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William White

William L. White is an Emeritus Senior Research Consultant at Chestnut Health Systems / Lighthouse Institute and past-chair of the board of Recovery Communities United. Bill has a Master’s degree in Addiction Studies and has worked full time in the addictions field since 1969 as a streetworker, counselor, clinical director, researcher and well-traveled trainer and consultant. He has authored or co-authored more than 400 articles, monographs, research reports and book chapters and 20 books. His book, Slaying the Dragon – The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America, received the McGovern Family Foundation Award for the best book on addiction recovery.

RECOVERY CHALLENGES AMONG OLDER ADULTS – BY BILL WHITE AND RANDALL WEBBER

Multiple factors can interact to increase vulnerability for the development of alcohol and other drug-related (AOD) problems in older adults. Those same factors can pose threats to older adults in long-term addiction recovery. In the former situation, older adults who did not experience such problems during their formative and maturing years develop AOD problems late in life. In the latter situation, individuals with years or decades of stable recovery experience a recurrence of such problems with potentially profound or fatal consequences. (The shame from losing long-held sobriety and elder status within a recovery community can be a significant obstacle to recovery re-stabilization.) We have observed four root causes of such vulnerabilities in both circumstances. Physiological factors: Changes in drug metabolism (e.g. decreased tissue tolerance, atypical drug actions and interactions), co-occurring medical/psychiatric conditions, and the use of multiple medications have the potential to amplify untoward effects of alcohol and other drug… Continue reading

Denial of Recovery – By William L. White

  The social stigma attached to addiction and addiction recovery inflicts innumerable harms to individuals, families, organizations, and communities. Two people in recovery recently emailed me sharing quite different dilemmas—each flowing from stigma-induced caricatures of addiction and recovery. In the first instance, people had no difficulty believing the individual’s addiction story because of his numerous, and quite public, drug-related falls from grace. Yet these same people withheld belief in his recovery status years into his stable recovery. Rumors periodically spread that he was using again—rumors that seemed impossible for him to source or stop. Normal sicknesses triggered suspicions of drug use. Any time anything went temporarily missing at a family gathering or at his workplace, suspicion immediately turned to him. Job promotions were withheld on the grounds that he might not be able to handle the stress of added responsibilities. People, as if walking on eggshells, perceived him as fragile… Continue reading