Viral recovery

Malcolm Gladwell and Seth Godin have popularized the concept of viral change. Bill White has talked about it for years in the context of transmitting hope for recovery. Now, he’s written a very brief paper on the topic.

Here are some quotes from clients that covey how they became “infected” by recovery carriers:

“He used to freak me out by saying things like, ‘Are you tired of living behind that mask?’ or he would call me when I was back using and ask, ‘How’s that high life working for you?’ He messed with my head, but he hung in with me,and I kept going back to him until I got my head together.”

“I could not write off ___(name) as I had so many other would-be helpers. It wasn’t even like he was helping. Others wanted to drop their pearls of wisdom and run. He was comfortable just being with me.”
“I knew if I wanted to stay out there in ‘the life,’ I needed to stay away from her ‘cause she was the ‘real deal.’”
“He kept telling me with this big smile on his face that I was full of shit but that he still loved me. He was telling the truth on both counts. I was and he did.”
“She kept calling to see how I was and to say she had been thinking about me at a time no one was thinking about me–even while she was going through cancer treatment. How does someone do that?”
“Everyone had threatened me or given me advice; he gave his story and gave me hope. He didn’t have any advice, only experience.”
“Every time I tried to praise her for all she had done, she would just smile and tell me she was just another drunk trying to stay sober and do what was right. I started thinking maybe I could be like her someday.”

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