Surfing the recovery wave

What does it take to get a wave of energy to a point where it takes on its own momentum, swelling and ploughing across a rough ocean, gathering dynamism and visibility? I’m thinking the recovery movement here and I’m watching the wave as it grows. My surfboard is getting a dusting down.
‘Tipping points’ are, according to Malcolm Gladwell, ‘the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable’. It seems to me that we’re moving toward critical mass in the UK with regard to recovery. With Government supporting recovery and a late conversion to the cause by the NTA, it would look like the environment is favourable. That’s not where I see the head of steam though. The kettle is on the boil from the grassroots up.

What can Gladwell teach us about this from his book ‘The Tipping Point’?

Well, “The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts”. I think we have these kinds of people. He also says that 80% of the work will be done by 20% of the people. Sound familiar?
That’s why I think we need to support all the initiatives that bring the emergent recovery movement together. I see a little cynicism around some of this and a suspicion about motives and who has the ‘right’ to represent who.

We need to resist cynicism and stay positive. Wise, and careful and observant of course, there will be teething problems, but where recovering people and their supporters come together to spread the message of recovery (“We do recover; here’s how we did it; we’ll support you to do it too!”) then exciting things will happen.

Gladwell also says: “Epidemics are sensitive to the conditions and circumstances of the times and places in which they occur.” It’s my impression that the conditions, the circumstances and the times are perfect for the recovery epidemic to take hold in the UK. Of course the analogy to a pandemic has been made before. Take a look here. That recovery wave, fanned by the enthusiasm and energy of recovering people is gathering momentum. It’s time to go surfing.

Thanks for this Peapod. Massively timely and very, very important. If recovery is about getting there in a way that works for you, then surely we should be applying this to our own movement. Whether or not I agree with a,b and c, doing x, y and z is not relevant. Surely if they are pushing things along as best they can, we should – not only respect – but applaud! Not that I do this all the time – so note to self, must do better!
By Michaela on 31/01/2010 at 2:11 PM –

Pucker blog, I like your quotes. I just hope things will change for the better, I like the way you say 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. Sort of gave me a guilt trip as i know my limits and have to keep my life as simple as possible. Envy those who have the commitment and energy to do all this, like Michaela on this site, and Anne Marie up in Scotland. Pucker like I said.
By MartinBailey on 31/01/2010 at 5:32 PM

Bill White once told me that they were doing some very interesting research on the prevalence of recovery in Philadelphia, PA. They were doing a survey of the city and using postal codes to map neighborhoods by the prevalence of recovery and the prevalence of drug problems. He said that they planned to use this information to identify the areas richest in recovery support and target other areas for the cultivation of a recovering community.
By Jason Schwartz on 31/01/2010 at 6:38 PM –

lol riding the waves Peapod, love it. Martin thanks for your support and questions, and Jason we have the means to map this in the UK also….. and to watch it grow.
By Annemarie W on 31/01/2010 at 9:37 PM –

The tipping point is one of my favourite books, It’s inspirational in how it shows that small things really CAN make a big difference.
I think that we (the recovery advocates, if you will) are probably still the 20% at the moment. Indeed, sometimes it can feel like you are fighting a loosing battle. One thing I am growing to understand though, the minute you become despondent and ready to give up YOU BECOME ONE OF THEM. I have seen this in many walks of life, not just in this field. Note to self: Must remain positive For everyone else, a word or 3 from Martin Luther King: “Keep hope alive” Matt

Source: Community Blog Wired-In Feb 2 2010

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