Wednesday, May 06, 2009
No Such Thing as a Bad Person Addicted to Alcohol
Had the pleasure today to hear and meet Charles D. Appelstein, author of No Such Thing as a Bad Kid and other works expounding the strength-based approach to working with at-risk youth.
Charlie was keynoter at the 12th annual Northern California Tobacco, Alcohol, Drug Educator and Youth Development Conference at UC Berkeley, where I staffed a LifeRing exhibit table. He's a fun speaker, gets the audience laughing, chanting, and singing, all the time delivering key points of a message that is in many respects revolutionary.
When a teacher or counselor begins work with troubled kids -- also "trouble kids" -- the key thing is attitude, Charlie began. The successful attitude, he said, is "I believe in you. You are a great kid. You can do great things." This attitude transfers to the kid; it makes the kids feel good about themselves, it gives them hope, and it inspires them to change for the better.
Afterward we chatted about addiction treatment, and I told him that LifeRing was one of the strength-based approaches in this field. He expressed great interest. We also exchanged books; he gave me his and I gave him mine.
I also had the opportunity to chat with Tom Herman of the State Department of Education, Dr. Alex Stalcup of the New Leaf Treatment Center, Ralph Cantor of the local County Office of Education, and a number of substance abuse program administrators, teachers, cops, and others in and around K-12 education who are concerned with the drug issue. The message that there's a secular, strength-based addiction recovery support network out there was welcome news to many ears.