My mind’s been reeling in the years from all these Summits. Once again I see so much I don’t know where to start. Lord help me!

In the immediate aftermath of a hard work-out I often experience a feeling of clarity-due to the lovely balancing of the happy brain chemicals that so rule our thoughts / feelings / lives.  Whatever issue I may be pondering or wrestling with, in the end my “balanced” state always goes back to one or two from a list of the usual (spiritual) suspects.

Acceptance, Surrender, Compassion, Love, Bigger picture

Then I turn on the news.

Anyways, I’m swamped with thoughts/new tasks/emotions due to that whirlwind of Summits / Conferences / Advocacy Days you were all invited to. Great to see lots of you there. I leave thinking of new things I can / could / should / maybe get started on.

RCNC’s Advocacy Day kicked it all off the week before with an expert list of trainers walking us from A thru Z on the basics of How (and Who), What, Why, Where & When (Now!) of Recovery.  You could take that crew on the road to every burg in the state and we’d be the better off for it. Advocacy, Language, the ins-and-outs of Initiating Recovery, Supports, Joys of Full Recovery and more. The afternoon was appointments to meet with Legislative Aides (usually) who often know quite a bit about current issues and ask excellent questions. I always get someone (or two) who tell me about a death in their family or near loved one from opioids.

APNC began last week with two legislators, Sen. Jay Chaudhuri and Rep. Horn, addressing the crowd and answering questions, plus an overview of possible upcoming changes at the Federal level from the Legal Action Center’s Gabrielle de la Gueronniere and Robert I.L. Morrison, ED of NASADAD. Here’s the PowerPoint/pdf of their presentations, with lots of information.

Everybody was great but overshadowed, for me, by our new Attorney General, Josh Stein’s strong willingness to tackle NC’s addiction issues straight on. He spoke at APNC, we ran over to the General Assembly Wednesday to hear him speak on STOP and he also spoke at Thursday’s NC Harm Reduction Coalition’s fine day of training and advocacy, back at the Natural History Museum. In all the political hub-bub spinning around it is such a blast of fresh air to hear the State’s top Lawman convey a clear picture of some of the issues surrounding this crisis.

STOP (Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention Act) is a new bill in committee at the NCGA that uses various ideas and tools to address the addiction crisis.
At another Summit I took a moment to publicly thank a friend who did a lot of the work (with a corral of able volunteers/peers) putting it on, assembling an inspiringly lofty group to brainstorm greater ways, and it got me thinking. I shared how as a newly transplanted guy (to NC) in recovery I had needed to place a support network around me.

That is an essential component of recovery. Addiction is a disease of isolation and honest human connection is a healing aspect of life that ensures greater recovery success.

I shared how his name was one of a handful that people told me I needed to know, considering my background and all. What happens for me with recovery brothers is we often have an immediate rapport due to a common experience and language. This plugs us in together and allows for a more intimate relationship which is comforting in this sometimes (seemingly) cold world. Really it’s a world filled with Love but we can get away from that. What I did not say, when I asked for a round of applause for Tom is that in our field it can often go deeper.

In our work, what you see is a real willingness to set ego aside and work for the greatest good. Everyone has an ego, everyone has pains / discomforts / biases / resentments even but what you find often is people with such a genuine desire to make a difference, to aim and shoot for the greatest good for all, that it becomes the priority and ego is second (or third or fourth) down the list. I saw an outpouring of that from many people during this week of work. Can I know myself well enough to know what’s Higher Will and what’s just my little ego and can I separate my ego out in our decision making and consensus building?  Plugging in to that is deeply sustaining to my heart-field and keeps me coming back.

PS: This is what’s needed (and mostly completely missing) on the national level.

I was speaking with someone who has risen up the ladder of 12-Step service and she was listing the traits she felt are needed to do her job to the fullest.

  1. Stay open-minded;
  2. stretch herself in the work yet know when she’s the wrong person for the job;
  3. have a service sponsor for support-to “check” herself;
  4. say no-know when to say no;
  5. tolerate conflict well;
  6. speak up even if it’s unpopular;
  7. show courtesy/civility/kindness/generosity of spirit/graciousness- in all things. (That reminds me of a future topic for discussion–driving on I-40)

Meanwhile, what a lovely list that makes me want to renew efforts toward achievement.
But wait, I haven’t gotten to the excellent line-up of trainers at the NC Harm Reduction Coalition. Legislators, medical research, current stats/insights on Hep C, Toxicology, Syringe Exchange updates, LEAD and Bridges to Law Enforcement, bam bam bam one right after another loads of useful info and heart.  I’ve said it before I’m going to say it one more time; I worked well over a decade in homeless agencies, often with a Harm reduction component, in numerous locations/cities/states and NC’s Harm Reduction Coalition does stellar work of the highest caliber!! They deserve our support!

I guess I’ll save the last-AA’s Prison Conference-Freedom from Bondage- for another day.

As you read my thoughts here’s a few shorties to share:

Have you heard this stirring story of a whole nation taking action/showing love to their youth?? How An American Helped Iceland Fix Its Teen Substance Abuse Problem”   Great tale with numerous facets with multiple-multiple pathways.

Here’s a “final” paper from our outgoing Drug Czar, Michael Botticelli; Director of the Office of National Drug Policy.

Lastly, here’s Governor Roy Cooper’s recommended budget 2017-2019

So Keep on chooglin’ out there,