your permanent award certificate page.

Be sure to share your achievement with family, friends and fans. You’ve worked hard and you deserve it. Your award certificate page will remain active for years to come and may be shared easily via email, Facebook, Twitter and other sites by copying and pasting the URL page link.

Winning an Akademia Award is a rare career distinction. It also means you are now inside the gates of an organization that can significantly advance your career as an artist. We will be in touch with you shortly regarding the next campaign steps. In the meantime, please be sure to like and follow us at the following portals, as we’ll also be promoting award winners through these portals in the coming weeks.




Please accept our warmest congratulations from The Akademia team on your outstanding achievement in the field of music. We look forward to working closely with you to advance your music career.

Kind regards,

The Akademia


Is it time for economic development as a central strategy of the new recovery advocacy movement?

Liberation movements to alter the cultural status and global health of historically marginalized groups must inevitably forge pathways of inclusion into the mainstream economy or build alternative systems of economic participation. These twin strategies achieve many goals. They reduce the marginalized groups’ vulnerability for economic exploitation by the dominant culture. They break the marginalized community’s dependence upon the financial largesse of the dominant culture. They weaken illicit underground economies that undermine personal and community health. They expand opportunities for licit economic development, forging new community institutions and leaders that enhance the resilience of individuals, families, and neighborhoods. They provide opportunities for meaningful work and community service. And they elevate community cohesion and an ethic of mutual aid, e.g., “We each rise when all rise.” When successful, these strategies elevate the esteem and status of marginalized groups and counter the personal and collective stigma that limits one’s sense of possibilities. In the United States, economic development has been an essential component of social movements that have worked to alter the status of communities of color, migrant workers, women, persons with disabilities, and the LGBT community.
This raises a series of provocative questions.
Is it time for people in recovery to rise above divisions of age, gender, gender identity, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, political and religious affiliations, past drug preferences, and diverse pathways of recovery to experience their larger oneness? Is it time for people in recovery of all stripes to recognize their membership in an ecumenical culture of recovery—recognize themselves as a people—with a shared history and future that transcends their identification or lack of identification with a particular recovery mutual aid group?
Is it time the organized recovery advocacy community more aggressively challenged the addictions service industry to politically and financially support recovery-focused public and professional education and the expansion of local non-clinical recovery support services? Addiction-related treatment, research, educational, and peer certification/licensing bodies are drawing financial capital and other resources from the recovery community; are they returning financial capital and other forms of support to the recovery community to enhance its economic and cultural development?
Is it time recovery advocacy organizations exposed and legally and legislatively challenged discriminatory practices that affect the hiring, retention, and advancement of people in recovery within the nation’s workforce?
Is it time we moved beyond “We recover!” declarations to assert that we also vote, work, pay taxes, volunteer, AND patronize local businesses with financial resources that no longer feed licit and illicit drug industries?
Is it time we recognized the immense size of this community and the potential to carry recovery through our collective buying power? Is it time recovery-generated dollars were spent whenever and wherever possible to support recovery community institutions, recovery-friendly businesses, and people in recovery?
Is it time local recovery community organizations (RCOs) created an Honor Roll of recovery-friendly workplaces and encouraged members of the recovery community to patronize these businesses?
Is it time we created an alternative economy—alternative to the mainstream and illicit economies—to support the employment of people in recovery who face multiple obstacles to economic self-sufficiency, e.g., age, minority status, limited education, past incarceration, limited or stained licit employment history, or chronic health challenges?
Is it time local RCOs served as incubators for small business development organized by and employing people in recovery?
Is it time philanthropists in recovery and others affected by addiction created rotating loan funds to help people in recovery start their own businesses?
Is it time for people in recovery from diverse occupations to mentor people in recovery who seek entry into or advancement within those occupations?
Is it time to create scholarship funds to support people in recovery seeking technical, college, or post-graduate education?
Yes! It is time!