Flourishing After Addiction with Carl Erik Fisher

Taking Ownership of Your Recovery Journey, with Dr. Ray Baker

February 01, 2024 Carl Erik Fisher Season 1 Episode 31
Flourishing After Addiction with Carl Erik Fisher
Taking Ownership of Your Recovery Journey, with Dr. Ray Baker
Show Notes

Dr. Ray Baker is a distinguished leader in the field of addiction medicine and a person in long-term recovery from addiction. This episode of Flourishing After Addiction particularly resonates with the theme of the longer-form writings I’m starting to post about frameworks for making sense of recovery, so I’m grateful to have the chance to talk with him.

A highlight of the conversation is Ray’s insight into the various processes of recovery, as he advocates for a holistic approach across different domains. He breaks down the framework of recovery capital: the internal and external resources that help people on their recovery journeys. We discuss how that model and others can serve as  organizing frameworks for change, helping people to plan their recovery journeys with autonomy and agency. My hope, by the way, is that this Substack newsletter can help with both of those elements: making sense of recovery, and itself serving as an ecosystem where people can learn and share with one another.

There’s a lot more here: Ray’s personal journey and the power of self-disclosure, including what one person shared with him that may have saved his life. His experiences in treatment, and the contrast between primitive and cruel forms of confrontational therapy, versus the principles of autonomy, agency, and compassion that he later came to value. Ray also entered recovery as a committed atheist and now identifies as agnostic, so we discuss secular recovery as one interesting recovery pathway. Ray also gives a balanced perspective on the uses of psychedelics and antidepressants in treatment. And, coming back to the theme of recovery frameworks, Ray shares his experience with exercise and physical health as a crucial aspect of his own recovery, and how that led him to a deeper consideration of physical health and wellbeing as a part of recovery processes.

Ray Baker, an addiction medicine physician and a person in long-term recovery from addiction, spent over three decades as a clinician and consultant after initially working as a family physician. He developed the University of British Columbia's Undergraduate Addiction Medicine program and authored guidelines for Canadian railway workers with substance use disorders. Recognized for enhancing methadone maintenance therapy standards, he received the Nyswander-Dole Award in 2003. Baker has served on the American Society of Addiction Medicine's board and contributed to addiction research and recovery frameworks in Canada. Since retiring from clinical practice in 2016, he has focused on community-based recovery, culminating in his book, "Recovery Coaching, Knowledge and Skills," published in 2022. That year, he was honored with a lifetime achievement award by the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine.

In this episode:
- Brief assessment of recovery capital
- Barbara Fredrickson’s work on developing positive emotions
- Secular recovery: Life Ring,  The Secular Recovery group,  and a post about the secular recovery movement
- Recovery capital: a primer for addictions professionals (White and Cloud)

Sign up for my newsletter and immediately receive my own free guide to the many pathways to recovery, as well as regular updates on new interviews, material, and other writings.