Fall 2021

Recovery Reporter Fall 2021

Welcome to the 2021 HOLIDAY SEASON

FALL is here

Fall is here! And just like that the holidays will be, too. As we near the end of another challenging year, many of us could use some spirited joyfulness! There’s often an expectation that holidays should be joyous, but we know that expectations can lead to disappointments and frustrations. People may feel pressure to preserve the festive mood for those around them, and if we’re not feeling it this year, how can we keep our best mental health and truly enjoy ourselves as well?

In Dr. Low’s wise words on validity and vitality, “The grief experienced on the job is neatly balanced and perhaps cancelled out by the joy accorded you in the domestic sphere." In other words, balance is key. We can continue practicing the RI method of moving our muscles to create vitalizing experiences. Perhaps after a disappointment we could go for a brisk walk, visit a friend, or make a five-minute phone call. We can focus on developing good habits, like the habit of moving our muscles. Every part act that helps us toward better mental health is something we can endorse for. Regardless of outer environment, we can enjoy the magic of the season, stay safe and healthy, and approach the new year with hope and vitality.

           — Wishing you a happy, healthy Holiday Season 

                          Your editors, Helen and Dave


October 10 is World Mental Health Day and we are celebrating!! Join us for another resourceful boost for your mental health from the readings of Dr. Low!! We will focus on self-leadership. SELF LEADERSHIP is based on the practice of self-care - moving your muscles.

We will discuss how adding good habits that nourish our mental health can be an effective way to build resilience.

It will take place on Sunday, October 10, 2021, at 2pm Pacific and Arizona, 3pm Mountain, 4pm Central, and 5pm Eastern and Puerto Rico. If you DIDN'T receive an email for the last Book Study, please please go to https://www.davesdecafe.com/ to sign up and receive the Zoom information. You will receive a reminder email with the Zoom information the week before.

World Mental Health Day is October 10.

World Mental Health Day is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy. It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in more than 150 countries.

News from Headquarters

As I write this, I am very thankful for all our members and donors who have supported us through these challenging times. Recovery is still here because of YOU! and your gifts enable us to help others who cannot contribute right now.

This is the time of year we look backwards and forward. We evaluate past performance and identify priorities for the new year. One thing that is clear, we need to reach out to newcomers—we need to welcome them and help them learn the RI language and method; we need to share our stories of how RI has helped us, and we need to mentor new leaders. If Recovery is to remain relevant to the next generation, if we are to survive as an organization through tough times, we must expand our outreach and programs in new ways. This process has begun—as we shifted many meetings to Zoom and phone conference calls, and as we launched our youth program.

We hope that more community meetings will be able to re-open again soon, as the in-person experience is unique and a great way to demonstrate the Recovery Method. However, we also know remote meetings enable people to attend from anywhere! So, they are here to stay.

What else can we do to help people struggling with symptoms? An app, perhaps? New books and materials? All these are being looked at for future projects. As we work on these, please continue to support RI, continue to welcome newcomers, and continue to endorse. Thank you,

Sandra K. Wilcoxon, CEO

A very Happy Holiday Season to our wonderful staff, leaders and ALL of our generous donors and volunteers!


In September of 2017, the VA released findings from a comprehensive examination of more than 55 million records from 1979 to 2014. Some staggering statistics that resulted from that study include:

  • The risk of suicide was 22% higher for veterans than non-veterans.
  • Roughly 20 veterans committed suicide each day in 2014.
  • Veterans made up only 8.5% of the US population, but accounted for 18% of all deaths by suicide.
  • In 2014, rates of suicide were highest among younger veterans (ages 18-29) and lowest among older veterans (60 and older).

All of these statistics demonstrate a great need by the veteran community for mental health support. How can you help our nation’s veterans and service members?

Introduce service members, military families, and veterans to Recovery International’s over 80-year proven method for better mental health! Promote awareness of Recovery International tools/methods and their evidence-based effectiveness to gain impulse control by identifying angry and/or fearful-based responses and triggers. The RI Method targets symptoms associated with PTSD, suicidal ideations, depression, anxiety, etc., that often prevent service members and veterans from successfully integrating into civilian life. Recovery International provides a safe and confidential environment for veterans and service members to support one another as they learn to manage these conditions. There are various ways they can be introduced.

  • Listen (or participate in) a Recovery International meeting by telephone, Zoom or chat. There are regular veteran-led online Recovery International meetings every Sunday morning. (Go to https://recoveryinternational.org/ and select “Meetings” then “Online Meetings.”  Then click “Register for Zoom Meetings.”)
  • Learn more about Recovery International and its tools. (Go to https://recoveryinternational.org/newcomer/ to learn more about basic concepts and what to expect during a Recovery International meeting.)
  • Please Donate to Recovery International’s Veterans Initiative! Help us get the word out to our Nation’s veterans and service members. (Go to https://recoveryinternational.org/ and select “Support” then “Donate”. Toward the bottom of the donation form is a “Campaign” drop down menu. Choose the option “Veterans Initiative.”)
  • Volunteer to be an active member of Recovery International’s Veterans Initiative. The mission of RI’s Veterans Initiative is to utilize the evidence-based, cognitive-behavioral, peer-to-peer, self-help training system developed by Abraham Low, MD to help service members, military families and veterans gain skills to lead more peaceful and productive lives. Go to https://recoveryinternational.org/ select “Support” then “Volunteer”. Click “Volunteer Form” and specify that you are volunteering for the Veterans Initiative.

Thank you!

Michelle Barker, Veterans Initiative, Chair

(Dr. Abraham Low, circa 1916, medical officer in Austrian Army)

Stories of Hope


I would like to share how important it has been for me to have phone meetings at this time. Now more than ever, when most of us have been in symptoms with the situations that we have all been facing. I have been attending Erin B.'s Wednesday phone meetings for a few months now. Erin is so caring and welcoming; encouraging us all to keep practicing the Recovery Method. I'm hoping that her meetings will continue in the future.

She has also been diligent in giving us information on the Facebook Meeting Page and other sources for RI.

She continually reminds us how important it is to keep up our membership and to continue to support RI by donations. Erin is a true RI Cheerleader!

Thank you!
Irene L., Area 25

Stories of Hope Audio series

CLICK HERE to listen to this episode of our SoundCloud audio, where US Army Veteran, Pat, finds relief from PTSD with the RI cognitive-behavioral practice.

Tune in to our Audio Interviewing Series with members and special guests here!

If you know someone who could benefit from the RI Method or a professional who might recommend us to clients, please copy this link into an email and send it to them: https://soundcloud.com/recovery-international/

Wisdom of Dr. Low

Validity and Vitality

Feelings of security give the person a sense of efficiency and adequacy. They are exciting, stirring, stimulating. They make the person feel vital and dynamic. The converse is true of the feelings of insecurity. They produce a sense of weakness, helplessness and inadequacy. If they predominate, the person lacks the sense of vitality and dynamism. This is different with sentiments. If you are moved or affected by sympathy or by the spirit of fellowship, you will hardly experience the flush of vitality or the push of dynamism. You will merely acknowledge that you did a good turn or that you conformed to the group standards of duty and responsibility, that you did the right thing and lived up to your principles. This will give you a sense of right-thinking and right-acting. Your behavior was in accord with established values; it was valid but not necessarily vital. Feelings express vitality or the lack of it; sentiments stand for validity or the lack of it. A person driven on by his feelings is vital, perhaps also colorful and forceful; a personality guided by group-approved sentiments is valid, perhaps also colorless and dull.

The daily life of the average person is so arranged that feelings and sentiments are held in a fair state of equilibrium. You feel distressed at a rebuff suffered in your place of employment, but returning home in the evening, you enjoy the comfort and peace of your home, the loyalty of your spouse and the loveliness of your children. The grief experienced on the job is neatly balanced and perhaps cancelled out by the joy accorded you in the domestic sphere. Or, you are worried by the thought of having defaulted on some duty, but your sense of failure is soon counterbalanced by the evidence of an accomplishment that raises your morale. Today you have misgivings about your standing among neighbors and friends; tomorrow you will have proof positive that you are well thought of. Grief is balanced by joy, failure by accomplishment. In this manner, both your vitality and your validity are kept in a satisfactory state of adjustment.

From Mental Health Through Will Training, page 318

Recovery Examples

Sharing an example is an integral part of service, thank you!

To spot is to know that you don't know

I went to my vet’s office with my new puppy from China, and the vet acted very aloof. I became worked up.

Symptoms: Palpitations, air hunger, tenseness especially in my neck and back, and a rise in blood pressure. Angry thoughts: Angry my dog, Maxie, is deceased as of 3 months ago, and he saw this vet for almost 17 years. Why is the vet not happy for me? A new puppy can bring me much joy now. Fearful thoughts: Threat to my social personality. I did the wrong thing by adopting this puppy from China. I had to bear the discomfort in his office. Impulse to scream at him and his staff.

Step 3: I spotted right away, and realized not to take him seriously. I also realized not to let outer environment cross over the bridge of temper to my inner environment. Other spots: We only know that we don’t know. Avoid premature conclusions and imaginative thoughts. Drop the judgment against him - he is not aiming at me specifically. For the sake of my mental health, avoid the intuitive conclusion of a deliberate insult. This is the startle of the barking dog. Don’t dig, probe, or analyze. Just when I think that I have reached the end of my rope, the rope suddenly gets longer and never ends. Dwell on it, expand on it and deepen it, and the sky is the limit how far I can work this up!

I endorsed for working this down, writing out this example, and controlling my speech muscles, and for bearing the discomfort in order to gain comfort.

Before RI I would have not had any tools to work this down. I would have also complained to everyone that would listen to me. I would have taken this out on myself and been resentful of him.

Thank you,

Reona Z.

Excuse rather than accuse

The situation: I was upset at my family members' behavior.

Symptoms were lowered feelings and angry thoughts.

I had angry temper, thinking that the family members were wrong to behave that way.

I remembered Dr. Abraham Low's recovery tools, "Excuse rather than accuse." "Be group minded." I bought some gifts for my mother, daughter and husband and talked to them as usual. I used the tool, "Share your feelings with somebody who can be trusted to understand them." I talked with my mentor and his wife and also a friend. Sometimes we just want to talk to someone who knows your values. If others know how you survive for your career, and balance your work and family life, and how you achieve your goals in spite of many obstacles, than it helps to enhance your inner strength which helps your personal growth.

I endorsed myself.

Before my Recovery training, I would have kept feeling low and being upset. But this time I felt so relaxed.

Padma G.
Pune, India

Spotting and Control

Peggy's 9 year old girl broke her collar bone. One afternoon Peggy put the tea kettle on to heat some water for the hot water bottle to try to make her daughter more comfortable. While it was heating, Peggy lay down with her little girl and in a few minutes they were both sound asleep. When Peggy woke up, she thought about the tea kettle. Flying to the kitchen, she found the room white with steam and the kettle ruined. Peggy felt numb: What kind of a mother would fall asleep and neglect her injured child? What would her husband think?

Shocked as she was, she avoided, nevertheless, hysteria and wild processing. She knew that she must have the courage to make mistakes but she could not throw off remorse. Her sleep was scant and troubled that night and her thoughts went around and around that tea kettle. She was vaguely uncomfortable for several days until she finally calmed down.

Peggy said she could not understand why it took her so long to throw off the effects of this experience but through it all she realized that Recovery was helping her. Before Recovery, she would have secretly bought a new tea kettle to keep the mistake from being noticed. As it was, she told the family and they didn't seem to think a thing about it. Different members of the group then recalled times when they had "burned" the roast to a crisp, broken dishes with careless use of heat, etc. The important thing was that Peggy knew that all she was suffering
was discomfort and she was able, through her Recovery training, to prevent the vicious cycle from processing itself into a panic.

Peggy N.
Brighton, Michigan

Dr. Low's Comment:
This example is very apropos and needs little or no comment, except for one remark contained in it. Peggy "could not understand why it took so long to throw off the effects of this experience. . ." My answer is: I don't understand it either. And let me tell you, Peggy, there are so many things I do not understand that it would be physically impossible to catalogue them. I do not understand why, on some mornings, I arise and find myself devoid of my customary energy, or why on some occasions I am sprightly and mentally alert and on other occasions my spirit seems to have gone from me and my disposition reaches a low ebb of dullness and indolence that is truly appalling. And I do not understand at all why if I have some unfathomable difficulty it lasts five minutes the one day and two or three hours the other. All of this is beyond my comprehension. Fortunately, it is immaterial whether a nervous condition is or is not understood. What counts is the knowledge that every nervous symptom, no matter how mysterious and incomprehensible, can be controlled through spotting thoughts and commanding muscles. You see, no matter what subject patients will bring up, my answer is invariably and monotonously: Spot your thoughts and command your muscles!

Click on the icons below for more examples and stories from RI members.

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If you have questions, email info@recoveryinternational.org

Roaming the Globe



"Recently we’ve had around six new people coming to our Friday 6 PM public meeting. One of our group members told their counselor about the meeting and now we are getting referrals. We have been training people on giving examples and some of them are leading examples as well. One person gave an example in his third meeting.

"I am writing a book of these examples. We will eventually publish it for people who are seeking mental health."

The Schizophrenia Awareness Association in Pune also sponsors two Recovery meetings, one for schizophrenia patients at 6 PM on Thursdays and one at 5:30 on Saturday for caregivers.


Pune, India

Chinmay is getting a masters degree in clinical psychology with a specialty in drug addiction treatment. He also volunteers with an organization that does reading and tutoring for children from 1st to 10th grades in underserved communities. He attends both the community Recovery meeting in Pune and the San Francisco Wednesday night meeting. When he becomes a practicing counselor, he plans to hold Recovery meetings for his clients to attend and train them to be leaders.

This is a Ganesh sculpture that he made and painted for the big upcoming festival.

 Area 25

RI is happy to collaborate with a nonprofit group called Honor Flight San Diego. Honor Flight San Diego works to coordinate the flights of US military veterans from San Diego to Washington, DC, and again home to San Diego, CA over a long weekend at no cost to them, while showing them some memorials and landmarks in Washington, DC.

Letters written from volunteers in thanks to the US Vets from all over are presented to them as part of the experience. We encourage RI volunteers to write kind letters of appreciation to these lucky veterans thanking them for their years of service, the commitment they make to military life and for serving the USA.

Send your letters of appreciation to:

Honor Flight San Diego
9423 Keck Court
San Diego, CA 92129

This OCTOBER RI Teams Up with Honor Flight San Diego!

We offer RI volunteers the chance to participate on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, at Lindbergh Field San Diego to greet the Honor Flight San Diego veterans. A homecoming ceremony for the Honor Flight San Diego veterans and their families will be at 2:45pm - but we recommend you arrive at 1:45pm, Terminal 2 baggage claim, American Airlines flight #9741. Expect to see and greet military personnel at San Diego International Airport in full dress, flag waving, cheering and singing. Bring a sign saying, "Welcome Home!" Volunteers are encouraged to pass out RI Veterans Program brochures and help circulate a sign-up sheet to the homecoming crowd to get the word out about the Recovery Four Step Method. Information about Honor Flight San Diego is available on their website. https://www.honorflightsandiego.org/

Volunteer opportunities to fly along with the selected veterans as "Guardians,” are also available on the above listed website. The RI Veterans Program brings cognitive behavioral self-help to our US veterans and their families, providing a resource for coping with PTSD, low grade depression, anxiety issues and the trivialities of everyday life.

Warmest regards and thanks!

Please contact me with any questions:

Scott Bushman, Veterans Program Committee


Members Corner

Virtually or in-person, It's Always a Great Time for a Picnic!

What a wonderful first event! The first ever ONLINE PICNIC! Over 40 people gathered to celebrate the success of the online meetings and our expanding reach. As you know, many of the areas host a fun gathering to build comradery and reminisce about the previous year's accomplishments. For the past seven years we have continued to grow the online meetings and made a commitment to keep up with the ever-expanding technology. The past year has provided us the opportunity to fulfill this commitment. In 2020, we served over 4,000 participants and I am truly grateful to all of the leaders, volunteers, assistants, RI staff and board members for all of their support. I also want to say thank you to all of those thousands of participants who have joined us this past year! We have seen members from Japan, Canada, Ireland, Great Britain, Amsterdam and Australia, and from all over the United States.

I hope everyone is endorsing for their efforts. Dr. Low would be so proud! I hope to see everyone there next year.

Steve Ferradino, Online Manager

Area 141 - South Central Ohio and Kentucky Picnic

Members of Area 141 were thrilled to get together outside for a picnic on July 31st at Armco park in Lebanon, OH. We shared food and laughs in a beautiful park like setting. We introduced ourselves (since some had not met each other face to face) and shared our favorite spots.

Kelly O, Area 141 leader


I came to my first meeting, where all said to endorse.

I patted my left shoulder and felt silly, of course.

I did it now and then, with no reward inside.

Not yet a real connect, although I duly tried.

Encouraged in the meetings, I patted ever more.

It started to have meaning, the more that I endorsed!

Somehow, some way it opened, and managed that I grew

A deep sense of self-value that before I never knew.

Valuing myself and what I know from Dr. Low,

I feel my self-endorsement all the way down to my toes!

Dr. Low Shows the Way

A moment of spotting

dispels the fear,

provides an opening

through the shield of tenseness in my body

that was hiding the vulnerability buried in my heart.

Elusive feelings, meanings unclear, memory not there…

It doesn’t matter!

I don’t need to know the why!

I only need the spots.

Spotting is the key to unlock

the way to being well.

Fran G.
New Orleans, Louisiana Area 75

 Thank you for your service!

Call for submissions!

Have you or someone you know dedicated 25 or more years to practicing the RI Method?

Help us honor our longtime members here in Members Corner! We are going to feature our long-serving heroes in each issue of the Reporter.

Send us:

  • A photo
  • A short description
    • What challenge/problem did RI solve for you?
    • What are your favorite spots?
    • Why would you recommend RI?
  • Highlight the meeting you attended (City, day, time and any leadership roles taken on)

Please also submit your Stories of Hope, Examples and local news for Roaming the Globe for the next Reporter.

Submission guidelines:

We would like thank all of our contributors, without whom the Recovery Reporter would not be possible. Before sending submissions, please read the following submission guidelines.

  • Please keep submissions as short as possible, roughly 3 paragraphs in length, which is approximately 300 words.
  • Please identify all submissions with first name and last name initial only, area number (if you know it), town, and state or country.
  • Photos: Please if possible submit clear photos whenever possible.
  • Please no bold or italics.
  • Please adhere to the deadlines for each issue.
  • When the volume of submissions exceeds our page limits, it may be unfortunately necessary to exclude some submissions.
  • Please send only submissions pertinent to the Recovery Reporter

PRIVACY: To protect the privacy and confidentiality of all members, please use only first name and the initial of the last name of people. Please be aware that the content you submit is NOT private because we cannot control how it is shared and therefore it may be accessible to the public.

The views and opinions expressed by authors of articles appearing in the Reporter are those of the author of those articles and they are not necessarily the views and opinions of Recovery International or anyone affiliated with Recovery International.

Email your submission  to editor@recoveryinternational.org.

Mailed items should be sent to Headquarters:

Recovery International
1415 W. 22nd St., Tower Floor
Oak Brook IL 60523


If your email or address changes please be sure to notify us. If you are a Canadian member you should also notify Cindy H. at purple74@xplornet.com.

If you, or someone you know, is a paid member and isn’t receiving the Reporter, please let us know at info@recoveryinternational.org