By Stacy Charpentier
When I first began working at CCAR a little over five years ago, I didn’t have much of an understanding of how impactful the power of recovery was. I was not a person in recovery and back then, five short years ago, the recovery movement was really only taking off within the recovery community. For the most part, people in recovery were still very anonymous.
In April that year, a young person in recovery, Greg Williams, disrupted the recovery community by challenging those in recovery to take a stand and let the recovery movement come out from behind the shadows, and out of church basements, where most anonymous meetings were held. His documentary appropriately titled Anonymous People, encouraged millions of individuals who were living a life in recovery from an addiction, to show themselves to the world as evidence that recovery is possible. In a world where addiction is often portrayed negatively in the media and displayed as a person surrounded by needles and bruised with track marks, there was a need for those in recovery to show the remarkable way that recovery is possible…even transformative. We just needed some champions to be brave enough to offer themselves as living proof. One such person is CCAR’s Executive Director Phil Valentine. A proud supporter of Greg’s film and its message, since it aligned greatly with the message of CCAR; a small but mighty recovery community organization, has been boasting for the past twenty years. Phil, aka Right Click uses his story to demonstrate daily how recovery has shaped his life, and continues to transform him even though he has been in recovery for 30 years.
I’m not sure if the timing was finally right, but it seemed that a new recovery movement was taking shape, and the people who had been living anonymously for so long were coming together to declare a war – not on drugs, but on the stigma attached to the millions who had an addiction from alcohol and/or other drugs. No longer were the rich and famous being cloaked in black and driven to a secret rehab facility in the darkness of night. Now entertainers such as actors, actresses, singers, professional athletes, celebrity chefs and even youtubers are sharing their stories in mainstream media and can attest that their addiction no longer control their lives while they express hope to others who may be struggling. Family members who once would not dare talk about how an addiction might have torn their family apart, found strength in the power of their stories and used that power to inspire others, that recovery is possible. Today, many television programs have full prominent recovery storylines, proving that those who have overcome an addiction are no longer living in shadows.
So how did this transformation happen?
I think it’s quite simple…transformed people…transform people.
Back in 2008, CCAR was on a mission to train its volunteers to help those who would come into their centers looking for help in finding recovery. While the volunteers in the centers were passionate and wanted to give back by supporting those who needed help, they did not always have the tools necessary to do so. A group of recoverees came together to discuss the needs of people new to recovery – which included the way they were treated and how to access community resources. A curriculum was created, called the CCAR Recovery Coach Academy (RCA). In 2009, the five day training program was delivered for the first time to an eager audience. Even more so, the audience was not satisfied with just experiencing the training. They felt the training should be shared with others. As a result, the very first group of trainers learned what it took to train the RCA, which helped form the curriculum and start the delivery of the training of trainers program, while emphasizing that “Transformed people…transform people”
Now in its ninth year, the CCAR Recovery Coach Academy is the most widely sought after curriculum in training recovery coaches across the country. CCAR has contributed to the transformation of over 25,000 people worldwide by offering a suite of trainings designed to train participants in the art and science of recovery coaching.
In what began as a vehicle to train volunteers, has helped to shape the new recovery movement in providing a community of recovery coaches who are skilled, ready, and able to shepherd others into recovery while planting seeds of hope to those who may be beginning to think about the possibility of recovery. In a world where the opioid epidemic has taken a hold, deadly heroin overdoses are a daily occurrence, and the use of alcohol as a way to numb the chaos of our hectic and busy schedules is commonplace – the recovery movement is no longer silent. While addiction and the stigma attached are still a large battle, those who have been transformed by recovery will not allow their light to be dimmed.
So, to all the Phil Valentines, and the Greg Williams out there who are putting a positive face on recovery, I would like to use this blog to showcase recovery champions - people like you, who have been transformed and are transforming the lives of others. If you or someone you know have been transformed by attending the RCA, or any of our other CART trainings, I would love to share your story. Furthermore, if you are working as a recovery coach after attending one of our trainings and is giving back to the recovery community through service, I would love to share your story here as well. Some questions to consider when writing your story for our blog are:
- How did CART’s trainings help or inspire your pathway to recovery?
- How did being a face to recovery change your life or someone you know?
- Which CCAR training curriculum helped transform your life or someone you know and how?
- What topics covered in the RCA or in any CCAR training curriculums helped your journey as a recoveree or a recovery ally?
- Did you overcome any challenges related to your addiction and how did you do it?
- What does transform people, transform people mean to you?
- What or who inspires you, motivates you and give you hope?
- How did CCAR training curriculum help elevate your career?
- How are you giving back to the recovery community?
- What is it like to be a Recovery Coach? What are the benefits and challenges?
- How did your roles and responsibilities of a Recovery Coach help impact someone’s life?
- How do you maintain healthy boundaries in your life as a recoveree, recovery ally or recovery coach?
- What are the challenges and benefits of being a recovery ally? How do you remain supportive to someone in recovery?
- Are you a Designated Recovery Coach Professional through CART or are you a state certified peer support specialist after attending CCAR trainings? How was the process?
Please send your story to me at firstname.lastname@example.org – with the subject line, Transformed People. Please include a picture, and at least 500 words sharing your transformation. It could be your story that makes a difference in transforming the life of someone else.