Getting recovery back like it was – before it got like it is

Steven-Clark-and-Yolanda-Terry-Positive-Directions-Equals-Change, Getting recovery back like it was – before it got like it is, Culture Currents
Yolanda Terry and Steven Clark of Positive Directions Equals Change and Westside Community Services are part of the revolutionary African American centered healing network empowering our brothers and sisters on the road to recovery from addiction. Yolanda and Steven work with the whole staff and patients to promote a culture-based, therapeutic healing process, something we don’t find in most recovery organizations.

by Steven Clark and Yolanda Terry

Positive Directions Equals Change and Westside Community Services offer an array of services and programs to help individuals get and remain sober. Our niche includes an abstinence-based approach similar to recovery methodologies from the 1990s, totally different from mainstream recovery programs offered today. 

Our culturally-based comprehensive approach to recovery includes individual assessments, referrals, case management, inpatient or outpatient stays and support groups, utilizing a therapeutic teaching community. 

You may ask, “What do I need to do?” While each person’s journey is different, here are some steps individuals can take to get sober from all drugs. The process begins with a visit to the Billie Holiday Stabilization Center, located at 93 6th Street in San Francisco, Calif. Billie Holiday is open to all justice-involved adults in San Francisco who are experiencing homelessness, struggling with addiction or other behavioral health challenges, as well as those being released from the San Francisco County Jail. 

At Billie Holiday, we assess an individual for referral and placement. A key component of the process, an individual can learn the necessary steps through an assessment in order for program staff to make the appropriate referral. Here, individuals are able to stay until stable, while also attending support groups.

Individuals may also be referred to other programs including:

  • James Baldwin
  • The Minna Project
  • Our House
  • H.E.R. House
  • CW Hotel
  • Phatt Chance Supportive Housing
  • Drake Hotel
  • Sharon Hotel 
  • Mi Casa (monolingual Spanish speaking)

Finding support groups and sharing your stories with other recovering addicts is beneficial to your recovery. Additional support groups include those listed on the Recovery ZOOM Network schedule and The Friday Night Gathering at the Westside Community Clinic, 245 11th Street in San Francisco on Fridays from 7-9:00 pm. 

Here’s what you can do while seeking a program: 

  1. Prioritize your recovery: The number one tip for a successful recovery from addiction is to make recovery your number one priority in life. Think of recovery like an oxygen mask on an airplane. When the mask drops in an emergency, you have to first put the mask on your own face before putting it on the face of your child. It’s not a selfish reason – if you collapse for lack of oxygen, you won’t be able to offer assistance to your child. Taking care of your recovery from addiction makes you better able to care for others. 
  1. Explore your treatment options: Detox your body of drugs and alcohol by going to 1380 Howard Street, San Francisco, Calif. There you will find all of the treatment programs both outpatient and inpatient San Francisco has to offer.
  1. Discover and plan for your dreams: Addiction has a way of consuming all of your energy leaving nothing else to pursue. Recovery should always include a great deal of self-discovery and transformation and is the perfect time to figure out what you really want out of life. 
  1. Don’t try it alone. Trying to quit drugs and alcohol alone is never a good idea. There is a plethora of emotional, psychological and behavioral issues the underlying addiction may cause, leaving the road to recovery “rocky.” These issues must be addressed for a successful recovery. 
  1. Triggering situations: In recovery, learning to avoid and identify situations that may trigger a person can prevent drug cravings. We have a motto: “people, places and things.” While in your addiction if you were used to using in or at a specific location, it would benefit you to avoid that location and those individuals who may still be in the life. Be aware of triggering events such as holidays, parties or family and social gatherings. These events may leave you feeling desirous to be a part of them; however, they can also trigger a relapse. Being able to remove yourself from those environments can reduce the chance of relapsing. Most importantly, being able to understand and recognize those triggers is a reflection of growth and strength in your recovery.

Trying to quit drugs and alcohol alone is never a good idea.

  1. Recognizing and accepting: Cravings for drugs and/or alcohol will remain a part of your journey in recovery. Being able to recognize and remove yourself from triggering situations such as conflicts will be challenging and often stressful. Accepting those feelings when they arise and acknowledging them are techniques often used to help an individual feel bigger than the situation presents. This is healthy. 
  1. New hobbies and activities: The life of an addict revolves around “using,” consumed with thoughts and past lifestyles, activities and people. Thoughts may revolve around what you were willing to do for your next high. How to go get high? When to go get high? Where to get high? Being consumed unconsciously effects our journey – this is where a change of lifestyle is imperative to remain sober. New hobbies and activities to maintain your new journey in life: remaining sober.
  1. Healthy diet: In the throes of addiction, health is often the least of our priorities. Unhealthy eating to replace our unhealthy lifestyle choices – using – is huge. In our addiction, overcompensating one thing for another, such as replacing the drug with sugar and/or salt, lack of exercise, minimal sleep and unconsciously thinking of our next high leaves little space to focus on healthy eating. To better support your recovery, begin to focus on nutrition by talking to your doctor, reading food labels, focusing on ingredients, seeking new recipes, talking to some cooks. Changing habits and finding new hobbies all support recovery and ensure better success while on this journey. 

Positive Directions was built on a set of core values and mission to build and restore societal responsibilities within the African American community, advocating for and educating each other on the importance of recovery – achieving results. The above steps reflect how education, self-advocacy and a set of principles can result in success. Understanding that recovery is one day at a time with the acceptance of healthy changes, habits and supports creating a solid foundation to recovery. 

Your recovery journey can start by contacting the Billie Holiday Stabilization Center at 628-688-0686. If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorder issues, please give us a call. 

PDEC-Zoom-Recovery-Network-0822, Getting recovery back like it was – before it got like it is, Culture Currents
All are welcome! Join the PDEC Zoom Recovery Network this week. 

Positive Directions Equals Change, a community-based organization in the Bayview, offers classes and support groups each day of the week. If we aren’t the best fit for you or your loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at 415-401-0199 or email our team at The schedule is below and all are welcome. 

Steven Clark, a member of Positive Directions for 23 years, serves as a case manager at Westside Community Services and is known as a revolutionary recovery activist and fierce advocate in the Bay Area.

Yolanda Terry, a program participant who respects the process, reminds us: “You have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.”