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New Training Resource for Supervisors of Peers and Recovery Coaches

Recently, a new resource on the Supervision of Peer Based Recovery Support Services has been published under a grant from the Regional Facilitation Center and the Oregon Health Authority, specifically from the Health Services Division of the OHA. This is a resource is designed for the training of supervisors of Peer Recovery Support Specialists and Recovery Coaches.

Peer-based recovery support services (P-BRSS) have grown exponentially in recent years as an adjunct, and in some cases, an alternative to professionally-directed addiction treatment. P-BRSS are also being integrated within allied human services, primary health care, the child welfare system, the criminal justice system, and managed behavioral healthcare organizations. Reviews of the research to date on P-BRSS (See White, 2009; Reif, et al, 2014; Boisvert, et al, 2008) suggest salutatory effects of such services on long-term recovery outcomes. A growing body of literature explores such areas as the history and theoretical foundation of P-BRSS, the role of such services within drug policy, the integration of P-BRSS into recovery community organizations, avoiding role ambiguity and role conflicts in the delivery of P-BRSS, and ethical issues that arise in the delivery of P-BRSS.

But surprisingly little has been written on the supervision of peer recovery support services. Through support of a grant from the Oregon Health Authority (Health Services Division), Substance Use Disorder Peer Supervision Competencies has just been completed. The report is authored by Eric Martin, Anthony Jordan, Michael Razavi, Van Burnham, IV, Ally Linfoot, Monta Knudson, Erin Devet, Linda Hudson, and Lakeesha Dumas. J. Thomas Shrewsbury. Dr. Jeff Marotta, Dr. Ruch Bichsel, and Kitty Martz served as editors. The supervisory competencies are organized within four sections of the report: Recovery-Oriented Philosophy, Providing Education & Training, Facilitating Quality Supervision, and Performing Administrative Duties. This document is an invaluable resource for organizations involved in the recruitment, selection, orientation, training, and on-going supervision and evaluation of recovery coaches and other support specialists. It stands as an excellent complement to SAMHSA’s 2015 Core Competencies for Peer Workers in Behavioral Health Services.

I think the greatest mistake that could be made in guiding the delivery of P-BRSS would be to assume that traditional models of clinical supervision within addiction treatment can be indiscriminately applied to the supervision of P-BRSS delivery. If that occurs, peers providing recovery support service will be turned into little more than junior counselors and the potential vitality of that role and the broader role of community in long-term recovery will be lost.

P-BRSS require a distinct role definition, different standards of practice, and different models of supervision. Substance Use Disorder Peer Supervision Competencies will help assure such distinctiveness. I commend this report to all organizations providing peer-based recovery support services.

This blog post has been written by William White. The link to this article at the William White Papers web site is:

William (Bill) White is an Emeritus Senior Research Consultant at Chestnut Health Systems / Lighthouse Institute and past-chair of the board of Recovery Communities United. Bill has a Master’s degree in Addiction Studies and has worked full time in the addictions field since 1969 as a street worker, counselor, clinical director, researcher and well-traveled trainer and consultant.   He has authored or co-authored more than 400 articles, monographs, research reports and book chapters and 18 books. His book, Slaying the Dragon – The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America, received the McGovern Family Foundation Award for the best book on addiction recovery. Bill was featured in the Bill Moyers’ PBS special “Close to Home: Addiction in America” and Showtime’s documentary “Smoking, Drinking and Drugging in the 20th Century.” Bill’s sustained contributions to the field have been acknowledged by awards from the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, NAADAC: The Association of Addiction Professionals, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and the Native American Wellbriety Movement. Bill’s widely read papers on recovery advocacy have been published by the Johnson Institute in a book entitled Let’s Go Make Some History: Chronicles of the New Addiction Recovery Advocacy Movement.

You can contact Bill White at: or

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Getting through the tough times

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As a recovery coach, I often see my clients need some help getting through the tough times, without using drugs, picking up a drink or acting out. Recently, I personally encountered some rough patches in my own life, so I went to my library of recovery books. Reading books on recovery is an import tool I use regularly in my practice. Several years ago, I was curious about Buddhist recovery, so I became an avid reader of the books by Pema Chodron.

Pema Chodron Celebrates 80 Years

Pema Chodron, is a Buddhist nun, she was born in 1936, in New York City, and is celebrating her 80th year. After a divorce, in her mid-thirties, Pema traveled to the French Alps and encountered Buddhist teacher Lama Chime Rinpoche, and she studied with him for several years. She became a novice Buddhist nun in 1974. Pema moved to rural Cape Breton, Nova Scotia in 1984, ­­­to be the director of Gampo Abbey and worked to establish a place to teach the Buddhist monastic traditions (waking before sunrise, chanting scriptures, daily chores, communal meals and providing blessings for the laity). In Nova Scotia and through the Chodron Foundation, she works with others, sharing her ideas and teachings. She has written several books, and in my time of deep spiritual need, I went to her book “When Things Fall Apart”.

Drawn from traditional Buddhist wisdom, Pema’s radical and compassionate advice for what to do when things fall apart in our lives helped me. There is not only one approach to suffering that is of lasting benefit, Pema teaches several approaches that involve moving toward the painful situation and relaxing us to realize the essential groundlessness of our situation. It is in this book, I discovered a simple breathing exercise I can use during these chaotic times so I can move into a better space. Pema advocates this tool as a breathing exercise, although this exercise could also be considered a mindful meditation.

I use Chodron’s tool whenever and wherever life hits me below the belt. I share this tool with my clients. It is all about breathing and consciously repeating words to yourself to accompany the breathing. Since we breathe every day, it is indiscernible whether you are using this tool as you travel on the bus commuting home from work, in a conference room with your boss, or when you are feeling low and want to curl up in a ball and die.


Pema explains in her book, when things get way too complicated; step back and breathe. When the force of the world, the politics of the U.S., Great Britain or Italy start weighing heavily on your mind, breathe. When you look at all the pain around you and feel powerless to do anything, breathe.

Pema explains, inhale and say silently to yourself breathe in the pain, then exhale and say breathe out relief. Then, inhale, and say silently to yourself breathe in the relief, and exhale and say breathe out the pain. I find I need about 15 minutes of conscious breathing in this way. After doing this, I find I have new energy or something else crosses my path to move me into a different space.

If I continue to be in that negative space of worry or feeling powerless, then absolutely nothing will be accomplished that day. I know we all have something to accomplish every day, whether it is just getting out of bed, taking a shower and brushing our teeth or running a Fortune 500 company, this exercise gets us from zero to ten in fifteen minutes. Chodron’s exercise moves me to the space I need to be in, so I can function. It is what I need.

So, I invite you to try this simple exercise…and remember…keep breathing.

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The Top Ten Warning Signs You Are Talking to an Online Catfisher-Part 4

 innocence-en-dangerHow can you protect yourself from a Catfisher or an online predator?

Why do they do what they do? Catfishers want something from you. These are people that are not motivated by love, but are driven by money, perverse sexual desires and criminal intent.

  • Money is usually the first thing predators want from adult contacts
  • They want to win you over and manipulate you, so you begin to desire them in a sexual way and that means you will begin to trust them
  • They will use your photographs and distribute them to other online predators, they will re-post the pictures online in sexual forums or just enjoy your photographs themselves, privately
  • They want to have conversations with you, texting or otherwise, in order to get sexually aroused during the conversation
  • Any of the above contacts will enable these predators to black-mail, extort or rape you

Scary Stats

There are some scary statistics on Catfishers or online predators.

  • An estimated 725,000 people are aggressively pursued online for sex or extortion annually in the US
  • In 2005 alone, 25% percent of rapists used online dating sites to find their victims
  • In 2011, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center lodged 5,600 complaints from victims of “romance scams” or “catfishers”
  • Reports say victims of these romance scams have lost over fifty million dollars—however authorities know this figure is much higher because many victims are too embarrassed to report the incidents
  • Every 2 minutes a person in America is sexually assaulted
  • 1 out of 4 children in the U.S. have been sent pictures of people who were naked or having sex by an online predator
  • Each year Internet predators commit over 16,000 abductions, over 100 murders, and thousands of rapes
  • Over 39,000 verified Registered Sex Offenders have profiles on social media sites
  • 1 out of 5 kids have been solicited for sex on the Internet
  • 1 out of 4 kids have been contacted online by a person not representing themselves in a true or accurate way
  • Only 25% of kids tell parents or adults about any online encounters
  • 77% of the time, the targets for online predators are usually in the 11-14 year-old-age range
  • 25% of children that were surveyed were exposed to unwanted pornographic material

Dating Safety Tips

Online dating often leads to offline dates, which may end up as a successful relationship. However, before you meet someone in person, take all the time you need to get well-acquainted with this person, so there is hopefully nothing to worry about when you meet face-to-face. Sexual assault on a date is definitely not an everyday occurrence, nonetheless, you need to ensure your personal safety when planning to meet someone for a first date. Take the time to really get to know a person and dangerous incidents are less likely to occur.

The predators need to be exposed, if you or anyone you know has been contacted by an online predator or has received unwanted solicitation from someone online, call the police and notify the social networking site on which the contact was made.

  • NEVER give out your personal information or home address online, even giving out the town you live in can reveal too much information to a predator
  • Don’t reply to social media messages from people you don’t know
  • NEVER meet face-to-face with someone you have just met online, give yourself and the contact at least 3 weeks to get to know each other before a face-to-face is planned
  • Never download image files from an unknown source, they could contain sexually explicit images that could put you in a compromising legal situation
  • Avoid chat rooms or discussion forums that are sexually proactive
  • If you receive uncomfortable or frightening material, end the communication, block the person from contacting you and report them to the dating site or the social networking site
  • If you receive an unwanted solicitation call 911, contact the dating site or the social networking site and report the perpetrator immediately

Sexual assault and date rape are definitely not common occurrences when meeting an online date. Read and follow the safety advice for first date meetings that have been outlined on your online dating site, so you are well-prepared. In addition, here are some of tips that will be useful too.

  • Always take the time to get well-acquainted with someone before you plan a meeting. Talking to this person online or on the phone for three weeks is a good amount of time to ensure this person is safe to meet
  • Bookend the date, which means you notify a friend where the date is, whom the date is with and when the date starts and then again, contact the same friend when you leave the date, to ensure you are home and are safe
  • Meet in a public place, like a restaurant, coffee shop, and drive your own car or know the public transportation schedule in order to leave to catch the last bus. At no time should this first date drive you home
  • While on the date, always be very aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye on your drink at all times. Date rape drugs are very easy to drop into any drink. Drinking coffee with a lid on the cup is probably your best defense against this kind of occurrence
  • Getting a girl drunk is a common ploy for a predator, so watch how much alcohol you drink. In fact, many online dating site guidelines do not recommend going to a bar or having a drink on the first date
  • Be cautious during your first few meetings with this person. Have the dates in open public places and stay away from dark and deserted situations
  • Never go to this person’s home or to a hotel until months into your dating experience

What do you do if you have been assaulted?

If you believe you may be a victim of sexual assault, the first thing you should do is immediately contact the police and report the crime, no matter how small you might think the crime is. It is common for victims to blame themselves in a case of assault, however you must always remember that this predator had absolutely no justification to attack you. It is also very important to protect your health, go to the hospital and request to have a sexual assault forensic exam, the staff will administer some tests that are compiled into what is sometimes known as a “rape kit.” These exams will preserve possible DNA evidence and you will receive important medical care. You don’t have to report the crime to have this exam, but the process gives you the chance to safely store evidence, should you decide to report the crime at a later time.

  • If you feel you cannot handle going to the hospital alone, try asking an understanding family member or friend to escort you to the hospital.
  • If necessary, you can also speak with a rape hotline operator, an experienced therapist or social worker who can help you deal with it. For more information, reference the local hotlines and services that are featured below
  • If you choose not to have a sexual assault forensic exam, it is also a good idea to to go to a clinic or to see a doctor who can test you for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • To find a location near you that performs sexual assault forensic exams, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (656-4673) or talk to your local sexual assault service provider

Here are some National Resources for Victims of a Catfisher

General Information:

Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)                                                                                                                              A partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).

National Sexual Assault Hotline: National hotline, operated by RAINN, that serves people affected by sexual violence. It automatically routes the caller to their nearest sexual assault service provider. You can also search your local center here. Hotline: 800.656.HOPE (656-4673)

National Sexual Violence Resource Center: This site offers a wide variety of information relating to sexual violence including a large legal resource library.

National Organization for Victim Assistance: Founded in 1975, NOVA is the oldest national victim assistance organization of its type in the United States as the recognized leader in this noble cause.

National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women: VAWnet, a project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence hosts a resource library home of thousands of materials on violence against women and related issues, with particular attention to its intersections with various forms of oppression.

U.S. Department of Justice: National Sex Offender Public Website: NSOPW is the only U.S. government Website that links public state, territorial, and tribal sex offender registries from one national search site.

The National Center for Victims of Crime: The mission of the National Center for Victims of Crime is to forge a national commitment to help victims of crime rebuild their lives. They are dedicated to serving individuals, families, and communities harmed by crime.

Child Abuse/Sexual Abuse:

National Child Abuse Hotline: They can provide local referrals for services. A centralized call center provides the caller with the option of talking to a counselor. They are also connected to a language line that can provide service in over 140 languages. Hotline: 800.4.A.CHILD (800-422-2253)

Darkness to Light: They provide crisis intervention and referral services to children or people affected by sexual abuse of children. Hotline calls are automatically routed to a local center. Helpline: 866.FOR.LIGHT (367.5444)

Cyber Tip Line: This Tipline is operated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Can be used to communicate information to the authorities about child pornography or child sex trafficking. Hotline: 800.THE.LOST (800-843-5678)

National Children’s Alliance: This organization represents the national network of Child Advocacy Centers (CAC). CACs are a multidisciplinary team of law enforcement, mental and physical health practitioners who investigate instances of child physical and sexual abuse. Their website explains the process and has a directory according to geographic location.

Stop It Now: Provides information to victims and parents/relatives/friends of child sexual abuse. The site also has resources for offender treatment as well as information on recognizing the signs of child sexual abuse. Hotline: 888-PREVENT (888-773-8368)

Justice for Children: Provides a full range of advocacy services for abused and neglected children.

Domestic, Dating and Intimate Partner Violence:

National Domestic Violence Hotline: Through this hotline an advocate can provide local direct service resources (safe-house shelters, transportation, casework assistance) and crisis intervention. Interpreter services available in 170 languages. They also partner with the Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Center to provide a videophone option. Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (800-799-7233)

National Teen Dating Abuse Online Helpline: This online helpline assists teens who are, or may be, in abusive relationships. Call 1-866-331-9474, chat at or text “loveis” to 22522, any time, 24/7/365

Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center: The center serves abused Americans, mostly women and children, in both civilian and military populations overseas. In addition to providing domestic violence advocacy, safety planning and case management, the center assists victims with relocation, emergency funds for housing and childcare, and funds for payment of legal fees. International & Toll-Free 866-USWOMEN (866- 879-6636) (Available 24/7/365)

National Coalition against Domestic Violence: The national coalition of Domestic Violence organizations is dedicated to empowering victims and changing society to a zero tolerance policy. Call the Nat’l #DomesticViolence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (799-7233) if you or someone you love is a victim and needs help


(See also resources on Child Abuse/ Sexual Abuse above)

Survivors of Incest Anonymous: They provide information on how to find incest survivor support groups in your area and empowers individuals to become survivors and thrivers.

GirlThrive: Girlthrive Inc. honors teen girls and young women who have survived incest and all sex abuse through thriverships, opportunity and education.


Stalking Resource Center: The Stalking Resource Center is a program of the National Center for Victims of Crime. Their website provides statistics on stalking, information on safety planning and other resources.

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