Book launch day

Our book, The Heart of Recovery: How Compassion and Community Offer Hope in the Wake of Addiction, is out now!

The Heart of Recovery book trailer

Community is Key to Recovery

In this episode of We Digress, Dave and Deb talk about community and briefly wax nostalgic over small-town life in autumn.

Ah, the joys of small-town living…

On the one hand, everyone knows everyone else. On the other hand, everyone knows everyone else. Or, as Dave says, we get “all up in each other’s business.”   

Is there value in built-in accountability from living around people who know you? What happens when you open up your business to everybody?

A supportive community is one of the most critical success factors for sustained recovery. But most addicts have burned through their community by the time they hit “rock bottom.” 

You are a part of someone’s safety net whether you know it or not. This episode is one of a two-part conversation

And hey! You can order our book now!

Relearning and Reviving Compassion

Compassion is a hot topic these days. Who deserves it, should it affect our politics, and what’s in it for me…what is the point of compassion?

In this podcast episode, Dave and Deb dig into compassion and digress to the Great British Baking Show and Survivor — the longest running American reality TV show. Hosted by “America’s Camp Director” Jeff Probst. 🙂

Sometimes, we unwittingly view compassion as a means to an end. Whether that end is reward or response. But is it merely currency to get me what I want?

God addressed compassion over and over in the Old Testament.

And Jesus did it again both preaching it and living it out in the New.

Between people, compassion is love’s response to suffering. It’s a character quality that should mark Christians, but, as David Englehart writes, “Compassion needs to be nurtured and practiced or even this basic love response can grow dull and cold.”

Have a listen.

A conversation about Purpose in recovery

Watch or listen

Our third video for National Recovery Month: Purpose. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration defines purpose as: “Conducting meaningful daily activities such as a job, volunteerism, family caretaking, creative endeavors, and the independence, income, and resources to participate in society.” Here’s what Dave (and I) had to say about that:

Having a regular routine was a priority for Dave in recovery.  Because he lost his job, and because of his struggle with addiction, he had to find a new line of work.

Fortunately, Dave’s new line of work proved to be fairly rewarding and built up his already innate/inherited ability to talk to anyone in the world. Six years of work as a debt counselor and then managing counselors proved excellent training for parenting teenagers/college students!

We talk more in the video about leading a 12 Step recovery group, and I go off on a tangent about Sheryl Sandberg and what is one of my new favorite books: Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. 

Also, if you’re looking for ways to help families in crisis, I’ve got all kinds of ideas for you.

Thanks for watching!

A conversation about physical recovery from prescription opioid addiction

What happens when you stop taking a prescription opioid? Well, that depends. Have you been taking them according to the instructions? Or have you been abusing them? Most people who take powerful opioids for recovery from medical procedures experience only mild withdrawal. But when you’ve been taking them for years, and in amounts that could kill you?

In this 20 minute video, Dave describes his many withdrawal experiences with Tramadol and Suboxone and gives insight into the critical need for support in the early months of recovery — especially from long-term, high-dosage prescription drug addiction.

If you’re discouraged that you or your loved one isn’t “back to normal” this is an important watch. Oh, and please subscribe to our newsletter if you haven’t already. We’ll send you a week’s worth of posts in one email.

What do you mean you’re “in recovery”? Why aren’t you healed?

If you follow along with nationally recognized months, you know that the point of them is to raise awareness around a certain topic.

September is National Recovery month

And I might have a few things to say about recovery… It’s been in the subtitle of this blog since 2011, and it’s something we live daily.

Recovery is so much a part of our lives, I sometimes don’t know where to begin. But the question in the title of this post is as good a place as any. Because sometimes “recovery” in the context of addiction and mental health carries baggage.

I used to think the idea of recovery was derided only in certain faith communities. But over the last decade of study and experience, I’ve noticed that skepticism isn’t limited to church people.

The word recovery conjures images of 12 Step meetings and therapists’ couches, and while that’s not wrong, it’s limiting. There isn’t just one route to recovery.

Recovery is simply the healing process

Most humans understand that healing is a process. We may be sympathetic, or even empathetic — even if at times we feel impatient — up to a year out from trauma. But beyond that? We really want people to snap out of it. And, if we’re honest, we start to think something is wrong with a person if they don’t.

Dave and I have had many discussions about recovery this year as we’ve had the opportunity to share our story through Guideposts and other avenues.  I started going to the recovery group he leads at our church, after a few years away from it, and I’m facilitating a women’s group as a part of it.

Dave’s been clean almost 11 years, which is a major victory after been a prescription drug addict for 15 years. Our life today is so, so changed from what it was a decade ago. He’s transformed. And yet, he always introduces himself in the group as “an addict in recovery from pills.”

I didn’t like this at first. It grated on me.  “Don’t you think, after all these years, that you’re finally healed?” I asked. We talked about it for days.

But Dave still says he’s in recovery from addiction because it’s true. And as much as I wish sometimes it wasn’t, I know and believe there are some wounds that not only don’t just disappear, they may not heal completely in this life. I understand it because I have a wound or two like that myself. Whether you call it that or not, you might, too.

There are wounds that Don’t fully heal

We understand this in the physical realm — with the wounds we can see. If you break your leg, for example, you may have a long recovery that involves surgery, traction, and rehabilitation through physical therapy. Your recovery process would depend on the severity of the trauma, your age, and your participation in the exercises you’re prescribed.

In some cases, a patient may never fully recover their former strength or walk. They’ll always have a limp.

Not only that, but former habits change as well. Maybe they don’t climb mountains anymore because walking on an incline for more than a mile knocks them out for weeks. The recovery time takes too much of a toll.

When I think of Dave’s recovery in the context of trauma like that, I get it.  His life was literally changed forever by 15 years of drug abuse and addiction –and all its wonderful side effects. And so was mine, and so was our family’s.

For starters,

  • Dave can’t take pain meds like regular people, which makes medical procedures more complicated
  • He has holes in his memory and sometimes skips words when he’s speaking and doesn’t realize it
  • He feels weird every time he walks into a doctor’s office or pharmacy because it’s where he got drugs

This doesn’t even scratch the surface.

Recovery is more than just living without pills…

Recovery involves heart, soul, mind, and strength. It has its roots in hope, but it deals in reality.

The SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) has a working definition of recovery, as shown in the graphic above. It includes: health, home, purpose, and community.

I love this. It’s the stuff Dave and I talk about all the time. And we get to talk about it with you right here all month.

10 years clean: celebrating with ordination and a feature in Guideposts Magazine

Dave celebrated 10 years of sobriety this month! Not only that, he passed his ordination exams and will be an officially ordained pastor this coming Sunday, December 31.

It’s been a big month! And there’s more to come.

This fall, Guideposts Magazine asked us to be a part of their 2018 series on addiction recovery. We are so grateful for the opportunity we had to talk with them and for this chance to share our story of hope with their readers. Dave’s story is in the January print issue, it’s featured online, and a video is coming in January.

Click on the image below to go to the story and watch the video on Guideposts’ site.

Take a few minutes to read his story and share it. People need to know there is hope for freedom from addiction.

 

 

 

 

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