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: Children, Adolescents, Transition Age Youth, & Families – By Bill White

Considerable efforts are underway at federal, state, and local levels to extend acute and palliative care models of addiction treatment to models of assertive and sustained recovery management (RM) nested within larger recovery orientated systems of care (ROSC). As that work proceeds, a critical question has emerged about the application of RM and ROSC to the design, delivery, and evaluation of services for children, adolescents, transition age youth, and families (CATAYF). A seminal paper on this question was developed by the City of Philadelphia as part of its systems transformation process (See HERE). Further work in this area is underway in Ohio through the efforts of the Hancock County Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services with funding support from a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration System of Care Grant. A critical step in the effort to extend ROSC implementation to youth and their families was the… Continue reading

THE JOURNEY TOWARD TOLERANCE, COMPASSION, AND SERVICE (GALEN TINDER AND BILL WHITE)

  Progressive transformations of personal character and relationships are central themes within narratives of addiction and addiction recovery. Entrapment within the self and its eroding effects on personal character are endemic features of addiction. Such entrapment goes by many names (narcissism, selfishness, self-centeredness), all reflecting a reordering of one’s needs and desires that morphs into near-total self-absorption—an entire orientation of being that shapes how we face the world and process reality. How one perceives, feels, thinks, judges, and acts are all transformed within this ever-shrinking capsule of self and the dominating self-drug relationship. The loss of control and creeping fear of impending insanity within the addiction experience require extreme defensive adaptations (the masks of addiction). Common among these defense mechanisms are distortions of reality (e.g., problem minimization and denial), elaborate rationalizations, overcompensation, increased grandiosity and arrogance, projection of blame on others, constant resentments (envy/ jealousy/ anger), narrow-mindedness, black-white / either-or… Continue reading

The Role of Recovery Communities in Cultural Healing – Bill White

  Ironically, it is at the margins of society that one discovers the moral center. –Van Jones In a bleeding world, where are the sources of communal healing? When our connecting fabric is shredding under the assault of hateful rhetoric, where do we find common ground—settings where people speak with each other and not at and over each other? How can we escape the spell of political pimps of all persuasions creating and exploiting divisions for personal aggrandizement and ideological gain? These are questions being asked by people of conscience from diverse political, economic, religious, and cultural backgrounds. As Van Jones suggests, the sources that could help us get re-centered could come from unexpected quarters. Is it possible that people in addiction recovery and diverse communities of recovery could serve as a force for cultural and cross-cultural healing? A reasonable response might well be, “What could people whose past lives have been ravaged… Continue reading

YOUR RECOVERY QUOTIENT? TOWARD RECOVERY FLUENCY – By William L White

In 2012, I experimented with the creation of a recovery knowledge exam (See What is Your Recovery Quotient? Toward Recovery-focused Education of Addiction Professionals and Recovery Support Specialists). The 100-item test was intended to illustrate the training emphasis on drug trends, psychopharmacology, and addiction-related pathologies in marked contrast to the scant attention paid to the prevalence, pathways, styles, and stages of long-term addiction recovery. (For details on such limited attention, click HERE) We live in a world where people experiencing significant alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems call upon diverse iconic historical and contemporary figures, catalytic ideas, words, slogans, metaphors, and quite varied identity and story styles to resolve these problems. The challenge for addiction treatment and recovery community organizations and their service providers is to create environments and service menus within which all of these organizing motifs and languages are available. Achieving such broad recovery fluency among addiction treatment and recovery… Continue reading

Variation in Recovery Identity Adoption – By William L. White

A significant portion of people who resolve alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems do not embrace a recovery identity—do not see themselves as recovered, recovering, or in recovery. I first suggested this in Pathways from the Culture of Addiction to the Culture Recovery (1990) and later in a co-authored essay on the varieties of recovery experience (White & Kurtz, 2006), but had nothing but years of observation and anecdotal stories to support it. When I was asked about the prevalence of adoption or non-adoption of a recovery identity among people who had resolved AOD problems, no data were available to inform that question. Thanks to a just-published study by Dr. John Kelly and colleagues of the Recovery Research Institute, there is now data that addresses that and related questions. The Kelly-led research team surveyed a representative U.S. population sample of people who had resolved a significant AOD problem during their lifetime and determined the extent to which such individuals adopted… Continue reading