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Creative Recovery

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Creativity is a wonderful outlet in recovery.....and we all know that addicts are some of the most creative and talented people around, lol!! Come show off your creativity here! Whether you paint, write poetry, make jewelry, we want to showcase your talent! Feel free to include a link to your website if you have one. Drop me an email ASAP and let's get this going!

*11/22/05 - More artwork from George Clark has been added. Come check out what Manhole Mandela is and so much more!

BE SURE TO CHECK OUT PAGE TWO  (*or the George Clark page, lol)...


Here is a collage I put together to display some of my photography. They aren't that great, as I use a 1 megapixel Mavica to take my pictures...however, I am an avid user of Paint Shop Pro and I digitally turn photos black and white and then use the mouse to hand-color certain portions. I also use PSP to add or change lighting and fix errors like red-eye, as well as to 'remove' the background from a snapshot so it looks more professional. It is truly amazing what a simple and inexpensive graphics program can do! I used this program all the time but when I started using massive amounts of prescription painkillers, I lost interest in a big way. Now that I am on MMT, I have years of pent-up creative energy just dying to work its way out. I love my renewed passion for photography and digital imaging and MMT is the blessing that allowed this reawakening for me.

More digital imaging using Paint Shop Pro:

If any of you lovelies seeing this at the Methadone Support Org. would like digital imaging work done, please email me ...I am accepting a certain number of free projects in order to expand and update my portfolio!


BEFORE                                                          AFTER

"Zenith" (Kerry)

Zenith was one of the first members on our Community of Support Forums here. Altho I have know her through this website, I didn't have the pleasure of meeting Zenith in person until a couple weeks the AATOD Conference in Atlanta, GA, where she received her Certification as a Methadone Advocate.

Zenith posted this poem that she had written at the Nama - We Speak Methadone forum where everyone went nuts over it! She was asked to read the poem during the CMA training at the AATOD conference and was nice enough to let me bring it here as well. Thanks, Zenith!! And we want more, more more!!!!


They call it 'liquid handcuffs',
They say I'll be it's slave
They tell me it might even
Put me in an early grave

'Methadone is evil',
They say it rots your bones
To pay your clinic fees
You'll have to take out several loans

They say that all my feelings
Will be numb as numb can be
The normal ups and downs of life
Won't register with me

They say I'll stand in line
With the dealer and the junkie
And on my back I'll carry
A mean methadone monkey

They really do confuse me
I know they can't be right
"cause I'm going home to sleep
In my warm, snug house tonight

It's filled with love and laughter
My loved ones by my side
And I finally am able
To be wife, mother and guide

To trust in me, they're able
They know that I'll be there
Of cravings and of misery
I no longer am aware

To trust in me, they're able
They know that I'll be there
Of cravings and of misery
I no longer am aware

I no longer feel so sad
So depressed and blue each day
I used to feel that anything
Would beat living that way

But now I feel a happiness
And a joy I can extoll
My mind, which didn't function right
Has finally been made whole

So please, before you tell me
That methadone's so bad
Just ask my family how they feel
They've gone from sad to glad

And isn't getting better
What recovery's all about?
It's not 'my way' or 'your way'
But how it all comes out"


Jim Gillen

"The Codac All-stars"

The Jefferson Award is a prestigious national honor that recognizes individuals throughout the country who perform great public service, largely without recognition. NBC 10, a TV station in Rhode Island, has participated in the Jefferson Awards category, "Greatest Public Service Benefiting a Local Community" for nearly 30 years and guess who was honored this year!!???

Yup...our own Jimmy Gillen!! And he deserves it!
You rock Jimmy!  Congrats!!

The codac all stars are 3 years old....But in my family since i was very young in Brooklyn, NY. My family is Irish, Scottish and Seneca ( native american ) and many was the night our elders would sit with us and make music when they werent fighting!! I learned early that music was a very peaceful solution to lots of different strife.

As a recovering person myself I have seen that value increase in my own life as well as most if not all other people. When I got into the substance abuse field it was just a natural progression. My first job was in an all womens detox and many is the day I'd play and tell them stories. Getting them to participate was the key. Moving on to a residential program for teenage boys, it was the same, I'd find, after a good session of music, ( hip hop and blues and whatever else they would come up with ). It just progressed when i got the job at Codac, working in medication assisted recovery. I always keep an old guitar which I dont play well, but one day one of my patients was looking at it and said, " I used to play". I said go ahead but he declined. 2 or 3 sessions later he asked to try it. He was rusty but boy did he have talent and he started to drop around more and we started to play some together ( flute& guitar ). One day i asked if he wanted to take it home for a few days to practice and when he brought it back, a week later, he had a new guitar of his own. He told me, " Jim I'm grateful but your guitar is killing my fingers" ....and things have never been the same!

Soon it would catch on and more and more patients and staff would drop by on friday afternoons to hang or jam. I had a box of shakers, tambourines and such and one day our CEO and Clinical Director both came... He a guitar picker and She a singer. Before we knew it we started to get asked to come to treatment centers, ( we laugh because one of them in particular with their outdated tc method asked us to play and we say its the closest they ever came to letting methadone patients on their property ) hospitals, community events, first night celebrations ( New Years ) and state recovery celebrations. This year it's been non-stop senior centers and Jewish Temple lesiure clubs !!! On 8/9/04 there was an article written about us in the Providence Journal and a woman from a prominent Jewish Temple senior club called me ... ever since its been one after another! just today I went down to that detox and jammed with the patients during their music group, which was modeled after the All Stars.

I find that since I am the Patient Advocate as well, this "band" has opened more doors for us than i could have imagined. It shows that recovery is possible and fun, and that methadone recovery IS RECOVERY! I write lots of companies trying to get funding to expand the program as we get no funding, and i try not to spend all my money on equiptment!!

So, that's our story! That guitar player passed away a few months back, due to secondary health problems. We wrote a song that we always open our programs with.

Peace, keep up the good work!

Jim Gillen

Of course...Jim is being way too modest, so here is the rest of his story....Carol

James Gillen "Catfish Jim" is the founder of Tales from a Small Planet. As a professional storyteller for over 30 years, Jim has been delighting audiences with his tales of Native America, the Old West, the animal kingdom, Africa and the Celtic peoples. He has traveled all over North America and Europe, appearing on numerous television programs including the Today Show, Good Day New York, and the BBC. In delivering his program, Jim uses flutes, drums, sax, percussion and tin whistles. His programs are custom designed for all ages and all occasions.

The Catfish Cafe was created to further continue Jim's passion for audience participation entertainment. This collaboration of musical talents, storytellers, poets, drummers, and other characters get together to perform at various venues.

Jim also uses his storytelling abilities to give presentations on substance abuse and tobacco prevention in schools and other facilities. Additionally, an experiment using musical therapy to help people recovering from addictions tap into the creative energy within has blossomed into an ever-expanding group of musicians, singers and drummers. They are now known as the World-Famous CODAC All-Stars. This group has appeared as part of the Catfish Café, which included a performance that brought down the house at the City of Providence’s New Year’s Eve Bright Night event.

The state of Rhode Island's Division of Substance Abuse presented Jim with the 2003 Counselor of the Year Award. He is also a Licensed Chemical Dependency Professional (LCDP) in the state of Rhode Island.

For booking information for the “CODAC All Stars”, e-mail:

Dr. Joan Kandel ("docjoansie")

I became a glass artist about a year ago. I took a class and learned the fine art of "lampworking" and now I am absolutely ADDICTED!!!

Lampworking is the ancient art of melting glass over a flame to create beautiful glass beads. It got its name because over two thousand years ago artists used an oil lamp to melt glass onto a metal rod. Today, I use a torch fueled by propylene.

Each bead is made by hand one at a time with Moretti, a special glass made on the Island of Murano in Italy. The rod of glass is melted over a very hot flame (1700 degrees) and wound around a stainless steel rod called a mandrel. In this way, different colors of glass are slowly added, sculpted and shaped, to form a variety of different effects ranging from the very simple to a complex multi-colored bead. This process can take a considerable amount of time, depending on the detail and size of the piece being worked. The beads are then kiln annealed (heated in a very hot oven) overnight, a special process that insures that each bead is durable enough to last for generations even with wear.

I recently started making jewelry using my beads along with sterling silver findings and Swarovski austrian crystal. Here are some of my creations...





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