- Welcome to FALL 2022 - How to prepare for the best holiday ever
- News from Headquarters - Change
- Book Study - Spot like A Boss - October 16
- Stigma-Busting Gifts for You!
- Coming SOON! The new Revised Edition of Mental Health Through Will Training
- Stories of Hope - RI in Japanese
- Stories of Hope Video - Naomi tells about how RI has helped her and her Japanese husband have a more peaceful marriage
- Wisdom of Dr. Low - Decision to bear discomfort
- Recovery Examples - To spot is to know that we don't know, Realism, Courage to make mistakes
- Roaming the Globe - Featuring Elizabeth B's new meeting in Area 131 and the Area 141 Annual Picnic
- Members Corner – Endorsing Legacy Gift from Suzanne, Longtime Member Kathy, plus Poetry Corner
- Call for Submissions
Welcome to the 2022 Holiday Season!
Welcome to the Holiday Season! This is the time of year when many of us get overwhelmed by expectations. Some of us get frantic and try to overdo. Others shut down. Have you ever heard yourself saying, "I always get ________ during the holidays?" Why not spot the deception in thinking that you can't change your reactions?
Preparing for the best holiday ever is about having doubts and discomfort, but using the Recovery tools to observe our deception. In many readings, Dr. Low reminds us not to interpret our thoughts in harmful ways, but to interpret them Recovery’s way (see Manage Your Fears Manage Your Anger, page 258). Many people repeat the same habits every year convinced that they "get depressed during the holidays." If so, according to Dr. Low, why not recognize the deceptive thoughts that are attached to those feelings and replace them with Recovery's concepts? (see Feelings are not Facts, Mental Health Through Will Training, page 118).
Spotting techniques are very powerful and can be applied during the hectic holiday season or anytime - even the most persistent negative thought patterns can change.
Endorse. And keep practicing!
Wishing you a happy, healthy Holiday Season —
Your editors, Helen and Dave
BOOK STUDY - October 16
See you on Sunday, October 16, 2022, 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 send an email to email@example.com
The book study will last one hour, continuing our current series on Habits.
SPOT LIKE A BOSS is an exploration of the powerful spotting practice for changing habits as taught by Dr. Low to the original members of Recovery. These book studies are about Dr. Low's powerful spotting techniques for changing HABITS.
Dr. Low said that the final cure is when you don’t have symptoms. When I read that I wondered why I kept on having symptoms and having to do examples to calm myself down. What was I missing? Join us to find out!!
See you then!
News from Headquarters
“Nervous people don’t like change” is a phrase I hear often. Well, most people don’t like change—“nervous” or not! It helps if we can think about it and prepare for it, which is why we announced my upcoming retirement at the Annual Meeting last May. The search is on, and the Board is interviewing a pool of talented candidates. The aim is to bring someone on with time for overlap between the two of us for training and to generally facilitate a smooth transition.
In the meantime, there is plenty to do—finishing up the new edition of Mental Health Through Will-Training, starting work on a smartphone app, and raising funds to keep the organization afloat!
As a non-profit, we rely on contributions and grants to survive and keep programs going. I recently did some research on support groups. Did you know that many counselors charge anywhere from $20-$70 per session for participating in weekly support groups? I had no idea. And, I’m sure they are worth it. But, it shows what a “good deal” RI is—we ask $5-$10 as a meeting contribution from those who can afford it. We still won’t to turn anyone away, but we do need to cover costs of technology, staff, printing, insurance, etc. in order to run the meetings.
Thankfully, there are many who give above and beyond meeting donations. We have been blessed with the generosity of donors who have pitched in to fund special projects such as the youth program, translating materials into Spanish, re-do the website, and increase social media outreach. All these efforts help us reach newcomers and teach the Recovery Method to others seeking help.
So decide, plan and act, to support RI, and to support change, and — of course — endorse!
A very Happy Holiday Season to our wonderful staff, leaders and ALL of our generous donors and volunteers!
Sandra K. Wilcoxon, CEO
Stigma-busting gifts for you!
We're trying something new this holiday season…member and donor premiums! These serve two purposes. First, we want to thank you for your support with a small token of appreciation. Second, by using the tote bag, you let others know that you support programs for better mental health, which helps eliminate the stigma and might start a conversation.
Tote bag: For new and renewing members, sign up HERE
(Already have enough tote bags? Simply opt out of receiving the gift!)
And coming soon, swag for Annual Fund Gifts!
Holiday Sing-a-Long and Variety Show
Please join us for our third virtual Holiday Sing-a-Long and Variety Show -- RI style, as we showcase members and their creativity!
If you want to get on the program agenda with an RI related song, poem, or story (for about 3 minutes), please e-mail Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org by December 1st.
Any RI member is welcome to attend. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Last year's event was fun and entertaining and filled with laughs! We hope you can join us this year.
Like a rising Phoenix, the Recovery Method gave me a new insight.
On entering college, I was imagining beautiful dreams for my life, but I was struck by mental health challenges in the middle of studies. Mental health challenges weret paralyzing and emotionally draining. I experienced a roller-coaster of symptoms and I got help from medication, but it brought me no joy, no happiness and basically no cure. There was a certain amount of restlessness underlying the calmness I showed on my face.
After suffering through various entanglements of life, I was introduced to the Eklavya group in Pune, India by my psychologist friend. This group uses the Recovery Method. It's a very simple method. In four steps, you are relieved of your anxiety and restlessness. It gives you a unique solution and is a safe and trustworthy method. Every Saturday we have our group meeting. It gave me a new life, like a transformation of ashes to a rising Phoenix.
RI's Recovery Method is an international program, easily accessible online, by phone or in person, that can bring out the best in every suffering individual. People with mental health challenges should take advantage of it.
This May during Mental Health Awareness Month, I appeal to all such people to come forward and take help for their emotional turmoil. We don't come across such genuine helpful groups very often in life. It's just one click or phone call away!
Dr. Pallavi Gambhir, Pune, India
A version of this story appeared in the Daily Maharashtra Times, Pune Plus on 6th October 2021 and can be viewed by going to https://bit.ly/3IdVV4g
Mental Health Through Will-Training
The original book was first published in 1950. It was written in a different era by a brilliant Polish-born, Viennese-educated neuropsychiatrist practicing in Chicago. Dr. Abraham Low’s work influenced many other mental health professionals, and laid the foundation for what was soon to become known as cognitive behavioral therapy. He was also a strong proponent of people with lived experience leading by example and helping others, a concept that has now become accepted as the Peer Leader movement in the aid of therapeutic treatment.
However, the English language has evolved since the original book was written, and some of the sentence structures and phrasing in the book seem quaint or out of date. Most of the changes in the book have to do with brevity and shifts in accepted usage. For example:
“In the adult person who has achieved maturity,” becomes “In the mature adult…”
“in your place of employment” becomes “at work”
Some chapters were originally based on lectures rather than articles, and minor adjustments have been made to better follow written conventions. In a few instances, we changed the names of the patients, or removed extremely old-fashioned references such as to telephone party lines and streetcars. Occasionally, full sentences or paragraphs were removed for clarity. Regardless of these, the goal was to keep the overall meaning and integrity intact.
We have also added learning aids such as Key Concepts and Tools lists at the beginning of each chapter, and Advanced Spotting at the end. These are intended to be a starting reference point for each chapter, and to help people reflect on the readings afterward. As always, we fully expect that readers will continue to find additional tools and words of wisdom within the text that will be helpful to their personal journey.
We trust that readers and meeting participants will continue to use their current books—especially if they’ve been marked up and favorite spots or phrases highlighted. Once released, if others start bringing the books to meetings, there will be some minor differences here and there, but the discomfort should be minimal and the message should be the same. You can even use your sense of humor if reading in a group setting: “Well, that’s close to what my book says! My next paragraph starts out. . .”
This project was made possible by the help of many people, starting and ending with Phyllis Low Berning and Marilyn Low Schmitt, a team of “spot-checkers,” selected long-time leaders as reviewers, a dedicated copy and content editor, and numerous others. Our aim is to release the new edition in early in 2023. We hope this revised edition will help a new generation learn the Recovery Method and achieve better mental health.
Stories of Hope
My Japanese husband and I have been married since 1988. There have been a lot of challenging cultural and personality differences between us because I am a 2nd generation Japanese American. Even though I lived in Japan for over 10 years and have worked with Japanese people for nearly 40 years, our marriage has not been easy. There came a turning point last year when my husband had a major breakdown and I had to draw the line. I said that he needed to get help.
After going through several therapists, we came across Recovery International by chance. You see, I started a nonprofit organization called "1000 Cranes for Recovery" to better serve the Asian American community. RI was highly recommended by one of my board members. We learned that the RI Method was founded by psychiatrist Abraham Low, M.D. more than 80 years ago. It is not therapy, counseling, or medical advice; rather it is a peer-led, self-help group using the RI Tools that help people think and act calmly and rationally in situations when they become overly emotional. It is similar to the evidence-based cognitive behavior therapy (CBT).
This has the potential to be culturally relevant for the Japanese population seeking ways to deal with everyday incidents that can cause stress, anxiety, depression, and anger. I was intrigued because it is a self-help group, so it is less stigmatizing. Cultural stigma is the leading cause for Asian Americans to be three times less likely to seek treatment until a major breakdown occurs. Another reason to not seek treatment is the language barrier. So my husband and I started to form an RI subgroup in Japanese to review what was discussed at our RI sessions. We hope to be able to help RI translate materials into Japanese.
I recently invited a group of Japanese speakers to meet on Zoom. There were six of us including my husband and me. I explained the example format and showed them some of the RI tools translated into Japanese. Then my husband and I gave examples, with other members reading the steps.
This is a screen shot from that Zoom. The writing on the left is the example sheet. The writing on the right is from the new workbook called Better.Mental.Health for Everyone.
If you or someone you know might be interested in learning more about this effort, I would love to talk to you. Please feel free to email me.
Stories of Hope Video Series
Good mental health is a universal need, and the Recovery Language is a universal language that translates across cultures and languages, from Spanish to French to Marathi (India) and now Japanese. This issue's featured guest is Naomi, who is new to RI but is already seeing the benefit to her and her Japanese husband as they strive to bridge the language and cultural gap that makes it difficult for people from Asian cultures who are struggling with nervous symptoms to seek and find help.
CLICK HERE to watch this episode where Naomi shares what brought her to RI and how she plans to help Japanese and other Asians and Asian-Americans to achieve calm and peace. Naomi sat down for a "Stories of Hope" video with NAMI to talk about her experiences dealing with her son and about her childhood growing up in the United States with immigrant parents. Please be aware that she discusses highly sensitive topics and very disturbing family issues. You can watch this video HERE .
Wisdom of Dr. Low
On our way to church one Sunday my husband told me he would have to stay after the services to attend a meeting. I instantly became angry. I told him he should have let me know about the meeting earlier as I had a roast, with potatoes in the oven and had asked our daughter and her husband to come for dinner promptly at 12:30.
My husband suggested that I drive the car home. He said that he would come home with one of the other members of the congregation. To this I replied, in temper, "but you know how I hate to drive in heavy traffic."
At this point we were about to enter the church so our discussion was terminated. After we had taken our seats I noticed that I had symptoms - hand tremors, preoccupation, and I felt very self-conscious. Realizing, then, that I had been indulging in temper, I made up my mind that I would solidly reject the idea that my husband was wrong for not informing me earlier about the meeting. I decided that I would 'bear the discomfort' of driving home alone and of keeping my husband's dinner warm for him until he arrived.
Within a few minutes after I decided to discard my temper the symptoms left and I was able to appreciate the services. Before Recovery I would have vacillated back and forth between blaming my husband and not blaming him and the symptoms would have gone on and on.
Dr. Low's Comment: None because the example speaks for itself. It is to the point, brief and well modeled after the official pattern.
From Selections from Dr. Low's Works, page 119
I went into the swimming pool and then received a text that a huge snake was in the pool that morning. I became worked up!
I had palpitations, air hunger, and tenseness all over. I had discomfort of having to see a snake in the pool. My angry thought was, "Why do snakes keep going in the pool!?" My fearful thought was of possibly getting hurt by the snake. My impulse was to scream after the fact.
My angry temper was that there was something wrong that snakes are able to get into the pool. I spotted that it was a startle. All I know is that I don't know why this happens. Don’t dig, probe, or analyze. Drop the judgment! The snake was not aiming at me specifically. The bulk of our symptoms come from frightening beliefs. Do not let my imagination take over the reality of the situation. Worry with reflective calm and not emotional hysteria. When we see ourselves as victims we do not use our own inner resources. I commanded my muscles to write out this example. I endorsed for controlling my speech muscles.
Before my RI training, when I had no tools to use, I would have called everyone up and made it an emergency. Now I realize it was just a complication. I controlled my speech muscles and realized it was a triviality compared to my mental health!
When I woke up in the morning I felt tired and didn’t want to get up. This has been going on a lot lately.
I had the disturbing impulse to stay in bed. Then the thoughts came up regarding the mistakes I’ve made in the past and regrets of the things that I should have done and didn’t do. I had tension in my shoulders and back. I had lowered feelings and a feeling of crying inside my chest.
I spotted that it is sabotage to lie in bed and think these thoughts. I could move my muscles to get up. I remembered that muscles will obey commands if the command is made resolutely. I told myself I would get up no matter how tired I felt, and that those feelings of nervous fatigue are distressing but not dangerous. I could trigger spot thoughts and change them. I spotted that regrets are average and that it was fearful temper in the form of blaming myself that made me feel so bad. I spotted that the past is outer environment, and don’t let outer environment reach me over the bridge of temper. I endorsed for getting out of bed. That was a toughie. I endorse myself for all the times I’ve practiced Recovery.
Before Recovery I would have stayed in bed wishing that I weren’t alive and I would have cried for a long time. I wouldn’t have known about fearful temper and how it makes you sick. I would have believed those thoughts that I was a terrible person and I would have felt worse and worse. I could have eventually gone into the hospital.
So Grateful to Recovery!
Heather, Los Gatos, CA
One Saturday last fall, I had occasion to go to the Union Station after the Saturday meeting. Harriette and I were going out of town to visit her parents. As Harriette was working, I was to meet her at the station before train time.
I left the Recovery office around five o'clock which was plenty early as the train didn't leave until six. I walked over to the bus stop to get the Jackson Blvd. bus. I expected one to arrive in a very few minutes. A number of buses passed and I was beginning to get a little anxious and tense. I still had plenty of time but it was growing shorter. Then I started looking toward Michigan Blvd. where the bus should turn from the South. I noticed that numerous buses passed along the Boulevard but none of them turned; all continued going North. The endless procession of North side buses went on. Now twenty minutes had passed and I really was worried because my time was running short. I began to think I would take a cab. Just then a person who had also been waiting for a bus for some time came up to me and asked me what bus I was waiting for. I said, "I am waiting for the #26 Jackson Blvd. bus." This stranger said, "If I am not mistaken I believe that that bus turns on Jackson Blvd." I was dumbfounded. Here I, a man who has lived in Chicago for 35 years, had waited a half hour on Adams for the Jackson bus.
By the time the stranger had straightened me out there was so little time left that I scurried about and got a cab. I was too taken up with this business to notice any symptoms but a couple of minutes later when I was seated in the cab I noticed them. I was extremely tense and was sitting on the edge of my seat, my stomach was knotted up, I was so disgusted with myself that I almost felt like crying, I had an acute headache and my vision was blurred. A few minutes before, I had been in good spirits and now I was deeply depressed. I kept thinking, over and over to myself how stupid I had been, not knowing the difference between Adams and Jackson after 35 years.
More symptoms developed. I got chest pressures and numbness in my legs, and my thoughts were racing a mile a minute.
Soon I spotted what I was doing. I was working myself up by continuously blaming myself and by dwelling on the fact that I had stood on the wrong corner. I decided that the working up process had to stop. I remembered that it is average to make mistakes. And that countless people must have waited on wrong corners as I had done. In fact, I then recalled that I had done the same thing several times before. I also recalled that on the train I ride every night it practically never fails that there isn't at least one person who has taken the wrong train by mistake. I began to relax, sat back on my seat and waited until we reached the station.
By the time I met Harriette at the station, my symptoms had evaporated. I told her what had happened and she just laughed. Sometime later when we had returned from our trip I told several of the Recovery members about the incident. None of them seemed to regard the incident as a cataclysmic event. I later told a fellow at work and he didn't seem a bit astonished either.
Before I had my Recovery training, the fear of making mistakes was, with me, the preoccupation of my every waking moment. It was an obsession with me, my every waking moment was devoted to past, present and future mistakes. I ate, slept and breathed mistakes. The result of this never-ending preoccupation with mistakes were constant symptoms such as: poor sleep; poor appetite; fatigue; depression; my thoughts were the dreariest and most pessimistic kind; palpitations; tremors, night sweats; confusion; indecision; self-disgust; lack of self-confidence and constant tenseness. Today I get symptoms but spot and stop them quickly. I can do that now because in Recovery I have learned to have the COURAGE TO MAKE MISTAKES in the trivialities of daily life.
Frank R., Chicago, IL
Dr. Low's Comment: After reading Frank's example Dr. Low declared that Frank gave such an excellent description of his sabotaging and subsequent spotting and self-control that no further comment seems to be called for.
From Selections from Dr. Low's Works , page 107
Click on the icons below for more examples and stories from RI members.
Roaming the Globe
Elizabeth B. graduated from leader training and started an in-person group at St. Joseph's Church in Ronkonkoma, NY at the age of 70. She reports, "I have an assistant leader named John. The group is run according to Recovery guidelines and the group has four to seven people a week. Recently, we had as many as nine people. People are getting better in my group."
Endorse, Elizabeth for moving your muscles in the service of others!
As we have for over a decade, we hosted the 2022 RI Area 141 Annual Summer Picnic in August. More than ten volunteers met on a beautiful sunny afternoon at Armco Park just west of Lebanon, Ohio, for some grilled hot dogs, hamburgers, salads, pies and lemonade.
We talked and threw Frisbee before taking a short hike on a small trail inside the park. Group Leader, Julie Smith and her spouse made a long drive up from Kentucky to join members from Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio. Paul Hines and his spouse drove in from Buckeye Country near Columbus, Ohio.
The RI Annual Summer Picnic is hosted in appreciation of volunteers who do so much to support Recovery International.
We hope you enjoyed last summer. We’re looking forward to the holidays!
Suzanne Plain Walder was a Group Leader in Los Angeles for more than 45 years. She was greatly loved and admired for her patience and compassion. As Bob D. said, “Suzanne was a strict leader, but in a gentle way that was highly effective. She had a deep mastery of the method and inspired many to make a business of their mental health.”
Throughout much of her adult life, Suzanne struggled with depression. She sought treatments and counseling, and in LA she found Recovery meetings to be helpful. She became a Group Leader in the 1980s, mentoring countless others over the years.
Planning ahead, Suzanne sought to leave a legacy that would have a significant impact on future generations. When she passed away from cancer in August, 2021, she left most of her estate to Recovery International. This substantial gift will support programs to serve thousands of people far into the future. Our regular meetings, leader training, youth program, Veterans Initiative—all will benefit from Suzanne’s thoughtfulness and generosity!
If you would like to make a bequest to support RI, simply contact your attorney or Sandra Wilcoxon, CEO, at email@example.com for sample language and more information.
Area 155 - Delaware Valley - Congratulations, Kathy!!!
I learned about Recovery from an article in a Philadelphia newspaper. I carried the article for a long time before I decided to go to a meeting (at the urging of my Mom). I have dealt with anxiety and panic attacks on occasion from a young age. Around the age of 30 I was hit hard with depression while married and raising a young child. No one believed me when I would say “nothing caused the depression, it just happened.” They would say “something had to trigger it.” My first Recovery Meeting was in 1988 in Bryn Mawr, PA led by Rosemary Winters. As soon as I met the members and learned it is a “fate appointed illness,” I calmed down right away. I told myself “they understand.” I knew Recovery was for me. For a long time, I would carry my Mental Health Through Will Training book with me everywhere I went. I can’t remember when I stopped carrying it.
Recovery changed my life. Learning to help myself by using the Recovery spotting techniques and practicing them every day has made me a stronger and more outgoing person. My sense of humor has come a long way and my depression and panics are few and far between. And, I have made many good and supportive friends through Recovery.
I currently lead the Swarthmore, PA Area #155 group, and I am administrator on the official Recovery International Facebook page. Our Swarthmore, PA meeting is held on Wednesdays at 7:00 pm via Zoom. This is a great group of people. Join us any time. We would love it!
I am now 63 years old and I believe the best is yet to come! I am so grateful for Dr. Low and RI.
Making a business of my mental health,
Kathy S., Leader, Swarthmore, PA
Holidays are giving days.
We can reach out in many ways
to people who we know and love
and all those we are thinking of.
Send a card, buy a gift,
which will surely give a lift
to those who know and love you, too.
Or just a call on phone will do.
No strings attached when gifts you make.
Response is icing on the cake.
Expectations would negate
the pleasure a gift to you would pay.
We need expressions of loving care
to make us happy and aware
that there is goodness in the world,
and to keep us out of negative whirls.
Give to others and you will find
that you are feeling awfully kind.
Just for giving, you’ll impart
a deep reward to your own heart.
Fran G., New Orleans
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.
- 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mailed items should be sent to Headquarters:
1415 W. 22nd St., Tower Floor
Oak Brook IL 60523