RCNC RECOVERY PODCAST J3(9): TOM HILL, “WHY WOULD I HIDE THIS?”

January 30, 2017

Chris interviews Tom Hill, then Senior Advisor for Addiction and Recovery at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Tom was in Raleigh to speak at our 5th Annual Capital Area Rally for Recovery in September of 2016. Check out the amazing positive media coverage from that event. Chris and Tom originally met at a recovery messaging training organized by the National Alliance of Recovery Residences in May 2012. This fortunate connection led to our inaugural Rally that year and our subsequent membership in The Association of Recovery Community Organizations (ARCO). Tom discusses the epic history of The New National Recovery Movement and the impact of recovery community pioneers like Phil Valentine, Bev Haberle, Don Coyhis, Betty Currier, Dona Dmitrovic, Joe Powell, Andre Johnson, and others.

Tom recalls his introduction to advocacy in the early 90’s. Initiating recovery during this time led to the freedom for Tom to come out about his sexuality. He describes feeling a “relief and liberty” from no longer feeling compelled to hide or pretend. Tom then gained a critical insight about his addiction recovery. He was getting better and he was no longer part of the problem and people were noticing the changes in him. Recovery was giving him a new life, so Tom said, “Why would I hide this?” After graduating from social work school, Tom became involved in HIV activism in Greenwich Village and Queens, NY, and it was then he learned that “we can do so much more together than we can ourselves to change society.” Speaking of the appreciable progress the advocacy movement has made, Tom says, “We have our foot in the door, and I think we have to be really vigilant about pushing that door farther and farther open.”

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RCNC RECOVERY PODCAST J3(8): NEIL CAMPBELL, “What’s right with you?”

December 29, 2016

Chris interviews Neil Campbell from The Georgia Council on Substance Abuse. Chris was in Philadelphia presenting on creative funding approaches for recovery supports. We ran into Neil and took advantage of this opportunity to get her on the record... after having "one with with." Neil is a national recovery movement leader in the area of peer recovery support services. We have wonderful history with Neil. She was our guest during a visioning meeting in RCNC's early days. It was such a beautiful day in the city (Wednesday, June 15th 2016) that we decided to break tradition and take a walking interview. Enjoy the ambient symphony of birds and cars and Philly folk.

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RCNC RECOVERY PODCAST J3(7): BETTY CURRIER, “THE CYCLE OF ADDICTION HAS BEEN BROKEN IN MY FAMILY”

December 21, 2016

Chris interviews our very own Betty Currier, retired teacher, national change agent and current board secretary for RCNC. This has to be the absolute richest podcast we’ve attempted to capture. There is so much history in this interview. We’ve listened to it half a dozen times and keep getting more out of it. It begins with the history of Betty – what it was like for a woman initiating recovery in 1976 – so many old men and only one pathway. Betty had just celebrated 40 years of thriving recovery at the time of this road trip turned interview in January of 2016. Betty “accidentally” found recovery while attempting to find help for her daughter. She ran into the right person at the right time and that seems to be the story of her life.

Betty attended the historic 2001 Recovery Summit in St. Paul Minnesota, where 200 recovery activists from 36 states gathered to begin the creation of a culture of recovery in the United States. Born out of that gathering was the determination that public perception of addiction and recovery needed to change and the best way to do that was through associating a face and a voice to this highly stigmatized issue. Betty witnessed the creation of Faces and Voices of Recovery as a founding board member. She also saw the genesis of Recovery Community Messaging Training, the educational experience that taught us how to leverage our recovery status effectively and proudly. A fantastic point of interest in this episode features a fired up, young filmmaker attending Betty’s messaging training. That star pupil, Greg Williams, went on to bring us The Anonymous People and Generation Found.

As one of the leaders of the New York recovery movement, Betty saw the need for the growing legions of volunteers to be trained to more effectively help folks seeking to initiate or sustain recovery. Betty was there at the beginning of CCAR’s Recovery Coach Academy, engaging in beta training in 2009. She went on to become an RCA trainer, bringing thousands of coaches to realization, then CCAR awarded her master trainer status, so she could create additional trainers in NY.

When Betty moved to NC in 2013, RCA came with her. NC CCAR Recovery Coach Academy now has over 100 coaches trained and Betty has passed the trainer mantle to two of the NC trainers she has helped to nurture. Betty has since been awarded the coveted CART Trainer Elite status.

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RCNC RECOVERY PODCAST J3(6): KRISTEN HARPER, “MASSIVELY AMAZING.”

December 21, 2016

Chris interviews Kristen Harper, then Executive Director of Association of Recovery Schools. Who knew that this podcast interview would lead to a job interview? Kristen has since become our Executive Director and we’re so happy she’s here. We invited her down from Colorado to be a lead panelist for our Generation Found theatrical screening, August 31st 2016. This crucial documentary about recovery high schools in Houston, TX is created by Greg Williams who brought us the pivotal film The Anonymous People. We’re excited to benefit from her leadership and experience as we encourage North Carolinians to mobilize a recovery schools movement.

Kristen and Chris share how their pathways to recovery began in college and how each of them owes their feeling of connectedness, crucial to success in early recovery, to chance encounters with individuals on campus who were open about their recovery status. These fortunate experiences occurred before the advent of collegiate recovery programs, which now ensure that getting connected to communities of recovery on college campuses is no longer left to luck.

Kristen used to be on the Recovery Africa board on which Chris still serves. She recounts how impactful her visits to Ghana have been. We have several interviews related to Recovery Africa in the can for future podcasts, including road trips with Edwin Ahadzie & Dan O’Laughlin. Chris just got back from an epic visit to Ghana, participating in their rally for recovery. RCNC may be sending a very lucky lad to Ghana next year to teach NC CCAR Recovery Coach Academy. We’ll keep you posted.

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RCNC RECOVERY PODCAST J3(5): KEVIN MCCAULEY, “WE ALREADY HAVE A SUPERPOWER.”

December 21, 2016

Chris interviews Kevin McCauley, creator of the pivotal video essays Pleasure UnwovenMemo to Self. Kevin is a medical doctor, using his clinical education and lived experience as a person in long-term addiction recovery to create highly accessible works, explaining the neuroscience of addiction. Kevin describes how people and their families have been craving this information, and how knowing it brings greater understanding of addiction and hope for recovery. Chris and Kevin discuss their mutual connection with Bill White and how his research has influenced their work. Kevin gives more background for the films and explains the impact incarceration has had on his spirituality and professional trajectory.

Kevin earns major cool points when he alludes to Star Trek when describing the uniquely helpful superpower folks in addiction recovery already possess. Even extra cool points to Kevin, when he helps us understand Chris Budnick’s superpower wish with an awesome Matrix reference. October 2016.

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RCNC RECOVERY PODCAST J3(4): TOM CODERRE, “WHO ROUNDS DOWN?!?”

December 21, 2016

Chris interviews Tom Coderre, SAMHSA Chief of Staff. Tom just got that gig, so we were grateful he could make the time for North Carolina. He came down from DC to speak at our 4th Capital Area Rally for Recovery, September 2015, and gave a tremendous talk on the recovery movement as a civil rights movement.Chris and Tom chat a little about Tom’s path from addiction to national recovery movement leader. Tom also shares a funny story about our own Betty Currier. “Who rounds down!?!” Betty was on the Faces and Voices of Recovery board of directors way back in the day and Tom had just been hired as the national field director. Per custom, Chris asks Tom what his super power would be if he could have one. His choice quickly prompted a discussion about self-care. Chris and Tom are cut from the same cloth.

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RCNC RECOVERY PODCAST J3(3): “JASON HOWELL ENJOYS THE RELATIVE SAFETY OF OUR HOTEL ROOM”

December 21, 2016

Chris interviews Jason Howell with Recovery People. We break tradition with this one and take it inside our hotel room, during the 2015 (July 22) Association of Recovery Community Organizations (ARCO) Conference in Arlington, VA. We know you’ll miss the ambient symphony of road noise, but we thought we’d give Jason a break after we traumatized Brenda Schell on the George Washington Parkway. Jason shares about the importance of recovery housing and how that fits into the rising popularity of “housing first” as a solution to homelessness. In fact, we learn that “housing first” folks aren’t bad people – they just look at things differently. He also has his own successful recovery podcast, so we got to pick his brain about our fledgling project. “Is profanity ok on podcasts?”

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RCNC RECOVERY PODCAST J3(2): “BRENDA SCHELL CRASHES OUR DINNER PARTY AT ARCO 2015”

December 21, 2016

Chris interviews Brenda Schell, Executive Director, Missouri Recovery Network on the road after the best crab cakes in Maryland, July 2015. Among other things, they discuss how RCO’s are able to effect statewide system changes that benefit persons affected by addiction. As the ED of a mature statewide RCO, Brenda offers NC the secret to success. She also shares what her uber-empathic, ultra-unselfish superpower would be if she could have one. You’re already there, Brenda.

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RCNC RECOVERY PODCAST J3(1): “CHRIS, DONALD, AND ‘MARIS’ DRIVE TO ARCO 2015”

December 11, 2016

This episode marks the beginning of the RCNC J3 Recovery Podcast. We thought we would create something similar to Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” Chris Budnick is fortunate to spend time with movers and shakers in the national recovery movement. We convinced him to take them for a drive, press record on his iPad, and see what happens. So, on our drive to the Association of Recovery Community Organizations (ARCO) Conference in Arlington, VA, the show began. We decided to cut our production teeth on the discussion between Donald McDonald and Chris and seek public feedback. Please feel free to email comments and suggestions to dmcdonald@rcnc.org. This podcast belongs to you.We have several more exciting interviews in the can, so please stay tuned. We had no idea what we were doing and we were incredibly daunted, but why should that stop us? When the demigod Loki confidently proclaims, “We have an army,” Tony Stark calmly replies, “We have a Hulk.” Well, RCNC has a Chris Budnick. He honestly engenders in his team the confidence that we can do anything.

Chris begins by discussing a NPR podcast we just finished listening to: “This American Life: The Incredible Rarity of Changing Your Mind. Act 1 Do Ask, Do Tell.” The NPR podcast discusses using contact strategies to change public perception of gay persons in the context of promoting marriage equality. Canvassers would establish rapport with prospective voters who were previously anti-gay by finding common ground. Later in the interview the canvassers would disclose their sexual orientation. Frequently the interviewed individuals would soften or even change their previously held belief. This reminded Chris of “Stigma Reduction Through Contact Strategies” by William White and Tom Hill. We discuss some of our experiences revealing our recovery status, what our motives were, and some of the unintended positive consequences. Chris finishes by challenging each of us to consider who we should share our recovery status with next.

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