This doctor shares his secret of recovering from addiction

Jul 22 2017, 12:50 am

This piece was written by Ray Baker MD

Hi, my name is Ray and I’m in longterm recovery from addiction.

To me that means I have not injected opioids, cocaine or misused alcohol for more than 31 years. Recovery means more than just abstinence. Like most people with addiction I wasn’t good at coping with life without using alcohol or other drugs. Quitting was necessary to begin my recovery. But alone, quitting would not give me tools to handle my emotions, to be a good husband and father, to heal my resentments – to be happy.

Most definitions of recovery include the pursuit of abstinence, better physical and mental health, improved level of function (relationships, work, school, recreation) as well as becoming a better citizen.

“Recovery Capital,” describes the resources a person can draw on to enter and stay in recovery from addiction. It can help determine the types of treatment needed, prognosis for successful recovery and the risk for relapse. The basics include things like safe housing, enough money, mental and physical health, available health care and supportive family and friends. Personal Recovery Capital includes knowledge and skills for communicating, setting boundaries, resolving conflict, dealing with difficult emotions and healthy activities to replace substance use. The exciting thing about recovery capital is that it can be measured and it can be changed. Like the the fuel level in your gas tank it can go down or up.

I was like a jigsaw puzzle with a bunch of missing pieces. I needed help to identify my gaps and learn new skills to fill them. I needed to hook up with a community of recovering people for encouragement and support. Three decades into it and I’m still learning, living a healthier lifestyle and giving back to my community. Like most of the other 854 respondent’s to Canada’s Life in Recovery Survey, I can say recovery is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

Ray Baker MD

Dr. Ray Baker, 71 recently retired as a consultant in Occupational Addiction Medicine. He serves on the National Recovery Advisory Committee and was a consultant for the Life in Recovery Survey (Canada) released May 2017. He is in his 48th year of marriage, father to two adults and two grand babies.. After much of his life as a sedentary workaholic he started running in 2005 and has competed in 8 Boston Marathons, 2 IronMan races and will compete this summer as a member of Team Canada at the ITU World Triathlon event at Penticton. For the past 5 years he has ridden on the Ride2Survive team raising money for cancer research.

If this story interests you then make sure you get your tickets to the Recovery Capital Conference before they run out.

Recovery Capital Conference 

When: September 7 and 8
Where: The Anvil Centre in New Westminster
Price: $499

Daily Hive Vancouver is a proud media sponsor of the Recovery Capital Conference