---------------------------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.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Improving Writing Skills

There 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.

To 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.

1. 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.

2. 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.

There 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.





Haden, J., (2014a). 30 incorrectly used words that can make you look horrible: Easy to

get wrong. And easy to get right. Inc.com. Retrieved from http://www.inc.com/  

jeff-haden/30 incorrectly-used-words-that-can-make-us-look-stupid.html

Haden, J., (2014b). 20 more incorrectly used words that can make you look horrible; Easy to get

wrong. And easy to get right. Inc.com. Retrieved from http://time.com/101160/20-


Richardson, C. J., (2014). A single step. Spotlight on recovery, Spring 2014, 8-9.


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Consider Yourself A Writer


Before you begin the process of writing, you must first consider yourself as a writer. What are your reasons and motivation for writing?

Like others, 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 recovery.

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

When 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. The American 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.




American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders

(5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Johnson, J. & Stoskopf, C. (2010). Comparative health systems. Global perspectives. Boston,

            MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. ISBN-13: 978-0763753795



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Sunday, June 01, 2014

Dear Mr. President!!!

Dear Mr. President!!!

Haven't you ever wanted to give the man who runs this country a piece of your mind??

Well, the latest issue of Spotlight on Recovery does that. A varied selection of authors present their perspectives, including Mr. Richardson.

He addresses the War on Drugs in a way you may not have thought of before - and how our Commander in Chief could have been the one behind bars had things been different.

To read more, order your copy today from Spotlight on Recovery by clicking this link.

A Single Step........

Our country has been torn apart by gun violence. Corey Richardson offers a balanced approach on

this issue in the latest issue of Spotlight on Recovery, Spring 2014. For more on Gun Violence and other recovery issues - click this link to go to Spotlight on Recovery

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Project Lazarus of Catawba County

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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Monday, March 03, 2014


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!!!
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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Learning to live From inner life.
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 ABC Training

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.

Visit http://www.smartrecovery.org/resource... for more information on InsideOut.

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♦ Drug Laws ♦