Just thought you should know that we’ve become an important part of what I’ll call “Springtime for Conferences”, the time of year when flowers bloom and people get together to talk about the important stuff of life – stuff like…recovery.
That’s right – in addition to our own little shindig coming up next weekend (more on that in another post a little later), I’m rather pleased and inspired to tell you all about LifeRing’s attendance and presentation at the Multiple Pathways of Recovery Conference, held by the CCAR (Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery), a leading recovery advocacy and support services community organization, at the Mystic Marriot Hotel earlier this month on May 2nd – 4th in Groton, Connecticut.
The reason for my feelings of inspiration is that, as the conference’s name implies, its purpose is to broaden the recovery umbrella under which all manner of recovery pathway everywhere are included, accepted, and respected by one another, healthcare and treatment providers and practitioners, and the public in general – something I’ve been personally longing to see since my recovery in LifeRing began. Thus, imho, the vital importance of LifeRing’s inclusion under that umbrella cannot be overstated.
Anyhoo, our involvement started with Cindy, LifeRing’s Northeast Regional Representative and meetings organizer at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, CT, who got the information about the conference and in touch with Chiara, CCAR conference organizer, and we went from there.
The conference introduced the concept of “one size does not, in fact, fit all”, which included groups from the faith-based Celebrate Recovery! to 12 Steps to secular groups like ours, SMART Recovery, and WFS (Women for Sobriety), and to yoga and fitness programs, by featuring speakers, workshops, and presentations throughout, including LifeRing’s presentation given by our own Njon Weinroth!
Byron Kerr, LifeRing’s Board of Directors Chair, and longtime LifeRinger Ewa C. also attended, gathered valuable information from the conference, and along with Cindy and Njon made significant contacts with other attendees.
Ewa shared her notes on the genesis of the concept of multiple pathways:
“The conference opened with a video of William L. White, author of “Slaying the Dragon: The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America”, and who has worked in the addiction fields since 1969 in a variety of roles.
Bill White set the stage for further discussion of multiple pathways of recovery. He described recovery as being a fundamental transformation of a person–substance relationship. He pointed out how important it is to look at the language we use to talk about addiction and recovery, e.g. the need to change talk about pathways ‘to’ recovery to pathways ‘of’ recovery, saying this shifts the focus from the ‘addiction story’ to the ‘recovery story’.
I liked what he said about the need for ‘clinical humility’ in the treatment of addiction: the need to keep our ideas and ideology on probation.
Finally, he talked about how single pathway treatment has dominated the addiction field for way too many years and that the concept of multiple pathways into and out of addiction is very provocative and that is it time to move from a so-called ‘program’ to an ever-expanding menu of choices.”
Our group was particularly impressed with Tom Hill, Senior Adviser on Addiction Recovery from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) who also served for 3 years as Director of Programs at Faces and Voices of Recovery and gave a very inspiring talk. He spoke about the need for fluency across treatment options within the recovery and treatment community and how impressed he was with the passion in the room. He mentioned LifeRing two or three times – using specific language from Njon’s presentation.
“It was enormously encouraging to hear Tom Hill state that the recovery community must respect ‘all pathways’ of recovery. He mentioned all of the pathways on an equal basis,” said Byron.
Byron also met one of the founders of In The Rooms – a virtual recovery resource with 29 different recovery communities that offer video meetings of all ilk. SMART and WFS are members, and it seems to be a place LifeRing should be available as well. Note the LifeRing books on the table!:
So, as you can see, it seems altogether we made an impact there! And one that will help us continue widening the crack in the opening behind the curtain of recovery that has been closed to us, and to the addicts who need us, for far too long.
Look out, recovery – here we come!
Thanks so much to everyone who attended the conference, and shared their pictures and experiences of it with us!