Recovery Reporter Fall 2021
- Welcome to WINTER 2022 - New habits for a New Year
- News from Headquarters - Starting the new year with Gratitude
- Veterans Initiative - Honor Flight San Diego, A word to my fellow Veterans
- Stories of Hope - My muscles give me more than expected, Practicing the RI Method gives me choices
- Stories of Hope Audio - From self-leadership to meeting leadership
- Wisdom of Dr. Low - Seeking goals and reaching goals
- Recovery Examples - Spotting and muscle control
- Roaming the Globe Highlights - Reporter interviews founder of Pune India RI
- Members Corner - Inspiring poetry by RI members
- In Memoriam - Kathleen Mary Quinlan, Phyllis Cavaliere Young, Alice Berwert, Suzanne Walder, Barbara Anne Ryan, Geraldine Halland
- Call for Submissions - Your Stories of Hope, Examples, Local News and Members Corner
New habits for a new year!
Welcome to the new year and welcome to a brand new list of resolutions. If you're like most of us, resolutions might be a sticky subject and that’s precisely the point! According to some estimates, less than 10% of people actually stick to their resolutions each year, yet people continue to set goals with high hopes of a better year ahead.
Whether we want to take a trip, start an exercise regime, organize our home or achieve anything else in 2022, it’s all about sticking to our goals. And sticking to our goals means forming new habits! It’s important to make resolutions that have a deep importance to us, and keeping our mental health a priority is on the top of that list.
So how can we actually set ourselves up for success and keep calm and resolute as well? Well that is quite a personal choice. Choice is the gift we get from working the tools of the RI program. We’re a diverse lot but our common denominator is Dr. Low’s method. Whether we have small or large goals, RI is a tried and true resource to help us form new habits to achieve our goals and lead calmer and more productive lives.
"If I don’t establish new habits in him, then how can he get well? How can he acquire, then, the habits that he needs? And if a patient merely accepts what I tell him and goes ahead and applies the methods which I tell him to practice, if he does that once or twice, then he doesn’t establish habit. Everything that is done a few times is no habit yet. And without habits, he will continually fall back into his old ways, and the old ways are not good. His old ways are not good." — Manage Your Fears, Manage Your Anger lecture 35 page 212, FRUSTRATIONS, TRAINING AND HABITS
—Wishing you a happy, healthy NEW YEAR
Your editors, Helen and Dave
In our last Book Study, we continued on the topic of habits. We will elaborate on some of those topics and show how our daily practice can be reinforced to truly achieve success in whatever we have planned.
If you DIDN'T receive an email for the last Book Study, sign up at davesdecafe.com to receive information on the next date and time.
Details to be announced!!
News from Headquarters
Happy New Year!
News from Headquarters…
Looking back at the past year, I am so grateful to all our leaders, members, donors, board and staff for your support and commitment to Recovery’s mission during a very challenging year.
We appreciate all the group leaders who are starting to re-open in-person meetings, all the leaders who are running Zoom, telephone and chat meetings, all the area leaders who assist and mentor their group leaders. And we can't forget the volunteers who work on committees or special projects, coordinate events, promote RI meetings, help run the Facebook meeting page, edit the Reporter, and serve on the board. People who give of their time, and people who become members or make contributions are all essential to sharing the gift of better mental health with others!
Thank you for your part in supporting our mission and teaching Dr. Low’s method to those who need it.
Endorse, and wishing you all the best in the new year!
Sandra Wilcoxon, CEO
Thank you staff, volunteers, leaders and generous donors for all your support!!
If your email or address changes please be sure to notify us. If you are a Canadian member you should also notify Cindy Hutchins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you, or someone you know, is a paid member and isn’t receiving the Reporter, please let us know at email@example.com
Honor Flight San Diego and RI Area 25 work together to honor US Veterans
Recovery International Area 25 San Diego is proud to work with a non-profit organization called Honor Flight San Diego at the San Diego International Airport. Honor Flight San Diego coordinates to fly US military veterans from San Diego to Washington, DC and back home over a long weekend at no cost to them, while showing them some memorials and landmarks in Washington, DC. In early October, nearly 800 attendees showed up at the San Diego airport to greet the veterans, as RI volunteers welcomed and thanked them for their years of service, the commitment they make to military life and for serving the USA with respect while on duty. RI volunteers handed out over one hundred American flags to the attendees. Interviews by San Diego TV news affiliate ABCNews10 granted visibility to RI. VFW District 1 San Diego Commander Parks met Lisa G. and Scott B., and promised to support Recovery International's Veterans Program.
We are grateful to Holly Shaffner at Honor Flight San Diego for making the RI folks feel comfortable throughout the event! Look for more Honor Flight/RI events in the future!
Left Photo: Jeff B., Debbie N., Judi B., Lisa G.
Right Photo: Judi B., Scott B., Lisa G., Sharon L.
A word to my fellow Veterans: "I’m a man and I can take care of my own self.”
I joined Recovery International in 1990 and the reason I started going to Recovery’s self-help group meetings had nothing to do with my military service going back to the early 1960s. There were other factors that led to my feelings of anxiety and depression. They were: my former job as an ironworker, the death of both my parents in a short period of time and a few others. But, you know what? Whatever it was, it just simply happened and it happened to me. Of course it would have been helpful to know what to do as these things were happening, but I just didn’t know. And this is where the Recovery Method comes in.
Had I known the Recovery Method before my breakdown, there's a good chance I wouldn't have had the breakdown.
In 1990, I had gone to a mental health therapist and soon after to a psychiatrist and was put on medication and started feeling somewhat better, but I felt I needed more. While continuing therapy, I soon found out about Recovery International from a cousin of mine who said, “It was the best thing that ever happened to me out of all the doctors, therapists and medication I have taken.” After taking my cousin’s advice, I attended my first Recovery meeting. I soon realized I was now on my road to recovery. It’s been a lifetime love affair for me, my friends in Recovery, and to the many people who attend the Recovery meetings throughout the USA and other countries, as well.
What’s great about Recovery is that you learn a method and you put it into practice little by little until it becomes a natural part of your life each and every day of your life.
A word to my fellow veterans:
Whether you’ve served during peacetime or in war, for a short or long period of time, it really doesn’t matter. The stigma of mental health issues prevents many people from receiving the help they truly need. You may think as a veteran you should be able to handle life’s everyday problems, well think again and be wise. Besides veterans, there are many people who think this way: police officers, construction workers (ironworkers such as myself), doctors, professionals and so on. Simply being a male for instance; “I’m a man and I can take care of my own self.” If you have any thoughts such as what I’ve just mentioned, please be realistic, because mental health issues can attack anyone and it doesn’t care who you are and how tough you are.
Whether a veteran dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or a civilian, male or female, many of the stresses in life can fall on anyone’s shoulders and when it does, don’t be a fool, macho or whatever. Just get help and the sooner the better. The sources are out there: doctors, therapists, counselors, medication and my favorite: Recovery International, a peer-led, self-help mental health organization.
Army (Infantry) Veteran from Area #130 NYC
Stories of Hope
My muscles give me more than expected
Learning about leadership and muscles (Manage Your Fears, Manage Your Anger, lecture 20) was a path breaking experience for me. Because of the explanation, I realized I was doing the exact opposite. I was confusing my muscles every now and then. So, they were not obeying my commands in spite of ordering them to. Now, I realize the importance of clear thinking and commanding the muscles clean. It's a gift if you get to give clear instructions to your muscles; they respond beautifully. You get surprised what wonders it brings to you. I am so happy that today my muscles give me more than expected. It's an electric reaction. In no time, you see the result without your brain having to effort it out. There is not too much thinking, deliberation, over-carefulness required to do a particular task. Your muscles become honest and give you what you want, without any lethargy, tiredness and consequent dejection of no response.
Pallavi G., Pune India
With practice, I am seeing that when symptoms arise, I have a choice
Recovery International is helping me heal from a traumatic experience. In 2009-2011, I attended RI in San Diego and Los Angeles but then moved to an area that did not have in-person meetings. In October 2020, my 41-year-old husband had a stroke which changed my life. By January 2021, I started having panic attacks.
Since June, I have worked on my mental health with determination. The beginning was difficult as I navigated through frequent and nervous symptoms and panic experiences. Frequently, I would hear in meetings that after several months of RI, more tools would be acquired to handle my symptoms more effectively. I have been practicing RI for 5 months now and I can see the difference in handling my symptoms. My PTSD symptoms have improved and when something specific to my husband’s stroke comes up, such as a bill or specific reminder of the changes that have happened in my family, my nervous system is less confused about time and I realize that my trauma is in the past and is not happening at this time.
I still have continued recovery ahead. I am working on changing my thoughts and beliefs and this is helping my nervous system recover. I am changing my judgement of right and wrong and that is helping me to accept my symptoms and improve relationships in my life. As I continue to practice, I am seeing that when symptoms arise, I have a choice. I can choose to bear discomfort and I can choose the attitude I will take towards symptoms or situations. This allows me to practice the muscle method part of the program and command my will. Slowly, I am gaining confidence and restoring my mental health. I also see that because of my experiences and the tools that I have learned from RI, I am stronger than I was before my husband’s stroke.
Christina, University Place, WA
Stories of Hope Audio series
From self-leadership to meeting leadership
CLICK HERE or enter https://bit.ly/3FwHNlS into your browser to watch Dickson from Kampala, Uganda, share on YouTube about how using the RI method and Dr. Low’s teachings brought him relief from panics and sleeplessness. Now he is learning to be self-led by studying Dr. Low’s writings and giving examples at Zoom meetings. His goal is to become a meeting leader in Uganda to pay forward what he has received from the Recovery Method.
We also have other video interviews with members and special guests HERE! (https://bit.ly/3bXesEA)
Wisdom of Dr. Low
Seeking goals and reaching goals
"But if you plan, then you plan something that can be expressed in terms of seeking a goal or reaching a goal. You plan to reach a goal, to accomplish reaching it. And that’s what you call accomplishing, to set out for a goal and reach it. That’s the only kind of accomplishment, I think, we know in life. This accomplishing is done by the human being. Everything else happens to him. But this is done, this seeking for goals and reaching goals.
And if I want to reach goals, I have to employ means for reaching them. The means lead to the goals. …
So, will you understand that the patient, the nervous patient, is an individual that can plan, and reach his goals, and choose his means exactly like anybody else. He’s not mentally disturbed; he’s only nervously handicapped. But when he plans and when he sets out to accomplish what he plans, then his own body may interfere at any time, in any intensity. And that’s what makes the patient’s, the nervous patient’s, life such an ordeal, almost a nightmare. And I think it is a nightmare for most patients.
And you see, you must, in order to reach your goals in ordinary life and to employ the proper means, you must eliminate the disturbances of your own body. And that requires training.
And I only wanted to set the problem before you without going into any deeper discussion. I want to tell you that the purpose of this organization is not to teach the patient how to be smart and clever and efficient. Not at all. The patient is clever, as clever as people are. He is efficient, as efficient as average people are, and perhaps more - or less. I don’t know. But the patient must be rid of the handicap of his symptoms - this means of his own body and his own mind interfering with his choice of goals and the choice of means."
From Manage Your Fears, Manage Your Anger, pages 340-341
Spotting and Muscle Control
"Sunday morning when I woke up I noticed that a feeling of fatigue was immediately with me. Another symptom that I had was lack of appetite. With no desire to eat anything and a feeling of being all in I thought I’d just lie in bed a while. Then the thought struck me-- this is sabotage! So, I jumped out of bed and dressed, forced myself to eat breakfast and then went over and picked up my book Mental Health Through Will Training, and read the topic "Will, Beliefs and Muscles' for our afternoon branch meeting."
“Before I had finished reading the chapter, my feeling of being all in had left. Prior to my RI training, I used to give in to my symptoms and go back to bed. Now I force myself to bear discomfort and, I might add, I am working regularly.”
From Selections from Dr. Low's Works, page 112
Click on the icons below for more examples and stories from RI members.
If you have questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Roaming the Globe
The Reporter interviewed Anil Vartek, PhD, the founder of the Recovery group in Pune, India, which currently has about 20-30 members. He recently spoke at the Be Kind to Your Mind webinar. His presentation was titled "Demand and Supply Gap in Mental Health." He talked about how mental health is ignored in the government budget. But in every problem, there is an opportunity. The members of the Recovery group have formed the Ekalavya Foundation for Mental Health. Ekalavya was a legendary character who was famous for being self-taught. The legend of Ekalavya has inspired a principle of self-learning called Ekalavya-ism. This translates in Dr. Low's language as self-leadership.
The members of the board of directors are active meeting participants, some of whom have appeared in the Reporter. The objectives are to focus on awareness, support groups and stigma removal. This October, they received a certificate as a registered nongovernmental charitable organization.
Congratulations and endorse!
It's a small world
Pallavi, from India, has become a WhatsApp buddy with Dickson, from Uganda. They have been sharing their experiences and thoughts in a busy conversation.
Dickson said that it is a good experience. Pallavi wrote, "While speaking to a person from another country, we collapse all our doubts about being substandard. We find common opinions, ambitions and ways out to reach it. We share common problems and can help each other to fight through it. That helps to understand the same psychology people of other countries have. That settles our low self-esteem."
Please send your endorsements and some of your favorite spots to these two new apprentices to email@example.com
How lucky Recovery International was to have Scott Bushbaum visit us from Area 141, in Dayton, Ohio. Scott is not only an assistant area leader, but he is an outreach committee member for the RI Veteran’s Initiative. Knowing there would be almost a thousand people at the San Diego Airport, Scott had the idea that this would be a great place to share Recovery International. We all wore our red, white, and blue Recovery t-shirts and many of the major media outlets interviewed us. Veteran’s brochures were handed out, and we all had the opportunity to wave the American flags.
To kick off the celebration for veterans returning home, Karen and Jim Crawford hosted an open house barbeque so that Scott could meet leaders and members in San Diego.
At the party, Scott shared how it all got started. Scott attended many veteran Zoom meetings held in San Diego. Many letters were written on behalf of Recovery International explaining who we are. As always, Area 25 jumped in to support our veterans and their mental health. We stuffed bags with literature, schedules, and brochures. Our leaders were impressed with Scott and how he made this happen.
We hadn’t all been together since the pandemic closures so it was a real treat. We didn’t know how emotional the next day would be when we greeted 84 veterans and their companions, ages 84-104.
Scott, thank you. Let’s do it again across the country!
Lisa G., San Diego, CA – Area 25
Party Hosts Karen and Jim C., Second Photo: Scott B., Mike R., Jack N.
Leaders and members of Area 25
Some of our area members have adopted the practice of motionless sitting, which Dr. Low discusses in Manage Your Fears, Manage Your Anger (pages 289 and 253). This has helped to create a more relaxed atmosphere. Many were unaware of this practice, which Dr. Low said would steady the body, giving “instant relief which at first is brief, but then lengthens and lengthens and produces a real sustained relief. “
Together again! Leaders and members in Area 133 NY (pictured below) met in person for the first time in 18 months in White Plains, NY. We dined outside and enjoyed 80 degree weather. The mood was festive and hopeful. Another fall gathering was held in Paterson, NY for our Brewster group.
Let us remember today to believe in security, not danger, hope, not despair. That we can excuse ourselves and others for shortcomings, not accuse. Especially, we can remember that temper is our worst enemy. We can look upon this day and allow for courage to move our muscles and to step out boldly. We can train our wills not to complain and be humble as we face this day of work and service for others. We can wear the mask and anticipate the future with joy in our hearts. Lastly, and most of all, let us remember to endorse for our efforts and just for today have the bonus of peace and serenity.
Peace and Goodness in this New Year,
The late William G. Jackson
The Inner Smile Yields Inner Wealth
If the inner smile can be there while you have a temper flare,
Your response can come with culture ‘cause the anger you will bear.
(Call the inner feeling ridiculous and vow you’ll have no more of this!)
If you spot and wear the mask, and give no sign of inner angst,
You’ll enrich your mental health and show the world a neutral face.
“Do you wanna be right?” asks Dr. Low, “or rather be well?” you ask yourself.
Reject symbolic victory to secure your inner health.
Let temper go for inner peace, and smile at the anger and fear.
Then endorse yourself for effort made, and enhance your inner wealth.
Fran G., New Orleans, LA
Between the mortal boundaries
of our first day and death,
may we cherish every moment
and be thankful for each breath.
Let us face our diverse destinies
with courage, mirth and reason,
and embrace our ever changing world
as season close to season:
To sense the fragrant air of spring
upon a rain in May;
to taste an ice cold lemonade
on a sizzling summer's day;
to see a swirling saffron leave
as it falls to the forest floor;
to feel the fury of the wintry wave
as it pounds upon the shore...
For tomorrow's a curiosity
and yesterday, but dust
Shall we share the sage philosophy
of peace, love, hope, and trust.
Kathleen Mary Quinlan
Area 225 (Telephone Meetings)
In her twenties, Kathy developed panic attacks and because of those panic attacks developed a fear of leaving the home (agoraphobia). Through consistent Recovery practice she was able to overcome her fears. Kathy always said Recovery saved her life and enabled her to live a productive and successful life. An active member of Recovery for over 50 years, Kathy began her service to RI as an Assistant Telephone Group Leader. In 2015 she accepted the role of Telephone Group Leader. Kathy’s warm welcoming demeanor was a comfort to all those that attended her meetings. Assisted by her sister Lynn, this dynamic duo consistently experienced large numbers of attendees on their meetings each week. Kathy was a true example of making one’s mental health their supreme goal. Over the years her leadership played an important role in helping individuals regain and maintain their mental health which, in turn, helped them to enjoy healthier, happier and more productive lives. Kathy will surely be missed but will remain in the hearts and minds of all those whose lives she touched.
Phyllis Cavaliere Young 1954- 2021
Area 25 San Diego
Phyllis Cavaliere Young was born in October 15, 1954, she grew up in New Jersey and spent her childhood summers at the beach in Brigantine. While working as an editorial editor on her high school paper, she began to cultivate her gifts in the written word and creative arts.
During her life, she often worked in service to others, working as an after-school art program volunteer, as a pre-school teacher and as a geriatric recreation therapist. Phyllis met her husband Ron on vacation in Florida. They were married on March 8, 1986.
Phyllis and her husband gave to many organizations: Recovery International, The San Diego Food Bank, Gay Men’s Health Coalition, Pacific Church, Vision: a Spiritual Center, Postcards to Voters, ACLU, Southern Poverty Law, Stop Asian Hate, Planned Parenthood, Lambda Legal.
Some of the words of her dear friends shared: “Phyllis was a gem. The best. Such a good heart. Phyllis is a kind and loving spirit that will live on, so sorry to lose her here on earth. Phyllis will be greatly missed.”
Alice Berwert 1931- 2021
Area 25 San Diego
Alice Berwert passed away quietly in her sleep. She was 90 years old. Alice was an inspiration to everyone she met. Her smile and laughter could charge any dark room and brighten anyone's day as it often did. Alice loved her friends and family, she loved her community and she loved to dance. Next time you find yourself grooving to your jam at the grocery store remember Alice and dance like nobody's watching!
Alice was a strong New Englander who had a deep love of life as shown by her devotion to service and helping others. She had a kind and spirited outlook on life. She had a hearty laugh that she readily shared with others. She did not indulge in self-pity or complaining. She faced her challenges with courage and with a very upbeat personality. She would go on long solo road trips to visit her beloved daughters. She showed great courage when she lost her eyesight, and learned to navigate on buses and trains to continue to visit them. She even continued to attend dances at the blind center. She was very proud of her two daughters, Mary and Lynn, who inherited her strength of character and independent spirit. She was a loving friend and a great confidante. She is deeply loved and sorely missed by many.
Area 15 Los Angeles
In August 2021, Suzanne Walder passed away from Covid-19 and underlying conditions. It is a great loss to our Los Angeles RI Community. Suzanne led an RI group for more than 45 years and was greatly loved and admired. She was compassionate and patient. 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.”
She was also a very generous donor to RI. She was grateful for all that RI gave to her and we are grateful for all she gave to our Recovery International Community.
Barbara Anne Ryan 1941-2021
Area 155 Pennsylvania
Swarthmore, PA lost a caring and compassionate member on October 31st, 2021. Barbara Ryan had been a Recovery member for about 20 years. Barbara came to Recovery joining the Ridley, PA meeting. Eventually, Barbara assisted in opening the Havertown, PA meeting and was a co-leader. After stepping down from leading, Barbara continued with Recovery attending various meetings throughout the Philadelphia area. When the Swarthmore, PA meeting opened over six years ago, Barbara was one of many members in attendance in this group. Barbara was a fantastic spotter and supporter to all our RI members and she was always available for the 5- minute phone call from another member. Barbara always had a smile on her face and her laugh was contagious. We will continue to live by Barbara’s own words of wisdom: ”Keep on keepin’ on.” Friend, supporter, encourager, comforter - we will miss her dearly. Barbara, may your memory be eternal!
Your RI Friends
Swarthmore, PA Area #155
Geraldine (Gerry) Halland 1932-2021
Area 225 (Telephone)
A long time RI member, Gerry began her service to RI as a Community Meeting Leader in her home state of Michigan. In February of 2016, Gerry began serving the RI Telephone Groups as an Assistant Group Leader, and continued to serve until a few months prior to her passing. In addition, Gerry also served on the Program Committee and Veterans Committee for RI. Gerry worked as a real estate agent for Greenridge Realty and also enjoyed a lifetime of singing in church choirs. Gerry’s passion for helping others through RI shone through; she will surely be missed.
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.
- 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