Group, Extended Family and Then …

For over 30 years group work has been the heart of change for persons seeking recovery from addictions at Last Door. A process developed over decades and at the core of the clinical success that the Last Door is known for. I was walking the beach at Double Six in Bali yesterday and this giant sign was being laid out with string grid lines and plastic film. The word has a power beyond that of process. This post is for each one of you doing the daily diligent work of Group at Last Door. The spiritual journey has been difficult to emulate by others as it requires a community. History. A sense of place. A commitment to living by principles and acting with integrity. Each of these snaps, snippets and moments captures a fragment of that process as seen from over 12,900 kilometres away.

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Sitting down to share a meal, some 14 years after we first met, with Ria Sjahroni was a flash from the past. Our first encounter was in Jakarta where we met with her Karisma Group and participated in presentations to the community with a hope of developing treatment for addictions and access to Recovery. The journey has been difficult but the aspirations and hope continues. Helping persons seeking recovery find their way is an act of gratitude.

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With sarongs hiding knees (no knees, no jail-house sweats) we enter the temple grounds with Riani Yani. This journey too has been one family extension. Riani lived with Gail while attending film school in Vancouver. Having her connect us to friends and colleagues in Indonesia and share her experiences as film producer with her church community gave us a small glimpse into the spiritual stories that surround her world.

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The gathered United Nations team from Vietnam, Quebec, Jakarta and New Westminster in Bali was cause for an American visitor to seek permission to snap a photo. Now that might not be solely significant, however when she said, “You are living as a model to many.” I was quickly reminded of the recovery meeting we had attended the night before. This business of practicing spiritual principles in all out affairs. I will remember Uluwatu for what she said next, “Can you share your joy with some of my fellow Americans.” That’s that gratitude business. I stopped long enough to share with her that one of our recovery colleagues was going to be sharing the good news that over 30 million persons live in recovery in the USA!

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We gathered on the beach at Kelod & Pecatu at sunset. Waiting for the day to turn to evening. Slowly the neighbourhood scooters to the beach to catch the rays of setting sun. A conversation, a mix of juices in a coconut, a being with others to share story.

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From the early morning group shot to the setting of the sun, each day has been a journey of remembrance, of being aware of the gift of each. At sunset we get to sit quietly, waiting for a day to transition to night, a day to move into memory where it can be assessed — where an inventory of living is compared to the group norms with savoured satisfaction.

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