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  • Writer's pictureMike

The healing power of connection: Navigating recovery together

In the often turbulent journey of recovery from Substance Use Disorder, stories unfold that underscore the profound impact of human connection. Dr. Jerome Motto, a California doctor, not only witnessed the devastating aftermath of a patient's suicide in 1963 but also encountered a poignant incident in the 1970s that highlighted the crucial importance of connection in the recovery process.

Dr. Motto, who actively advocated for a suicide barrier on the bridge, recalled an encounter while working with the medical examiner's office. After a suicide and while doing the forensic work with a colleague, they did a routine visit to the deceased man's apartment. The man was in his thirties, living alone in a sparsely furnished apartment. This man, grappling with the weight of despair, left a note on his bureau: "I’m going to walk to the bridge. If ONE person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump." This heart-wrenching plea serves as a stark reminder of the life-altering potential of human connection, even in its simplest form.

In a separate but equally resonant story from the realm of addiction recovery, a newcomer at a 12-step meeting questioned an old-timer with 34 years of sobriety about the s

ecret to his sobriety and calm demeanor. The old-timer's response, "I just stopped arguing," though seemingly simple, carries profound wisdom. “It can’t be that simple, there is no way that you can just stop arguing and stay sober,” said the young man. “Maybe you’re right” the old timer replied. It symbolizes the act of surrender, a relinquishment of the need for control, and an opening to the support and understanding found in connection.

These stories collectively emphasize that recovery is not a solitary endeavor. The old-timer's decision to stop arguing is symbolic of embracing humility, while the man on the bridge highlights the transformative power of a single smile. In the context of substance use disorder recovery, they underscore the critical role that supportive relationships play in the journey to healing.

As we navigate the complexities of recovery, these stories guide us. They remind us that, in our shared humanity, we possess the capacity to be the light for someone in their darkest hour. The healing power of connection lies in these moments — a shared smile, an understanding glance — threads that weave a tapestry of compassion, understanding, and resilience, guiding individuals toward a brighter, collective path of recovery.

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