Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Open: Ken Williams' Recovery

We will be open today, December 28th and tomorrow December 29th, Closed Friday December 30th, then back with the New Year on Monday January 3rd, 2011!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow Closing: Ken Williams' Recovery.

Ken Williams' Recovery will be closed today, Monday December 27th 2010, due to snow. Hopefully we will reopen tomorrow, December 28th.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Story

She's homeless and pregnant, the man with her is almost, mute, barely says a word. She tries to explain their predicament, but the more she says, the worse it gets.

God is the father of the baby, she says. Not the silent man. She was visited by an angel and the baby was conceived by a holy ghost. She and the man have not consummated their marriage.

I am a virgin, she says. Obviously, she's mentally ill.

She needs medication, pre-natal care, maybe hospitalization. The silent man looks schizoid. She says something about him being a carpenter, but presently unemployed. They have little money; no health insurance.

It's Christmas Eve.

The social safety net is worn thin. No one is answering their phone. The woman is eerily calm as you try number after number and listen to voicemail after voicemail greeting. No one is at their desk at 4:30 in the afternoon on Christmas Eve. If anyone is still working, they are probably in the field dealing with other crises.

A last, bad alternative to the cold of the street, you call a guy you know runs a welfare hotel. He's there. You offer a voucher. He says he wishes he could, but his last bed went an hour ago.

There's a garage out back, though, he says. It's cold, but he thinks he has an old kerosene he can drag out there. Strictly against the rules, but you have to do something. You've spent enough time on these people, there's a guy in the waiting room going into withdrawal and you still have to find a place for him.

You tell them about the garage, feeling an unreasonable guilt, but also with some trepidation. The young woman accepts this graciously, the man with silent stoicism.

She smiles, beatifically, her eyes as deep as if they knew all the secrets of the human heart, and then some.

God bless you, she says.

It's long dark when you leave, hours later, and cold. In the distance you hear a choir, the voices angelic on the frigid wind.

A thousand miles away, a wise man watches a star rise in the East.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I'm not being ironic or cynical when I write that title, this is a wonderful time of the year. If you put a little energy into it. And by that I mean an infusion of joy. Whether it's Chanukah, Kwanza, Solstice, Christmas or, if you're an Atheist, simply a chance to go to a lot of parties and maybe get an unexpected present or two, the holidays are a celebration of joy. Light in the midst of darkness, warmth in the season of cold, hope in the face of despair. A child is born, a candle is lit, the sun rises. We feel the light and the warmth, and we are grateful.

Gratitude, I believe, is the prerequisite for joy.

Recovery is all about gratitude; recovery is all about joy.

Gratitude makes way for joy, because it clears out the cobwebs. Gratitude displaces meanness and pettiness and resentment and fear. Gratitude opens the door for generosity, and contemplation, and courage and joy. Gratitude makes us better people. Better recovering people.

Now I am not going to suggest any list writing or other homework-like exercises. This is certainly a busy enough time of year without adding more tasks. But I do suggest some simple self-inventorying. Check how you're feeling as you go about your day. Am I angry? Resentful? Tired? What do I need?

Ask yourself what you've got to give, not what you want to get.

When someone says something nice to you, like a thank you, don't blow it off.

If you find yourself brooding over past holiday hurts or  losses, practice forgiveness.

If you feel like drinking or getting high, don't inflict it on yourself, your kids, your family. Get with some other recovering people and talk it through and let it go.

Let. It. Go.

And have fun!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Rock for Recovery!

I'm not sure if today is the fourth or fifth Rock for Recovery concert. In the world of rock, not being able to remember is not all that rare. In my case, the reason is age, not drugs.

Rock for Recovery is the brainchild of my good friend Charlie Doc, aided and abetted by Dawn, Pattyann, Denise, Dani, Mike and many, many others.It's a labor of blood, sweat, tears and love, and produces a semi-annual 11 hour rock extravaganza with a recovery theme.

Did I mention that it kicks ass?

With all due respect to sensitive, singer songwriter types, this is the real deal--loud, raunchy and raucous. And clean. and sober. Over 30 years ago, when I got clean, saying that I wanted to go see the Rolling Stones wasn't exactly greeted with enthusiasm by some of the old timers. And no wonder, the music wasn't part of their generation--it was nothing but booze,  drugs, excess and noise, right? The fact was that there was simply no model for a clean and sober concert. Over the decades that has changed--the Wharf Rats are a fixture at the concerts of the various survivors of the Grateful Dead, recovery literature is usually prominently featured at Clapton and Phish concerts. Rock for Recovery is the next step, a major rock show, produced by people in Recovery, their friends and families, for people in Recovery, their friends and families.

Or for anyone who wants to rock out without worrying if someone is going to throw up on their shoes.

If you are in or near Philly, come on out. The town that brought you the Four Aces, the Dovells, Hall & Oates, Len Berry, Bill Haley and the Comets and Cook E. Jarr & the Crumbs brings you Rock for Recovery.

Be there or be square!

Saturday, December 4 · 12:00pm - 11:00pm

LocationFirst Presbyterian Church of Lansdowne
140 N. Lansdowne Ave. (On the corner of Landsdowne Ave. & Greenwood Ave)
Lansdowne, PA

Follow this link for Details