Kids at Ghana, Africa Recovery walk listening to Speakers

Kids at Ghana, Africa Recovery walk listening to Speakers

CHARITY – stresses brotherly love, clemency, leniency and an interest in the welfare of others to the extent of giving of oneself. It is a whole-hearted sympathy toward the suffering which man must endure until he begins conscious advancement. Charity precludes criticism of others.

My oldest friend drank himself to death recently and it has lead me to ponder and contemplate much. I have a sincere desire to meld them into one essay but am up to three different ones so far.

Oldest friend in that we were in the 1st grade together and knew each other ever since. Amazing person. No really. Loved by many people from numerous diverse circles. Intelligent, positive, witty, learned with many interests, one who helped connect people in ways that enriched their lives. I could go on.

He received the biggest award the state gave, Michiganian of the Year, praised by a Governor, Senators and Mayors.

A leader and activist, “he touched countless souls with his fierce intellect, abundant sense of humor and dedication to causes great and small.”

You would have loved him and knowing him would have given those who need it greater insight into the truth of the disease model of addiction.

He did enter recovery staying for almost two decades but returned to use and never stopped.

It made me think of this recent article from Robin William’s wife, Susan.

Robin, having remained drug-free for many years returned to use and then treatment. Not too long after that he was diagnosed with Parkinson Disease and then the little-known but deadly Lewy body disease (LBD). She-they actually-did much research and each revelation was direr. As she said, “LBD began sending a firestorm of symptoms our way.”

Some two years ago, Robin ultimately suicided and the pain of that is unimaginable for many of us and speaks volumes when you read this article she wrote for the Official Journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Susan Schneider Williams serves on the Board of Directors for the American Brain Foundation.

I’m of an age where I’m losing friends, especially those who did not get the full joy of recovery. Life is often about feeling and it leads me to remind us of solutions.

The world has problems, lots of problems but there are solutions for (almost) every one of those problems.

Here’s a few of my favorite solutions.

This superb analysis from surgeon and author Dr. Atul Gawande is about a New Jersey Doctor’s application of a model I have worked with myself that begins from the premise, “Can we lower medical costs by giving the neediest patients better care?” The answer is a resounding YES!

One of the many beauties of this model is its application to behavioral health needs. In fact, it’s success comes from it’s treatment of the whole person.

Next we move into a story, again from Dr. Gawande, I would say is parallel to the first. This one addresses real-time/real-world studies applying outcome-based payment streams to medical (and behavioral health) groups that lead to greater financial savings coupled with higher outcomes. Pockets of medical groups sign on, achieve greater outcomes and are awarded on the back end by the insurance companies. Lots of data for everyone to see.

This means we know what to do, we know it works and the first article means we know how to do it. And it actually “makes” communities money.
Then, for good measure, let’s include this story, that reminds us of another universe (parallel to the 1st article- Hot Spotters) that gives us another model that succeeds, both outcome-wise and financially. Bring homeless in from the cold and then you can engage them and lo and behold things get better AND YOU SAVE MONEY!

I’m sensing a theme here.  You know, I feel better already.

Btw, Longmire’s back, on Netflix, and it whips like a Wyoming dust devil painting a portrait of struggles characterizing Native vs Western culture. It’s a cop show but I say it’s a great cop show. I shall endeavor to speak as Henry Standing Bear for all my days. I won’t succeed.