SpiritWorks Foundation

Center for Recovery of the Soul

We Are The Champions!

We Are the Champions!

The Spirit of the Horses


I’m recovering from a wonderful week of camp.  Twenty children and youth descended upon Airfield 4H camp in Wakefield, VA for the 3rd Annual SpiritWorks Summer Camp.  The beginning of the week started with horses from Rocky Hill Stables.  The animals were massive, some up to 1500 pounds which caused me a bit of trepidation for my little guys and girls some who weighed less than 70 pounds.  Barbara and her crew were great with the campers many of whom had never been around horses.

As I watched the relationships forming between the campers and the horses I was amazed at how they came about.  Starting with grooming and ending with washing the horses each encounter seemed to build upon the previous one.  Watching our younger campers lead Star through the obstacle course and one of our new campers fall in love with Bo was incredible.  Being a witness to children painting their mandala drawings on the horses was beautiful.  It is an experience that will stay with me forever.  More to follow…  Peace, Jan

First Day of SpiritWorks Foundation Camp

We’re at Airfield 4-H Camp in beautiful Wakefield, Virginia. Nineteen children and youth are here to learn more about the family disease of addiction and how it affects them. They’re  learning new coping and recovery skills in this special place.

They’re also having fun, making new friends, and re-connecting with old friends. Some of the new friends have webbed feet or four legs! We’ve already met geese and goats. One of the goats is expecting babies and they’re due any day now!  Rumor has it that there are lots of horse stables here, so who knows what tomorrow’s activities will include …

Geese at Airfield 4H Camp, Wakefield, VA

Geese at Airfield 4H Camp, Wakefield, VA

Goats at Airfield 4H Camp, Wakefield, VA

Goats at Airfield 4H Camp, Wakefield, VA

 We swam in the pool this afternoon, then got cleaned up for dinner. Before we went into the dining hall, we learned how to retire the flags for the evening. We learned the special rules for folding flags. The United States flag gets folded into a triangle, while the Virginia State and 4H flags are folded into rectangles. The flags deserve our respect and everyone participated with grace.

Folding and retiring the United States flag at Airfield 4H Camp in Wakefield, VA

Folding the United States flag.

Folding the Virginia State flag at Airfield 4H Camp, Wakefield, VA

Folding the Virginia State flag

Folding the 4H flag at Airfield 4-H camp, Wakefield, VA

Folding the 4H flag

Until tomorrow, then.



Why All the Buzz About Self-Care?

I just finished making a brief presentation about self-care to a group of women.  We had a lively discussion about the importance of self-care and how to incorporate it into our daily lives.  We talked about how for some it is hard to tend to ourselves, discussing some of the various reasons that make it so.  We also talked that for some scheduling time for self care is an important strategy to ensure that it gets done.

As people in recovery our lives are grounded in health, spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, social and environmental. It is important that we take time to care for all dimensions of our health, starting with spiritual health.  By taking care of ourselves we are able to sustain long term recovery and be a testimony to others that long term recovery is possible.

The habits and practices that we learned and incorporated in the early stages of our recovery will keep us healthy throughout the course of our lives. We cannot get too busy to make self-care a principled practice nor can we forget that it is what got us here that is to long-term recovery, in the first place.  So, remember, the next time you want to skip that meditation, not go to your meeting, choose not to exercise, or isolate from friends and family that what you are risking is long term sustained recovery.

Thanks for listening,

Recovery Compass tool,   SpiritWorks Foundation, Williamsburg,  VA

Peace, Jan

Recovery Rocks 5K


I just wanted to make sure you knew about our upcoming 5K race.  It is being held August 28, 2010 at York River State Park.  This is our third annual race and we are excited to be sponsoring it with the Friends of York River State Park.  Download and print your entry form.  Recovery Rocks 5K, SpiritWorks Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia

See you there!

peace, Jan

SpiritWorks Summer Camp Gone to the Horses


We are starting to get very excited about the upcoming SpiritWorks Summer Camp, August 23-27th.  This will be our third year of camp and several of our campers will be returning again, many for the third time.  This year promises to be as wonderful an experience as all of the others as this year the camp will feature HALT (Horse Assisted Leadership Training).  The HALT program is experiential in nature with the horses being our assistant teachers.  It will allow our campers to connect with their unique talents, gifts, skills, and personality.  Since horses are used for emotional growth and learning the experience will require the children and youth to be emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally and socially engaged with the horses and themselves.  It’s challenging for me to imagine what the experience will be like so stay tuned, I’m sure I will have lots to say about it, as will the children and youth.

We still have space in the camp for additional children and youth who are interested in attending.  Visit the SpiritWorks Children and Youth page at www.spiritworksfoundation.org/?page_id=61 for more information and download the brochure.

And of course, stay tuned for updates, photos and additional information.

peace, Jan

End Addiction!

So, I just finished reading an article in the Sunday edition of the Washington Post by Bankole A. Johnson from the University of Virginia titled “We’re addicted to rehab.  It doesn’t even work.”  And, while his comments are very discouraging given how we currently approach addiction in this country, I believe in many respects Dr. Johnson is on target.  He suggests that AA and rehab are not the complete response to the ever growing addiction problem in this country.  While he acknowledges that those methods work for some, there are others for whom the methods are not effective and in fact may be “damaging” and “devastating”.

I am in agreement with Dr. Johnson in that more needs to be done to “End Addiction”.  As a person in long term recovery and now founder of a recovery community organization I believe that there are multiple pathways to recovery.  I believe too that if one method is not successful for someone that they need to keep trying until they find something that works, and then stick with it.  In other words, if natural recovery was your experience, then great.  If AA or other 12-step programs works for you, great.  If church or other religious and faith based programs works for you, outstanding stick with it.  If none of these has worked for you, keep looking.

With no other illness that I know of in this country do we insist on one approach to “treatment” and then blame the person when they “don’t get it”.  It is indeed time to step up the efforts and look to other approaches to ending addiction.  I applaud Dr. Johnson and others for their roles in working to change lives for those of us affected by addiction, people like Nora Volkow, Westley Clark, and William White.  My hope is that all of you will continue to look to the people in the community, whose lives have changed for the better and allow us to come alongside you to advance the cause.  No one group of people will be able to bring about this change by themselves.  We need us all!

Even after reading the article through a few times, I remain with a question for Dr Johnson, why just treat addiction or “search for effective medication”, why not end it?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

As always, thanks for listening,

peace, Jan

In Response to our Brand New Partnership

Good morning,

I got a wonderful response to my post on “A Brand New Partnership” which included the following You Tube link, Literacy for Life, to the video presentation by Larry.  He gives a strong personal testimony to how literacy improves the health, well being and self esteem of a person. I appreciate Larry’s candid, “keep it real”, story of “what it was like, what happened, and what it is like now”.

I can’t wait to hear the stories of our men and women who will benefit from their participation in our LiteracyWorks program.We are moving forward swiftly with our partnership, as we have an excited group of people who are very interested in improving their lot in life.  We are looking for funding, for volunteers, and for help with providing meals.  Anything you can offer, feel free to contact SpiritWorks.

Thanks so much.

peace, Jan

Who are Virginia’s Consumers?

Take a look at the front page article in today’s Washington Post.  It’s about the privatization of the liquor industry in Virginia.  And while it focuses almost solely on the financial issues which are very important in today’s economy, it says very little about the impact on people’s lives other than the “consumers”.  The main point of the article it seems is whether or not privatization will generate sufficient revenue to replace the hundreds of millions of dollars that are currently generated through the state run liquor stores.  This funding as it says is primarily used to support education, prisons, and mental health programs in the Commonwealth.  What I wonder is whether or not the increase in liquor stores will increase crime, violence, underage drinking, drinking and driving, etc., all of which lead to more problems with education, increased mental health problems and the need for more correction and prison programs.  I would hope at a minimum that part of the conversation being held by the Governor and the General Assembly will include the social impact as well as the financial considerations.

Ultimately we are talking about the long term “consumers” of services, the children, the families and those needing mental health services not simply the consumers of distilled spirits.

Thanks for listening.

peace, Jan

A Brand New Partnership

I participated in a wonderful event yesterday afternoon.  It was a presentation from the Literacy for Life Program in Williamsburg for a group of probationers who are hoping to improve their self sufficiency through participating in a health literacy program.  I was very impressed by the man who shared his experience with the literacy program and his gratitude for having done so.  He credited his ability to get better jobs, use the computer, and improve his self esteem to having been a “learner”.  One of our guys commented, “I listened to every word he said” which for those I work with is often unheard of.  I’m excited about the partnership that was formed between SpiritWorks and the Literacy for Life Program.  Through our collective efforts, and those of other partner organizations in the community we will make a positive difference in the lives of men and women, supporting their desire to improve the quality of their lives as well as their personal health and wellness.  Stay tuned for further information, especially how you might get involved.

Until next time, thanks for listening.

peace, Jan