Corey John Richardson is an award-winning writer and activist who explores the issues of recovery from alcoholism & addiction, health care, rehabilitation, the criminal justice system, psychology, sexuality, communications, surviving cancer, and much more...
---------------------------The Value of Drug Addiction Research---------------------------
Michael Nader from the Wake Forest Primate Center presents his talk titled The Value of Drug Addiction Research. He suggests that we are approaching the problem of drug addiction in the wrong manner, and we need to reassess our current policies.
are a number of ways in which a budding writer can improve his or her writing
skills. I think about golf. To me, golf is a lot like writing. For one, you
must know the rules. Without the rules, you do not know
what you are supposed to be doing out there. So,
I take a few lessons and watch a few videos. Also, I’m not very good at golf,
but the more I play, the more I improve. And the more I improve, the more I enjoy
the game and can share it with others.
There are different ways to learn these
rules of grammar, punctuation, and so on. And they do not have to be boring
either. You can take a writing class, such as the one we are taking now or
adult learning class. These force you to write, which I really needed in the
beginning. Also, I see articles and websites that offer instruction and
information in the easy, fun way. Recently, I ran across several articles about
word usage by Jeff Haden (2014a, 2014b). These are fun articles about words
routinely misused. I could have easily kept web surfing along and not read
these articles, but one has to have intellectual curiosity in writing well.
Because of this, I can catch many of my errors which might have made me look
pretty silly to a more educated reader. Knowing proper grammar and punctuation
gives me much more confidence in writing.
Practice, practice, practice. The
only way to improve our writing is to put pen to paper and write. It is simple,
but true. Outlining your ideas, creating an introduction followed by the body
of your article, and finishing with a nicely packaged conclusion takes
practice. Moving easily from rough draft to final product is something which
does not happen overnight. This includes reading it out loud and getting a
second opinion from an objective friend or coworker. Over the years, I have
been able to improve on my writing ability in this way by lots of practice. Remember:
Progress – not perfection.
Having an issue or idea which is
worth presenting to others is a great start. Something you truly believe in and
wish to express to a wide audience. Also, being challenged by tackling issues
you have never thought about before is another great way to improve your
writing. I tend to be comfortable about issues relating to recovery and
addiction because I have written about these topics over the years, but I also
have allowed myself to be challenged by writing about topics I had not
considered until asked by others. Being open to these challenges has also made
me a better writer.
Just recently, an editor of a magazine
asked me to write an article about gun violence.
be honest, she had presented me with several different topics and I had
produced several articles for her, noticeably avoiding the issue of gun
violence which was also listed. Although it is an important issue, I can see
both sides and I did not easily fall into one camp or the other when it came to
gun control and related issues. But when she pressed me I was willing to take a
stab at it. She accepted my article for publication, and I was able to weigh
both sides of the issue for the reader in an authentic way. Being open to such
writing opportunities has been important in developing my writing skills.
I wrote a short
little post about improving writing skills. Only one person commented on it.
So, I asked to attach it just in case anyone missed it. I hope it
is also helpful:
As important as writing courses and
English classes are, I have found that my writing has been mostly improved by
two things: reading and writing.
Reading: One must know the basics of grammar and apply them. One must have a
general idea of structure with respect to sentences. Yet, these basics do
little to ensure the production of excellent articles, plays, papers,
screenplays, and so on. It was many years after finishing the bulk of my formal
education that I began to read more for leisure. But I had in ulterior motive.
Routinely, I found that I wasn't nearly as educated as many of my peers. I was
not as comfortable as I would like with many topics, ranging from literature to
philosophy and history. Particularly, I revisited certain authors because I
felt that my vocabulary and ability to express myself eloquently lacked much.
Such authors included DH Lawrence, Evelyn Waugh, e. e. cummings, and many
others from the 19th and early 20th century. These authors elevated the English
language in my estimation. Obviously they use proper grammar, but their word
usage amazed me. In a time where one must depend solely on words to express and
describe so much, routinely they were able to transport me to amazing places
and communicate numerous, challenging ideas. Notice that authors such as Dean
Koontz and Michael Creighton were left off of that list. Such authors do very
well commercially, but they did not offer me through their writings a greater
knowledge of the English language. After becoming more comfortable with regard
to English literature and advanced use of the English language, I pursued many
original texts from Freud, Darwin, Marx, and many others. I rarely agreed
entirely with these great thinkers, but I was seeking knowledge. Their work
changed how we view our world, and therefore I wanted to know how they arrived
at their theories. I needed more than a nice Wikipedia summary to assure myself
that I had substantive knowledge about the world around me. This autodidactic
process was truly formative for me and offered me an outlet I had not expected
through a very difficult transition in my life. It not only prepared me for
other graduate and postgraduate work that I was about to undertake. This sort
of substantive knowledge was exactly what I needed as a writer.
Writing: So I had become more comfortable with the English language and had
continued to challenge myself with study of my own design. But I also felt the
need at that time to begin writing about my life and experiences and possibly
pursue some positive change where I could. The only way I could do this was to
begin. My first article was in a regional publication on recovery. I had been
asked to write something, anything, and I did. There was a true thrill to see
my name in black and white and it was very affirming to receive positive
feedback. After that I began writing in several national publications, then
came a journal from a law school and then a psychology journal. Every time I
saw my words in high-gloss magazine or journal, I felt that I could make a
difference. It was not always easy. I received many kind letters of rejection
in the beginning, but it never dissuaded me. I was usually amazed at what
editors accepted for publication and what they didn't. Several of the articles
that I wrote merely out of boredom were praised highly (one of those
"boredom" pieces actually won a Ford Foundation writing competition
in 2009), while some that I thought were truly insightful, never got published
- or at least not in their entirety. I will acknowledge that a lot of time had
to be spent in the work of writing. This means many hours alone, without
television, without friends, without Facebook or other distractions. This means
clearing your mind and focusing on an outcome. I have absolutely no idea how
many times certain articles were rewritten, laid aside, and rewritten again and
again. Some articles did flow right out of my pen. Those are usually the
articles where I was being most authentic and those were usually the articles
that were best received.
is no easy way, but this is surely rewarding beyond measure. Everyone of us has
the opportunity to touch the lives of other people in a meaningful way. Through
writing you affect people's lives who you would never have a chance to meet.
You may offer solace or inspiration to somebody thousands of miles away. Your
writing may live on beyond your life, continuing to touch other people. Never
discount your abilities to help your fellow man in this very remarkable way. I
encourage all of you to pick up your pen and start writing.
J., (2014a). 30 incorrectly used words that can make you look horrible: Easy to
wrong. And easy to get right. Inc.com. Retrieved from http://www.inc.com/
Before you begin the process
of writing, you must first consider yourself as a writer. What are your reasons
and motivation for writing?
I feel my work and life are driven to achieve certain goals that mean very much
to me. Particularly goals which improve society and ease human suffering. This
is why I chose medicine initially. Over the course of my life, my training,
education, and experiences have given to me a unique perspective. It is through
writing that I can reach and possibly help other people in ways not possible in
a clinic setting.
I have had a varied writing
past over the last ten years, ranging from essays in college text books to
articles in high-gloss magazines, and even first prize in a Ford Foundation
writing competition. Some of my writing has been in more scientific
publications, such as the Association for Humanistic Psychology's official journal
Perspective (Apr/May 2010). Other writing has been more activist, such
as my article in The long term view: A journal of informed opinion (Vol.
7, Number 2. 2010) from the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover. Yet most of
my writing has attempted to help people suffering from addiction and pursuing a
life in recovery. This writing has been very personal. I have written numerous
such articles in publications that range from Spotlight on recovery to
Alcoholics Anonymous' official international publication, AA Grapevine.
My writing has not been the
best it could be, but it is through these words that I have been able to touch
people not just in other areas of my country but in other areas of the world. I
hope that some of my writing has been challenging and caused people to think of
situations in a new perspective. I hope that most of my writing has been
supportive and encouraging, helping people find new meaning and purpose in
I believe I can write much
better as I look over the articles I've written. I often see areas that I can
improve. More importantly, I believe I am missing opportunities to improve. I
hope this course will help take my writing to a much higher level than I have
done on my own. I feel as if my career is only just beginning and that much
more is ahead. I see writing and publishing as a big part of this next chapter
in my life.
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defining health, the online information available usually presents us with the
World Health Organization (WHO) definition we found in our text: “Health is a
state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the
absence of disease and infirmity” (Johnson & Stoskopf, 2010, p.3). Having
been trained as a physician assistant and studying for many years through the
lens of the biopsychosocial model, this concept of health is fundamental.
Building upon the physical, mental and
social aspects of the definition, we are able to give much depth and exactitude
by furthering the definition through such dimensions as biological, genetic, and
sexual; psychological and spiritual; political and cultural; educational and
financial; and so on. Many of these factors directly or indirectly affect the
health of individuals. Not only are they interconnected in each one of us, but
similarly they demonstrate how we are interconnected to each other by means of
our community or family or organizations or nations.
Initially in my training as a physician
assistant, I necessarily focused on the biomedical aspects of disease and
treatment. It was only later through my personal journey in recovery as well as
my own training and clinical experience in behavioral health that I was able to
gain a greater appreciation for the interconnectedness of mind and body as well
as behavior and social interaction. Where before, I would only look at
cirrhosis and try to determine the cause and treatment, later on I would
understand that very often a disease like chronic pain could lead to addiction
to opiates, and addiction might predispose for various reasons to certain medical
diseases, such as HIV, or the early progression of any disease process due to
drug abuse-related noncompliance or weakening of the body’s system.
As my work today focuses on the
treatment of substance use disorder, the other aspects of health such as environmental
factors, psychological factors, social interaction, financial, recreational,
and so on bolster recovery and protect against relapse or trigger one into a
recurrence of substance use and the negative health, social, and personal
consequences that follow. Hence, many of us are very comfortable with the Axis
I-V categories of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (American
Psychiatric Association, 2013), which categorize different clinical diseases as
well as levels of functioning and numerous environmental and social factors.
Psychiatric Association keenly devised a system which helps me every day as I
diagnose new patients, create service contracts and treatment plans, and follow
a patient’s course of treatment. A patient in my practice is more than a mere
prescription or a designated hour of psychotherapy, so the goals, objectives,
and treatments are created with the patient leading the discussion and attempt
to address all of a person’s needs.
I also like the commentary that was
offered on page 8 of chapter 1 of Comparative health systems. Global perspectives. (Johnson & Stoskopf,
2010). The mental illness dilemma which faces our country and many others was
succinctly described by the writer. Again political and economic factors greatly
influence the disease of mental illness as well as the psychological, social,
and cultural aspects. Therefore, the treatments necessary to effectively
address mental illness must also take into account the psychological,
biological, and social aspects of people.
This is why my definition of health and
well-being easily dovetail with the one offered by the WHO, and is firmly
planted in my mind as I seek to treat patients for both medical and behavioral
health issues. We truly are these amazing dynamic beings and so much of our
health relies on a fine tuning of these numerous and multifaceted dimensions of
who we are. As I look at my own life, I also try to balance these factors so I
might have a little bit of health and wellness myself.
Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental
(5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American
J. & Stoskopf, C. (2010). Comparative
health systems. Global perspectives. Boston,
MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
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Corey Richardson has been asked to be a member of the Project Lazarus of Catawba County Steering Committee. Our county has decided to take the needed steps to address drug overdose. We commend Mr. Richardson for his effort in this field and his participation in this organization as well as other state professional organizations. Watch here for more!!
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Once again, Mr. Richardson is published!! Four of his articles can be found in the new publication from Michigan State University Press. His topics range from family life with incarcerated parents to prison relationships to The Convict Vote.
Check out his work and this great new reference!!!
In codependency the locus of control is external. We cut off all contact with the painful in life and cling to external cues to tell us that we are okay and what to do next. In recovery need to begin to make contact with our inner world of emotions, pain, regret, happiness, and all of those things that make up what goes on inside of us. We've lost touch with that. If we can gain contact with this in our lives then we can make more meaningful, healthy relationships with others. This is an essential aspect of making recovery go more smoothly.
Learning to tolerate emotional pain.
Building upon what we just discussed, a large part of codependency is running from emotional pain. Just as the alcoholic or addict uses a substance to emotional pain, the codependent individual runs from the emotional pain through other people. It is at this point we need to get in touch with this pain and learn to tolerate it. This means being present to the emotional pain and allowing your inner world to surface to the top. In this way we can start to open up in therapy and groups and allow the healing process to begin.
Learning to set healthy boundaries.
A large part of codependency is based upon unhealthy boundaries. We become enmeshed in other people and their lives. We do this to such a large extent that their lives crowd out any needs that we have whatsoever as a codependent people. To allow our true selves to develop, we need to separate ourselves from other people through healthy boundaries. Without creating healthy boundaries, we can never recover.
Getting our needs met.
For many codependents, they have absolutely no idea what their needs are. They only live to meet the needs of other people due to their codependency. Therefore it is crucial in recovery to begin to understand what our needs are as human beings. By understanding what are physical, emotional, and psychological needs are, we can begin to meet these needs and become home, thereby giving ourselves completely to recovery and moving towards healthy relationships with other people.
Working through our core issues.
For many people, there are core issues which hold back healthy productive personal growth. These core issues very from fear of abandonment to all or nothing thinking. They stem from personal trauma as children in dysfunctional family relationships. This is where many people develop their codependency and this is where they have to start when it comes to the recovery process.
(based upon Charles Whitfield's theory of Codependency)
InsideOut is a cognitive-based (CBT) program for substance abuse treatment in correctional settings.
Developed with NIDA support, InsideOut can help your facility quickly deliver a high-quality, secular, and engaging substance abuse treatment program. Based on SMART Recovery, InsideOut trains counselors, has versions for male and female populations, teaches offenders the SMART Recovery Four-Point Program, and works to lower recidivism.