KINDLINESS – is the sincere desire never to bring hurt to another. It is the consideration of the feelings of others as well as gentleness, sensitive benevolence and sympathy expressed in word and deed.

A couple of buzzwords I hear repeatedly out-and-about in my work and from this field are trauma and adversity.

I hope it’s clear from my writing that it is a great thing we are dialoguing about trauma. I was abused as a kid, it deeply shaped my outlook and approach to life and the great blessing recovery gave me is the stability to go ahead and work to heal the past. How successful I am in all that is debatable but at least I got a chance!

So I love these topics, but I need to be clear: Often, often, often when we use words like trauma and adversity; those are proxy terms for poverty. The engines of power that are driving that poverty are benefited when we refuse to look at that.

These thoughts came out of a talk with a friend about the election, who said, “I’m just not as good as you, I’m concerned about the cost of my insurance, you’re concerned about everybody.”

I am definitely not better than anyone else and certainly have the same sort-of financial concerns but; I am concerned with “everybody”.
Why? Because:

  • I was low and someone helped me up and I am grateful.
  • Going down the road of my petty concerns over the greater good is a troubled losers path. My understanding is “as one goes so we all go”. There are systemic issues that hold people down or at least are inefficient and as we address them we shall lift many others up.
  • Karma. Our misunderstandings of this concept are legion but the basic idea that what goes around comes around everyone has some recognition of. So, again, as the systems grow equitable the circle can begin to stop rotating back to the problems and start becoming solutions.
  • I’m repeating myself here but in no way is this about “free stuff for lazy people”. Hands-up not hand-outs. AND! All people deserve a chance (or two or three).

This does become demanding as it “requires some vigilance and active engagement with who we are as people and how we engage with others.”

Here’s a lovely example of a way to apply new thinking to ongoing problems. A St. Louis school district realized there was an unusual reason for low attendance and set about to fix it.

Back at the ranch, the 8th Annual NC ONE Community in Recovery Conference felt like a great event, a success, a fun-filled work-week. A couple hundred Recovery Warriors exchanging ideas, it was lovely talking recovery with friends and informative seeing Keynote Larry Fricke talk about the history and origins of Mental Health Peer Support and where we are headed. Larry was Georgia’s Director of the Office of Consumer relations and Recovery in the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addictive Diseases and wears many hats today including Director of the Appalachian Consulting Group. It was innervating to see the questions (and answers) David Whitesock’s talk–his model of building Recovery Community Organizations with attendant Centers–generated.

Ellen Kesler and the whole NWAHEC team are to be thanked for their continued support of All Things Recovery.

Next, here’s early notice of a worthy topic – a May Women’s Recovery Conference in Asheville.

Next, ATTENTION Western NC-FIRST at Blue Ridge is selling affordable Christmas Trees fundraising to continue bringing low-cost treatment for SUD and mental health support, and here is the flyer link.

While we’re on the subject of Western NC–recently re-located RCNC ATR Wizard Doc (Ralph) Holiday is wrangling a Messaging Training in Asheville for Friday January 13th—details forthcoming. Look for me, Doc and Richie Tannerhill to have a ball.

Keep growing kindness out there, and Happy Thanksgiving,