A Valentine validation was what I wanted this year. Of course flowers and candy and nice, but sometimes knowing that you're useful is the very best gift of all. This week I got two gifts that truly warmed the cockles of my heart. I have no idea what warmed cockles are, but I’m sure we all need them in the dead of winter. And best of all the gift was free.
My First Valentine Validation
A vendor called Sam visited the ROR office for business this
week, but we never got to the subject he came for. Sam B happened to be someone in recovery who was worried about a family member and wondered if we could help. Sam’s family has quite a history of substance use disorder (addiction), and a younger sibling is now facing the most dreaded fate. Sam is worried because his father keeps giving money to, and enabling, his younger sibling whose addiction to many substances has worsened. Sam’s dad won’t listen to any advice about what to do, despite the fact that he had done exactly the right things to help Sam four years ago. Why, why, why had his dad gone passive when he needed to take action? Sam was upset to say the least. Denial, false hope, call it what you may. Sam’s Dad was stuck despite the risk of doing nothing.
Sam knows from his own past substance use that denial is not a river in Egypt. You have to face the health risks of substance use disorder straight on and not hide behind false hope that things will get better on their own. They won’t.
To make a long story short, I showed Sam articles on ROR that might help his dad, and Sam said, “Oh, this is great. This is just what we need. The whole family read these, and the advice won’t be coming from me. I can stay out of it.” Yay.
That’s was a great recovery outcome. Sam can’t control his family, but now has a tool to help his dad relearn what he needs to know to get unstuck. And, just as important, he can take himself out of the picture. Just like everything in life, it may work out well, and it may not. But it felt good to have a handy tool to offer a family in crisis.
My Second Valentine Validation
My second Valentine validation came from an addiction physician in Maryland. Her name is Dr. Mary Jo Cannon. Dr. Cannon used to be a stranger to me, but I wasn’t a stranger to her. She receives our Friday newsletter every week and assigns the top five ROR articles to every one of the 325 patients in her practice. “They can get the feed right on their phone,” she said.
Mary Jo knows what I think about almost everything, and not only what I think, but what all the ROR writers think. We’re not academics, we translate some of the difficult material so others can get comfortable understanding it. Mary Jo loves the fact that ROR writers are genuine. We’ve been there. We talk about behavior. We give tips that are keepers.
This Kind of Validation Is ROR’s Dream Came True
“It’s a remarkable site,” Mary Jo told me. “Reach Out Recovery provides the inspiration, information, and education my patients need to make their recovery work.” She explained that all the article her patients read have a writing assignment. “Journaling is a really important part of the recovery experience, and you can tell the patients’ commitment to recovery by their involvement with the content of the articles and what they write.”
This endorsement was our dream come true. We had hoped that both laymen and professionals alike would enjoy a changing site that provides many short articles that are easier to digest than a thick self-help book that can feel like having to eat an elephant. Recovery is a one step at a time kind of journey, and that is what ROR offers.
ROR’s team works every day seven days a week to provide basic information about how to cope with Substance Use Disorder. It also provides tips on the tiny actions you can take one at a time to make recovery a lasting transformation. Thank you for reading.