Portland Alano Club offers hope for recovery with innovative tool kit

Portland Alano

Contributor, Ryan Hampton, Recovery Advocate at Facing Addiction + Person in Long Term Recovery from Substance Use Disorder

Huffington Post, 07/06/2017 05:55 pm ET

What’s in your recovery tool kit? How do you maintain your recovery on a day to day basis? One thing that recovery advocates, doctors, and addiction science all agree on is connection. Other, healthy people are the key to finding recovery and staying sober for long periods of time.

There are other things, too: meditation, mindfulness, and different kinds of group therapy are all methods that people use to heal from drug and alcohol abuse. It sounds simple, but self care, learning more about addiction, and connecting with people in the recovery community are the “prescription” for our illness. Slowly, research is catching up with what grassroots activists, harm reduction groups, and recovery groups have known for a century. We need help, and for that, we support each other.

This might sound like a fantasy, but it’s not. One amazing example is the Alano Club in Portland, Oregon. Their Recovery Toolkit series is changing the way that we treat substance use disorder. By focusing on holistic, integrated recovery support, the Alano Club has created a simple set of “tools” for people who need help achieving long term recovery. Weekly yoga and meditation classes, mindfulness workshops, writing sessions for people who want to learn to tell their recovery stories, and even courses on healthy eating, addiction, and relationships. The classes are free and totally open to the community: anyone who walks in can get the help they need. The Club is home to hundreds of mutual aid support groups every week.

I think the Alano Club is an incredible example of where peer supported recovery is going. It’s not a treatment center: it’s a nonprofit. It’s a member of the Facing Addiction Action Network, one of 600+ groups dedicated to helping people in recovery. It also looks beyond immediate need to the larger forces at work. The Club’s advocacy training workshops teach people how to lobby for change and communicate with people who don’t know the truth about substance use disorder. This is groundbreaking, in the recovery world. In fact, the Alano Club was just recognized by FAVOR’s Joel M. Hernandez Award, the highest national award given to a recovery community organization. It also got a Focus on Innovation Award from Addiction Policy Forum for its work.

What’s important is that the Alano Club is a one-stop resource for people in Portland, but its mission and materials could easily be adapted to any other recovery club.

That’s the beauty of recovery: it really does go everywhere. I wish there was an Alano Club in every county and state, all across America. Many of us are lucky to live near major cities, and find connections there. But recovery, and the tools to get it, should be free and open to everyone. Those resources should be available to everybody who needs them, no matter where they live.

Many thanks to the Alano Club and the hundreds of recovery community organizations, non profits, churches, community groups, families, and recovery advocates who are pushing back against the drug epidemic. Your work is so valuable, and, in this public health crisis, essential.

You may not always make the front page, but we see you. Thank you.

Ryan Hampton is an outreach lead and recovery advocate at Facing Addiction, a leading nonprofit dedicated to ending the addiction crisis in the United States.

Mark Lundholm, Returns to Emcee the 2017 2nd Annual UFAM Rally May 18th!

Mark Lundholm, EMCEE

Mark has performed in all 50 states and 10 foreign countries. From world-renowned musicians, heads of state, fortune 500 companies to rehabilitation centers and convicted felons, Mark has truly entertained on the world’s stage.

He’s appeared on Comedy Central, Showtime, A&E, CBS, and NBC. Mark wrote and performed his own one-man show off-Broadway in New York City reaching critical acclaim, and in his spare time created the now staple DVD series ‘Humor in Treatment’ and the Recovery Board Game.

Mark is a person in long-term recovery.

Mark Lundholm Website

Crowd is Wild Over Tommy Gunz Returning to Michigan May 18th

Tommy Gunz Recovery Unplugged

 (Borrowed from www.prweb.com)

About Tommy Gunz

Tommy Gunz is a self-described “conscious, hip-hop lyricist and performing artist in recovery.” For the past year, he has also been Lyrical Life Coach and more recently became a group facilitator at The Recovery Unplugged® Treatment Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.As of this past June 16th, he’s been clean for two years.

He was a teen poet growing up in Detroit, who at 19 started recording and performing at underground parties, “freestyling” over beats for fun. During the years from 2004 to 2012, he recorded three CDs which he sold, hand to hand in the streets of Detroit, and in 2015, after beginning his journey from drug addiction to recovery, released his first recovery-based mixtape, “Still Sick and Suffering – Volume 1.” The last song in that collection was a goodbye letter to addiction and chronicles the start of his recovery, which established him a global following via social media.

It was that music that brought Tommy Gunz to Recovery Unplugged, the drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and Austin, Texas, where they say, “music makes the difference.” The Recovery Unplugged® protocol blends an immersion in music with a variety of other therapies, offering addicts and alcoholics a unique program focused on long-lasting recovery.

In Friday group sessions with famed singer/songwriter Richie Supa (Aerosmith, Ozzie Osbourne, P!NK, Willie Nelson and many others) – who is also Recovery Unplugged®’s Director of Creative Recovery – Kraus raps about the week’s discussion themes. “Richie will perform a set of songs, talking throughout about his lyrics and getting reactions and thoughts, and will then play a couple of songs designed for me to jump in on and freestyle,” he says.

Kraus uses various styles of music to create receptive environments, targeted for specific therapeutic breakthroughs. He also creates unique, music catalogues for each new client so they have a personal experience while in treatment, which they then are able to take home with them. Additionally, Kraus hosts and performs at drug and alcohol free events, where addicts in recovery are offered a safe place to enjoy live music with their friends and families.

For recovery songs by Tommy Gunz, (and music from when he was using), go to: Reverb Nation.tommyrtkul8gunz Soundcloud.com/tommygunz/ Facebook.com/rtkul8 Facebook.com/rhymingrecovery.com Snapchat@tommygunz313

About Recovery Unplugged

Recovery Unplugged® Treatment Centers are alcohol and drug rehab in Florida and Texas that offer a rehabilitation approach that is unique and long lasting. The centers combine traditional and cognitive behavioral approaches that use music creation as a catalyst to break down defenses, inspire, and motivate the change necessary for long-term recovery and sobriety. Recovery Unplugged® is committed to providing hope and healing, using music to help individuals suffering from addiction all over the United States.

Contact Information: Alex Gallinari Recovery Unplugged +1 (914) 358-1200 Ext: 317

Rise Recovery Community hits the Stage on May 18th

Rise Onstage

About Rise

The RISE Community caters to individuals coming from post‐alcohol and drug rehab, out of jail or prison, or those desperately trying to find alcohol-free a way out of addiction. RISE is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Lansing and close to the bus line for job opportunities, education options (GED and college), and health and human services providers. The RISE Community provides a stable environment and a true community to help the addict transition back into society as alcohol-free, productive citizen.

At RISE, you don’t get clean to be miserable… We Insist On Enjoying Life!

To learn more about Rise, please visit www.wai-iam.com

2017, 2nd Annual UFAM Rally Welcomes Matt Butler

Matt Butler

From Rehab to Rockwood, Rocker ‘Reckless’ No More

BY SEAN EGAN | At 30, Matt Butler can finally look back with clarity at his time on a destructive path taken by many a musician given to the excesses of the rock and roll lifestyle. Four years after spending his salad days as a Lower East Side rocker in the throes of addiction, Butler has emerged stronger, with a set of songs that grapples with his past and tracks his redemption.

“I’ve been writing songs and performing in bands my whole life for the most part, since I was a teenager — and I simultaneously struggled with drugs and alcohol from about the same age, and these were two very concurrent themes in my life,” Butler explained on the phone from his home in Chelsea. “The album was sort of like the after effect of, the result of, a lot of work that I had done processing my experiences of what I had been doing for the past few years of my life when I wrote it, and what my life was like at that moment — living and breathing and surrounded by these really, really intense stories. And most of that album is, for the most part, autobiographical.”

The album in question is Butler’s solo debut, “Reckless Son.” Direct in its message and brimming with pathos, the LP toes the line between rock and roll and folk-tinged, acoustic-based singer/songwriter material. In its plainspoken, poetic vignettes, it most vividly calls to mind Bruce Springsteen (“a big hero of mine,” Butler noted), as Butler tracks the precipitous lows of addiction, as well as his climb back to sobriety.

Released in late 2016, the record and accompanying performances have garnered enough goodwill to land Butler a March residency at the East Village’s Rockwood Music Hall. It’s a long way to come for Butler, who, prior to releasing the record, was working as a copywriter after a string of post-rehab odd jobs, and struggling to decide whether to even pick music back up again. “I was at a crossroads of my life,” he said. “I think if I was going to write or do anything creative, it’s just a thing that I had to do in order to move past it.”

Move past it he did, writing catchy and candid tales with himself at the center, full of friends and flames experiencing the manic highs and consequences of substance abuse, a coke dealer with a “Jameson grin,” and plenty of religious and familial imagery. “It was so interesting, the experience of trying to mine [that] for sort of an authentic truth,” the singer commented. “I mean, I was like drunk for 10 years straight, man. So much of it is just impressionistic.” Still, these aren’t, nor did Butler ever intend the album to be, a series of “drunkalogues.”

Singer/songwriter Matt Butler begins his residency at Rockwood Music Hall on March 1. Photo courtesy the artist.

“It just took a lot of work, a lot of recovery work to get the perspectives that I needed in order to [get through] some of the inauthenticity and some of the self-pity that I had felt, and a lot of the anger,” Butler said of his creative process, and drudging up his darker days for his art. “I needed to get through those things in order to write the album that I felt sort of embodied the true spirit of what I wanted to say, which had much more to do with gratitude and humility.”

That sense of gratitude stems from the support system Butler discovered after reaching out for help with his addiction. By the time he checked into a Caron Treatment Center in April 2013 (caron.org), his father was fully convinced he’d get a call announcing his son’s death, Butler revealed. Over time, through those he encountered during recovery, and healing his relationship with his family (who “never left,” Butler gratefully recalled), he was able to conquer his demons.

“Every time I took a little baby step forward, there was somebody right behind me ready to catch me if I fell,” Butler said. At this point, sobriety has done much to help shore his music career. His extended Caron family still supports him, and he noted that the publishing deal that led to “Reckless Son” sprung from a serendipitous gig played at the Freedom Institute — his outpatient rehab facility at the time. But, that’s kind of how things have worked for Butler; wherever he goes, people react to his music’s openness.

“It’s really, really validating as an artist, as well, to be able to play music that people respond to so tangibly. There’s a lot of laughing and crying at a lot of these shows,” Butler noted. “You release your song and then it’s up to everyone else to have their experience with it. You want to honor that every time you perform it” — something he hopes to do at his upcoming Rockwood gigs.

“This is just this other extension of this second life that I’m having,” Butler summarized. “It really feels that way — like AD and BC. It’s just a whole new life as a musician, and this is just kind of the next phase of it.”

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The UFAM Profile: Joe Bellino Jr. – Michigan House of Representatives

Speaker Profile Unite to Face Addiction Rally 2017

Joe Bellino Jr.


When your life starts to blossom, you have these dreams

Mine were: good job, loving partner, a house, kids. You never think, “I will become a drug addict, get sober some time after, and then life will go on.” Never on my mind. But at 25 years old, with a good job and engaged to be married, my life sucked.
Suicide was a viable option. Living was a burden. Couple that with the fact my father was my boss, and he said if I didn’t seek help I was fired, and you have a perfect storm of the desire and possibility to get sober.
I was at a low point and my hand was forced.
June 16th, 1983 was the day I walked into Harbor Light in Monroe, Mi. 28 days later , and with a $892.00 bill that was paid by my insurance company, life started.

Drugs of Choice

My drugs of choice were booze (Gin and tonic); pot; any pills at all; and COCAINE!
I loved me some cocaine.
I had my first drink at 12. And I never had a “social drink’ in my life. Every drink and drug were there for a purpose. To get me out of it, get screwed up, stop thinking and quit being an adult.

Life’s Weird Moves…

Life has taken a lot of weird moves. Who would have thought I would have been this accomplished? Who would ever think I would be involved in a ton of great things?
  • Six years working for the Catholic Charity, Society of St Vincent de Paul
  • Owning my own small market – Broadway Market in Monroe, Michigan since 1998
  •  Fifteen plus years on the College Board of Trustees at Monroe County Community College
  • Being able to be being  involved in or giving to so many great charities
  • And finally, but not least, being voted into public office the first time

These accomplishments are a real testament to the way I have lived my life the past 32 plus years. I am grateful to my sobriety and I endorse United to Face Addiction Michigan – UFAM. I look forward to presenting at the Rally May 18th!

Who’d of thought? The Capital building in Lansing. Photo by Peter B. Randels NOTANONYMOUS

 Unite to Face Addiction Michigan

2nd Annual Rally and Advocacy Day

May 18th, 2017 9:00am until 5:00pm



Become a Sponsor

Joe Bellino Jr. Vital Statistics:

58 years old
Sober for 34 years
Married to Peggy
Monroe Catholic Central and Monroe County Community College Graduate
Three grown daughters: Mary, Anne and Margaret
Owner of Broadway Market in Monroe since 1998
Voted into the State House of Representatives (R) 17th District in 2016
Born June 10th…..what  a coincidence.