Recovery Santa Fe!

Community celebration of people in recovery from alcohol and drugs

To spread the word about Santa Fe’s recovery celebration 1 pm Sunday, September 20th, at the Friendship Club, I have been speaking to community groups about recovery and why we feel it’s so important to celebrate it publicly. After I spoke to one group, a man came up to me quietly and said his grandfather had begun recovery when he was 12. He went from being out drinking each night to being out at 12-step meetings. He said he went to his grandmother and asked how recovery was any different from drinking because granddad was still gone most nights to meetings. He said, his grandmother just smiled at him and said this was much better.

What struck me most about this interaction was that he whispered so others couldn’t overhear. His grandfather recovered over 50 years ago. Yet he still didn’t want everyone to know granddad had been in recovery. I am deeply saddened by how much our culture has stigmatized substance use disease–fifty years later and it still must be kept secret.

We know from many scientific studies that keeping a consequential secret is stressful. Such enduring stress can weaken the immune system reducing life expectancy. We celebrate recovery in public because that’s part of fully healing from the disease.

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I have struggled with alcoholism for 31 years of my 57 year old life. I have always known that I had a serious problem, but it took nearly dying for me to seek help. Maybe I felt too embarrassed t
o admit that I couldn’t get better without help.

When I finally decided to reach out, I realized that there are a lot of helpful resources for people like me. I took advantage of all the help I could get. I am now sober 13 months and have never felt better! This process has made me so grateful. I am who I am, and today I like who I see in the mirror. This has been a great journey of joy and discovery and I look forward to it’s continuing.

Maggie

A GIFT I WANT TO KEEP

I was born in 1958, the only girl in a family that had four boys, in a time that was popular for women to be married off and the men were the ones who were the breadwinners. In Jr. High, drugs were getting popular with the kids, mostly pot, and I knew it was wrong for me. Instead I got involved with the Jesus Freak movement and decided to reform my school friends. That lasted awhile until I, too, gave in. I got pregnant at 16, got married for a minute, and ended up a single mom. Met another man at 18 and got married, moved to the mountains on ten acres and went self-sufficient, like a lot of the post hippie movement did. My husband left early every morning and returned late every night to support our lifestyle of chickens and organic veggies, and solar panels. I was pretty lonely. We had neighbors, even if they were a few miles away, and it was through them that I found speed, pot, and of course, alcohol. Didn’t take long before I was engulfed. I could say the many reasons, but every alcoholic and user knows. This I share with them, the longing to escape, the loneliness, and doing all the wrong things to fill this void inside me. I was never sober, always drunk. I ended up in my first rehab when I was 19. I wasn’t even legal drinking age. My recovery did not last long, and decided to move back to the city. It doesn’t matter the story, all of it insane, but it went on and on and on….
It took until the age of 55 to realize that life had to have more to offer than my pitiful existence. I didn’t care what it took, I HAD to do something. I turned to God and cried out with everything I had. I was sick of it. I WAS the walking dead. I went to rehab one last time. I was told that people will only change when the level of pain is greater than choosing to change. Oxford House came and did a presentation and I wanted to go so bad. Things happened that I can only credit to God. I am able to live in a house that is heaven compared to the awful place I was. I feel safe here and it is beyond what I ever thought possible. Since then I have helped other houses with meetings and served as treasurer on a chapter level. I have found that I get the most satisfaction in my life by humbly trying to help others. Every day there is a lot to learn. I face every day knowing I have support. I only have to reach out and ask. We can’t do this alone. It’s a program of we. I owe my life to Oxford House, and it is there to save anyone who wants it bad enough. I wish, I wish, I wish. I know it’s not possible to save everyone, but I have hope that some will choose life instead of death. It’s up to you and how bad you want it. I am glad that God used Mr. Molloy to start this network of homes where people can grow and thrive. Words don’t do justice to my gratitude. My God is awesome.

Being a woman in recovery in Santa Fe NM…

The supportive, sober community in Santa Fe gives me an opportunity to fill my life with many positive things.  Having been sober for 13 years, I have had the opportunity to find spiritual, physical and mental healing right where I live.  Santa Fe is a very sacred place to live with different cultures coming together.  Many people in the Santa Fe Recovery Community have many years of sober living and are willing to share their time and experiences with me.  Reaching out and helping others has made my road a wonderful journey and continues to do so today.  Mary S.

Recovery Allies

Who are recovery allies? These are people with no lived experience. They’re not family of people in recovery. They’re not treatment providers. They’re just people who support people in recovery. I am one of “these” recovery allies.  Why? Because every chain is only as strong as its weakest link, every community is only as healthy as its weakest member. How a community treats its weakest is how it will treat every one of us should we fall. There but for the grace of God go I or my children or my friends. I want to live in a community where the quality of mercy is not strained. I believe this kind of community is possible here in Santa Fe, but only if we are honestly aware of each other’s struggles and lend a hand.

I chose to be a recovery ally instead of someone who helps troubled youth, tutors at the local high school, or cares for abandoned animals because people recovering from addiction can be challenging to help. They aren’t usually warm and cuddly. They often try to manipulate those helping them. These are “those people” that everyone isn’t lining up to support. These are the people who are stigmatized because of what they and others in addiction have done. These are people with no voice, often afraid to be identified, and often afraid to speak. I can’t speak for them because I’ve never walked in their shoes, but I can listen and offer what I can.

I believe recovery should be celebrated because every community should celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of its members who act with courage and determination to overcome adversity. Recovery is worthy of our respect. It should be celebrated because those in recovery can be beacons of hope to those still struggling. How can someone caught in addiction believe it’s possible to recover if there’s no one to follow, no one they can want to be like. Even more how can the rest of us believe in recovery if everyone in recovery hides, never tells their story. We learn by listening to the stories of others, especially stories of heroism and determination. That’s how we move beyond stigmatization. I’m a recovery ally because I believe these stories should be told and people in recovery should be celebrated–for the welfare of us all.

Tom

I Practice These Principles

I reflect frequently during my day about something I learned early in my recovery – I need to “practice these principles in all my affairs”. What Principles? Which affairs?

These Principles: Honesty, Hope, Faith, Courage, Integrity, Willingness, Humility, Brotherly Love, Discipline, Perseverance, Awareness, Service.

Which affairs: All of them – moment by moment throughout the day!

When I was about 6 years sober, I read a book by Earnie Larsen entitled Stage II Recovery, Life beyond Addiction. In many ways, it changed my life because it changed my perspective. Here are a couple quotes which I have never forgotten:

“The fact is that what we live with we learn, what we learn we practice, what we practice we become, and what we become has consequences.”

“People don’t become anything all of a sudden. We got where we are, for good or ill, after considerable practice and repeated action. And that’s not only how we got where we are, but it’s precisely how we get somewhere else.”

So little by little, moment by moment, I could start to change how I went through the world, and the consequences of all those tiny actions are beyond my wildest dreams. I am not talking about skipping my way into happy oblivion – I am talking about trudging my way to happy, joyous and free.

So, I would like to start a blog about “how do you practice these principles”? What is your example of a moment in your day and which principle?

Here is one from my day yesterday: I needed to get a recall done on my car to fix a problem with the clock on the navigation system. Simple enough, I thought. So I called the dealer on Monday and made an appointment for yesterday. I arrived 2 minutes before my set appointment time. so far so good… Then one of the service guys told me that it would take 3 hours. Excuse me, I said. Yep, I heard him right. So I kept my opinion to myself and asked if they could give me a loaner. They did, and I drove it home to work there and wait. At 4 hours, when I had not heard from them, I called. I was told that it was almost done, and he would call me when it was. I am still breathing and using the magic words that my mother taught me – Please and Thank You! I finally called them because they never did call me, and 6 1/2 hours after I dropped it off, I got my car back. When I was there, what I really wanted to do was choke the living %*&@#* out of someone. What I did was say thank you and wish them a nice evening – all the while smiling because I still get to do the follow up survey today or tomorrow…

Oh, and the principle is Brotherly Love (and progress not perfection fits in there, too.)

Posted by Chris

The Anonymous People Movie – Its personal impact on me

The Anonymous People is a documentary movie “about 23.4 million Americans living in long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs…” – living mostly quietly; beneath a stigma that discourages disclosure. The movie attempts to blow open the doors of secrecy and shame to embracing who we are, and why we are, and what we are doing to continue our wellness journey in recovery. These are real stories told by people we may recognize in our neighborhoods, our churches, our schools, our movie theaters.

Because of this film, I was moved to take action at a time when I could not think of what I could possibly do in memory of my son. Erin had died seven years earlier of an accidental overdose. After courageously struggling with his mental illness for more than a decade and having lived six months in sobriety, life became too hard for him in a moment of extreme anxiety and heartache. In another moment, his life was over. As was mine in many ways.

The Anonymous People, watched in a community setting, surrounded by people who are open to learning more about the disease of addiction, and with those who might be willing to share their own personal experiences may provide a healing salve for someone as it did for me. As a parent who has loved and lost a child, I hope I can offer empathy. As a human being, I hope I can embrace another with no judgement, but with caring and love, a better understanding, that might help someone somehow.

The Anonymous People is about hope. It’s about being proud of who we are and what we have overcome. The movie can be found on NetFlix. And we, Recovery Santa Fe!, have a few copies of the movie that we are willing to share with you. We are also available to appear at meeting events to present the film and participate in friendly dialogue with you.  Please contact us at RecoverySF@gmail.com.

In Peace and Wellness,  Letty

RecoverySantaFe Test Post

¡Recovery Santa Fe! is a network of people living in recovery from alcohol, drugs, and mental illness, our friends and family members, and the many organizations and allies throughout Santa Fe and beyond who support recovery as a living reality.

Our current focus is joining with our friends and allies to support the recovery movement, create events that celebrate and enhance recovery awareness, and acknowledge Santa Fe as a recovery supportive community.

On Sunday, 21 September 2014, we came together as a community not only to celebrate and have fun but also to acknowledge and honor the courage and dedication of every Santa Fean in recovery. During the Celebration, we had:a FAIR with our Recovery partners, an Artists in Recovery Art Show, a Cookout, Workshops, Showings of the documentary, Anonymous People, and a Recovery Walk

As ¡Recovery Santa Fe! moves forward, we will:
have a bigger, better celebration next year on Sunday, 20 September 2015 and all the community building that leads up to it.

VISION: Santa Fe celebrates every person in recovery from the disease of addiction.

MISSION:Make Santa Fe safe and welcoming for every person in recovery; recovery is a journey that begins with abstinence and can lead to improved quality of life and personal growth.

Let’s turn our attention from the face of addiction to the FACE OF RECOVERY!

We see recovery as the solution and intend to make that solution stronger throughout our community. We see those in recovery, especially our community’s leaders, setting the example for everyone still struggling with the pain of addiction.

We want to Celebrate, Advocate, Educate and Initiate Recovery!!!