Consider Yourself – A Meditation for Self-Discovery – Nicola O Hanlon

This meditation was part of a program I wrote a few years back about deeply connecting with our deepest selves to find out who we really are and what we require as individuals for our recovery and to live our best lives. It asks us to consider our identity, and if how we identify ourselves is really serving us. I would love for you to listen and let me know what your experience was. I speak at the end a little bit about journaling in a very simplistic manner to enhance the meditation experience. I hope you enjoy.   Continue reading

RECOVERY RISING EXCERPT: WHAT CANCER TAUGHT ME ABOUT ADDICTION TREATMENT

Adversity is a seductive invitation to self-pity. Cancer, like other unwelcomed challenges experienced in my life, provided such an invitation. But adversities provide opportunities as well as pitfalls. None of us escape adversities in our lives, but there really is something to the old saw, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Cancer was far more than an assault on my cells; it was a test of my character. Cancer provided invaluable lessons regarding my personal vulnerability and my need for better self-care—lessons of great import to someone both other-directed and action-oriented. The loss of bladder control in the weeks after my surgery forced me to once again confront limitation and powerlessness and brought humility and humiliation in equal measure—also valuable experiences for those of us fixated on controlling our own daily destinies. My need to rely on others, particularly my wife, forced me from the role of caring for… Continue reading

Changing Our Environment to Enhance Recovery – Nicola O’Hanlon

All living beings have the need and the ability to be sensitive to their surroundings to help them to survive and thrive. Humans, like all other beings, including plants, have an innate awareness of environment and seek out environments with certain qualities. For example, certain plants can only grow and thrive in certain environments. Some need lots of sunshine, some need shade. The soil they root into also has a huge impact; some need alkaline soil conditions, some need acidic and some need more water than others. However, once a plant is in the ideal environment it grows strong and thrives. Humans are no different. We have a strong need for safety and security and look for those attributes in our environment whether we are conscious of it or not. We also look for physical comfort and so things like the right temperature is important and just like plants we need the right… Continue reading

Beyond Recovery Exceptionalism – Bill White

Oppression involves objectification and rendering the targeted person or group as the ‘other.” That distinctive “otherness” is then conveyed in caricatured images that feed stigma, social exclusion, and, in its most extreme form, genocide. The first task of the social reformer is to illuminate the humanity of those objectified and break down barriers between “they” and “we.” The machinery of oppression and strategies of liberation rely on these opposing scaffolds of belief and perception. By projecting recovery stories into the public arena, recovery advocates undermine the demonized addiction archetype. These stories are often first viewed by the public through a lens of exceptionalism—seeing these ennobled individuals as the rare exception to the rule, “Once an addict, always an addict.” As recovery advocates, we can inadvertently contribute to this perception by only thrusting our most attractive, most articulate, highest achieving members into the public eye and characterizing our own redemption as an… Continue reading

Video Store Wisdom – Mark Masserant

  Pain is mandatory, but misery is optional. – some smartass Some days you’re the coyote, and some days you’re the cliff. Everybody runs into one of those days eventually, when problems pile up like an awkward balancing act in a Dr. Seuss story gone terribly wrong. My problem-solving skills used to come in a bottle, or so I thought. Now that I was sober, my biggest problem was that I had problems. I worried about how I looked while I was having them. How could somebody like me have stupid little problems like feeling so incomplete, insecure and broken? They were the worst. Attending meetings regularly was a must. There was too much drama at my house – and I lived alone. I was restless, irritable and discombobulated, but odds were I was making headway. Months after my second year of sobriety, I attended my favorite meeting on a Friday… Continue reading