How We Respond Matters

Everything that follows, I found on one social media source that shall remain nameless (Facebook).  And before you read any further, I chose these hashtags and statements to stir up emotion. If you choose to read through these, consider your thoughts and feelings as they arise.

  • #BlackLivesMatter
  • #WhiteLivesMatter
  • #BlueLivesMatter
  • #AllLivesMatter
  • If you posted on fb since #GeorgeFloyd died and you haven’t mentioned it once, you’re part of the problem. Silent = complicit.
  • If you love an LGBTQ+ person and you’re planning on voting for Donald Trump in November, that’s an act of violence against them.
  • This President has done nothing but love his country and wants it to prosper. Trump, we love you! Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re not a politician. And we love that about you!!!
  • If you think 4 more years of Trump is a good thing, then you’re too stupid for me to associate with.
  • If you hate wearing a mask, you’re really not going to like the ventilator.
  • If we were performing surgery on everyone we met, then maybe the masks would be necessary. Absurd.
  • What don’t you understand? You may be asymptomatic. That means you may have it without symptoms. If the words are too big for you then find a dictionary. WEAR A MASK. Just wear it. And then others, including my kids, might be able to experience “some” level of normality again.
  • President, please ban mandatory mask wearing. It’s causing lung diseases that they will label as COVID.

There. How was that? What does it feel like to be bombarded daily by conflicting messaging?

A deep breath might be appropriate?

As recovery coaches, how we handle huge issues rests completely with us. Do we advocate? Do we organize the community? How do we define “our lane”?

How can we best help others with their recovery today?

I’ve written about possible recovery coach responses in recent posts (see Would You Rather Be Right, or Happy?, Storm, and Island of Sanity).

Personally, I adjusted some of my habits. I limit my social media time and watch just enough news to keep current. I’ve also returned to some basic recovery text. The Peace Prayer attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi I have found soothing, encouraging and optimistic. Whether or not you are Christian, I am hopeful the principles resonate.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace!
That where there is hatred, I may bring love.
That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness.
That where there is discord, I may bring harmony.
That where there is error, I may bring truth.
That where there is doubt, I may bring faith.
That where there is despair, I may bring hope.
That where there are shadows, I may bring light.
That where there is sadness, I may bring joy.

Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted.
To understand, than to be understood.
To love, than to be loved.

For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.



Señor, haz de mi un instrumento de tu paz!
Que allá donde hay odio, yo ponga el amor.
Que allá donde hay ofensa, yo ponga el perdón.
Que allá donde hay discordia, yo ponga la union.
Que allá donde hay error, yo ponga la verdad.
Que allá donde hay duda, yo ponga la Fe.
Que allá donde desesperación, yo ponga la esperanza.
Que allá donde hay tinieblas, yo ponga la luz.
Que allá donde hay tristeza, yo ponga la alegría.

Oh Señor, que yo no busque tanto ser consolado, cuanto consolar.
Ser comprendido, cuanto comprender.
Ser amado, cuanto amar.

Porque es dándose como se recibe, porque es olvidándose de sí mismo como uno se encuentra así mismo.
Es perdonando, como se es perdonado.
Es muriendo como se resucita a la vida eterna.


One last pertinent reminder from a lesson in the CCAR Recovery Coach Academy©.

“We need to remember that it is not the coach with biases that is a concern, because we all have biases. The real concern is the coach that believes s/he does not have any because this makes it impossible to watch for biases and how they can be harming our interaction with someone.” 


2015, I finished a thruhike of the entire Appalachian Trail, a trek of 2,189.2 miles. It took 189 days and 6 pairs of boots.  During that sacred time, my purpose in life became more precisely defined.  I am, simply, to coach recovery.  Recovery saved me from an early demise and brought purpose to my tattered life.  I have learned that I’m a coach to my very core. I am blessed to put the two together. I started work at the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) in January 1999.  I became the Executive Director of this recovery community organization in 2004.  I have trained the CCAR Recovery Coach Academy© dozens of times and have a hand in modifying, improving and adapting various recovery coach curricula.  I’m old enough now to start considering my legacy. This is one way for me to share lessons learned in my recovery, in my role as Executive Director and a trainer. When I engage with others, I present the same messages repeatedly.  It’s time to write them down. 

Phil “Right Click” Valentine
Recovery established 12.28.87

4 thoughts on “How We Respond Matters”

  1. Ughhh Phil, thank you so much for your most recent blog post. I feel like it was so appropriate for the current climate and I appreciate your gentle approach to the subject. I am strongly opinionated in my beliefs but I am trying to play Switzerland (when appropriate/necessary) for the sake of not skewing my recovery message, like at work or when people with differing opinions ask me a question and an explanation. I aim to educate without blame or judgment and I find it easy to do as a person in recovery, but not always in my day-to-day interactions. Thank you for the reminder!!

  2. Jennifer Erbland Foss

    Educating without bias is hard, whether I’m educating myself or someone else. I have posted some of these things on my social media. I know I have bias, some of it’s really obvious to me and some is not. I appreciate the reminder to stay in my lane.

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