The Importance of Connection in Addiction Rehabilitation by Laura Chapman

Rehabilitation treatments for addiction in this day and age often focus solely on the person seeking to overcome addiction. Some people assume that those who fall prey to substance abuse or alcoholism ‘fit a certain psychological profile’; others attach shame and stigma to what in reality, is a disease needing treatment like all other illnesses. In a fascinating article, Helen M. Farrell, M.D. (an award-winning Harvard Medical School Instructor in Psychiatry) notes that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, if not connection. Dr. Farrell, who boasts many years’ experience in addiction treatment, notes that she has observed two main factors over the years:
  1. Hitting rock bottom is of no use at all. Those who claim that at an addict has to ‘lose it all’ before realizing they have a problem and obtaining help, are mistaken. Rather than hitting a desperate point, it is important to that recovering addicts find ways to connect with people who can provide much stronger connections than alcohol and drugs could ever do. Recovering addicts should be encouraged to mend and strengthen the relationships that mean something to them.
  2. Addictions tend to fill a need; they become the most important relationship to the afflicted person. If we can help recovering addicts realize that alcohol and drugs are fulfilling a specific role, we can give them hope that there are healthier relationships out there that can provide a much more useful source of connection. Farrell notes that although therapy and medication are useful during the rehabilitation process, ultimately, the true path to healing is forged by effort and an investment in other human beings.

Farell says that she has witnessed beautiful moments of fellowship and connection at many addiction and recovery events. In group therapy, men and women share their stories, their disappointments, hopes and dreams. Far from being a negative lot, they hope to lead a normal, fruitful life, surrounded by colleagues, friends and family.

She adds that she has met many patients who have found their way back to their friends and family—some have started businesses, others wish to share experiences or introduce medical staff to their families. Like all major challenges, 
addiction can best be overcome when we feel that we are part of something greater than ourselves, and when we know that there are people waiting for us to join them on the fascinating journey that is life.


Laura Chapman has been a previous guest contributor. Her previous contribution is "
Self Help and Self Discovery: A Story of Hope."

StoryCorps' Great Thanksgiving Listen 2015

By Linda Eve Diamond

StoryCorps is a beautiful idea that continues to grow. To learn more about StoryCorps' background and mission, watch the StoryCorp founder's moving TED Talk below.

This Thanksgiving, StoryCorps is promoting "The Great Thanksgiving Listen" by asking high school students to interview a grandparent (or someone who would be of their grandparents' generation) over the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Click here for The Great Thanksgiving Listen Teacher Toolkit!

"StoryCorps hopes to make the Great Thanksgiving Listen a national tradition and to continue fostering meaningful connections within families, communities, and classrooms while also creating a singular and priceless archive of American history and wisdom."
This is a special opportunity to listen and to share and archive stories that might have gone unheard or forgotten. In addition to becoming part of a treasured family archive, these interviews are designed to become part of the StoryCorps archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Follow #TheGreatListen and visit
StoryCorps to learn more and continue beyond Thanksgiving, too! Listen to people of all ages and help them share their stories.

Warmest wishes to all for a Happy, Loving, Listening Thanksgiving.

Linda Eve Diamond is the creator of the Listeners Unite Website and the author of 12 books including "The Beauty of Listening," a listening-themed poetry collection For more about Linda, visit Linda's Website at and her blog at


Wishing Your a Healthy, Happy Halloween!

By Guest Contributor, Little Bear
Reprinted from The Beauty of Picture Books Blog

What's a sweeter treat than candy?
Stories that kids can read and enjoy again and again!

L.B. and Friends - Halloween
More and more people have been giving books as Halloween treats! There's even a Books for Treats program. Click here to read all about it! Some people plan ahead on their own, too, collecting gently used books (from friends or library sales)!  Click here to read about a special couple who have been giving out books ask Halloween gifts for years!

If you're looking for something quick and simple other than candy and you don't have time to gather enough books for all the ghosts and superheroes in your neighborhood, you can still find lots of fun things that kids will love! Fill your "candy" basket with plastic eyeballs, bat and spider rings, yo-yos, mini coloring books and crayons, bubbles, stickers, mini puzzles and games, fangs, glow-in-the-dark bracelets, finger puppets... just about anything little thing you can find at a dollar store or a party store in bulk!
The two above are from last year's Halloween. We had so much fun and got new picture books, bubbles, snakes and even a Winnie the Pooh doll (who is now my favorite teddy bear)! BEST Halloween treats EVER!

LB Great Pumpkin
This reprint covers highlights. To read the full post on Little Bear's blog, click here!
Little Bear is the co-founder and creative director of The Beauty of Picture Books Website & Blog. He has also assisted Linda Eve Diamond with her writing and Jeff Novick with his nutritional videos and lectures. L.B.'s other accomplishments include earning a black belt in karate and riding a famous cat at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum (photo here). (:3  To read Little Bear's full bio page, click here.

Everyone Needs Someone To Tell It To

A Special Guest Blog on the Inspiration and Heart Behind "Someone To Tell It To"—
A Non-Profit Work of Heart Dedicated to Listening

By Michael Gingerich and Tom Kaden


When we honestly ask ourselves which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares. Henri Nouwen


We remember the night clearly. It’s easy to recall the details of such a significant, defining moment. Here we were, both of us without a job. Michael’s had just ended that day. Tom’s a few months before. Neither of us knew what we were going to do.

Well, at least we’ll be able to spend more time together, one of us said. Neither of us knew how prophetic those words would be.

During the next few hours, we ate fish and chips, drank two Irish stouts and – as we had so many times before – shared openly and honestly about how we felt about our circumstances. We had no idea where this conversation would ultimately lead.

It was a dark season for both of us.

We committed to take advantage of this involuntary free time. We made a covenant. The first part of that covenant was that we would not hide anything from one another. We also agreed to remind one another that this was only a season; it would not last forever. We would find ways to enjoy the time we had; we would try to have some fun. We would help each other to discern where we would go next; we’d remind each other that there would be a next. We would really be present for one another. We knew there would be days of stress and anxiety and moments of confusion and uncertainty. We also knew our friendship would go on.

Early the next morning we met at a long walking path in a favorite park. We traveled it a dozen times that day. It was partially ringed by a beautiful, flowing creek, a soothing sight to walk beside. As we strode round and round the path, we admitted to each other that we were scared. Scared that our lives wouldn’t be significant. Scared that financially we couldn’t make it. Scared that we couldn’t find jobs that would be enjoyable and fulfilling.

Week after week, we met at that park. We walked, talked, and prayed. In the meantime, we also looked for jobs. We crafted resumes. We sent letters. We scheduled interviews. Neither of us received a job offer. Weeks and months passed. Still, nothing was offered. And nothing felt right.

One day at the park, we were sitting at a picnic table eating lunch. Fearful and frustrated, one of us said, “I just don’t know what to do.”

It was a very vulnerable moment. And, it opened a door. “Neither do I.”

We both felt intense relief. It felt good to say it aloud, and share the terror and pain. It felt good knowing that we both understood. A weight was lifted.

At that moment something changed.

Our walk that afternoon took on a decidedly different tone. There was something more hopeful in the air. And it was then that one of us said, “What would it look like if we worked together?”

It was another vulnerable moment. What if the answer was: “No way”?

Over the course of the next several weeks we started to contemplate what “working together” might mean. We were friends and we had in incredible amount in common. All those weeks and months of walking and talking at the park moved our sharing from open and honest to more vulnerable. We learned more and more about ourselves – our passions, our gifts, our dreams, our calling – and one another. Ultimately, we learned we could implicitly and utterly depend on each other, that we could be truly open and vulnerable with each other, and, as a result, working together would be a joy.

An idea emerged. A plan. A mission.

We would establish a non-profit together. We would create the same kind of safe place for others that we had created for ourselves. We had both been doing this already, throughout our lives. We listen to others’ stories, enter into their minds and hearts and lives, and provide opportunities for them to share their brokenness, burdens, joys and hopes. We cherished those moments of emotional and spiritual intimacy in which we could help others. As Henri Nouwen describes, we yearn to be the kind of person and friend who “instead of offering advice or solutions, chooses instead to share in the darkness and pain.” We both desire to make the journey with them.

It was exactly what we did for each other. And, we decided we could do it with many others.

Our non-profit, Someone To Tell It To, is who we are and who we want to be. We know what the need to unburden ourselves and express our vulnerability with someone who will not judge feels like. We know the freedom it brings and want others to know it too.

Every day we hear stories from people living with cancer, stories about what it’s like to live with addictions, stories of loss and fear, stories of shame, stories about the struggle to find meaning, stories of those wrestling with their faith, stories of loneliness, rejection and fear, stories of emptiness and longing for purpose, and stories of those who want to belong, but don’t know how.

We understand that telling our stories to one another and providing a safe place is necessary in our world, which often feels disconnected and individualistic, a world in which we wear masks to hide and disguise our true selves. When we take off our masks, let others in, and share our stories, we help one another.

Michael and Tom have cumulatively spent thousands of hours counseling and listening compassionately to people locally, nationally, and internationally and are both accomplished authors and community leaders. They have encouraged and supported countless people whose lives have been directly or indirectly affected by cancer, autism, intellectual disabilities, health concerns, spiritual crises, or other life challenges.

Together, they authored Someone To Tell It To: Sharing Life's Journey, "life stories that bring readers a greater understanding about grace, compassion and unconditional love.

Visit their Website at

"I and You" - A Short Story About Love, Listening, and Two Characters Named I and You



Meet I and You. These are the names of the characters in the following flash fiction story, which is told in the third person. As you'd imagine, the character named I is thoroughly self centered, seeing only what I wants to see. The grammar may take a little getting used to, but these characters were born to embody their names in this little story about love and listening. It all begins with I looking for love the way that only I knows how...

By Linda Eve Diamond

I was walking along through life one night when I saw I’s own reflection in the eyes of another. I looked at I and smiled; I no longer felt alone. I was eye to eye with I. I talked and I talked all night long.
I-I had so many things in common. By and by, I and I fell in love.

I and I saw eye to eye on everything, so it seemed. Until one day, I started talking crazy. I was sure I must have been mistaken.
I don’t think that way, I said. I know, said I. What is this? I wondered. My beloved reflection is distorted; there’s a crack in the mirror. This is bad luck. Can it somehow be repaired? I just stared.

I and I were never the quite the same. I was not looking at someone just like I, someone first in person, first in importance, first in knowing what is right—I was looking at You.
You! I said in disbelief. You said your name was I. It is, protested I. I am I, but I am my own I, just as you are. I see the world through my I, as you see it through yours. To keep us from getting more confused, it really is best to call me You. But make no mistake, I live in first person, too, second only in name to you, I, as you are second in name to me.

I marveled at this person peeking out from behind the loving eyes I thought I knew so well.
How could this be? I only looked as far as the I-lid, the surface things that made us look the same and how I reflected in your I’s as You shared my thoughts and dreams. And here You are, bursting through the seams. Do I know You? Should I? And who are We if you’re this You I’ve never truly seen?

You looked at I for a long time. You repeated all the things I never heard since I met You. I realized I had missed something:
You never saw as eye to eye as I believed. You told your truth, but I thought You would grow up, wake up, suck it up, because I loved the I in You so much I didn’t want to lose You—or was it I I held so tightly?

You said, sadly, that I never loved You. You spoke at length about longing to be known, to be heard. I listened. Sort of. The way I always listens.
So what I hear You saying, I said, is that You want to learn to be more like I.

You squinted at I. You said a few things that got through. I stopped to wonder about You. I felt a surge of love for the You I never knew. But then You said goodbye to I.
In my defense, I said, Maybe You need someone more like You. You said, I do, and so do You. With that I cried. I did need You, but all I knew to listen for was I.

“I and You” ©2009 Linda Eve Diamond
This story is reprinted from The Pig's Wings blog.

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Linda Eve Diamond is an author, founder of the Listeners Unite Website, and a recipient of two International Listening Association awards. Her poetry and flash fiction have been published by several literary Websites and journals, including Your Daily Poem, Grey Sparrow Journal and Sleet Magazine. To find Linda's poetry, books, photographs and other blogs, visit

The International Listening Association's 2015 Award Winners

CONGRATULATIONS to these special listeners who were honored with 2015 International Listening Association awards!
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International Listening Association Hall of Fame:
Margarete Imhof

Lifetime Achievement Award:
Andrew Wolvin

Outstanding Educator Award:
Kent Zimmerman

President's Award:
Jennie Grau
Philip Tirpak

Special Recognition Award:
Corine Jansen

For more about the International Listening Association, visit!

profile picture
Linda Eve Diamond is an author, founder of the Listeners Unite Website, and a recipient of two International Listening Association awards. Her poetry and flash fiction have been published by several literary Websites and journals, including Your Daily Poem, Grey Sparrow Journal and Sleet Magazine. To find Linda's poetry, books, photographs and other blogs, visit

Happy I Love to Listen Day!


Here are a few ways to celebrate this special day…

Share listening
downloads or quotes,
thanking a special listener,
sharing listening-themed
and, above all, taking time to

Read more about I Love to Listen Day at
and find other great listening Websites on our Listening Links page


Linda Eve Diamond is an author, founder of the Listeners Unite Website, and a recipient of two International Listening Association awards. Her poetry and flash fiction have been published by several literary Websites and journals, including Your Daily Poem, Grey Sparrow Journal and Sleet Magazine. To find Linda's poetry, books, photographs and other blogs, visit

Poems for National Poetry Month!

April is National Poetry Month! Here are some poems from my listening-themed collection, The Beauty of Listening, some favorite poems with a listening heart that I've shared here over the years, and some wonderful poems sent in by contributors. Enjoy and have a Happy Poetry Month! (Read more about National Poetry Month at The Pig's Wings blog!)

Poems from The Beauty of Listening:

Some Favorite Poems with Listening Hearts…

Some Favorite Poems Sent by Listeners Unite Contributors…

And now, I leave you with a silent video poem that honors compassionate listeners. Click below to see

Happy Poetry Month & thanks for listening! Happy

Linda Eve Diamond is an author, founder of the Listeners Unite Website, and recipient of two International Listening Association awards and a Coffee House Press poetry award. Her poetry has been published by several literary Websites and journals, including Your Daily Poem, Grey Sparrow Journal and Thema. Her latest publication was a flash fiction piece in Sleet Magazine. You can find Linda's full bio here and more of her poetry here and at The Pig's Wings blog.



The Listening Heart Award

Let's start a trend of sharing our appreciation of the great listeners in our lives with a small but meaningful recognition, a Listening Heart Award!

Share it with individuals and groups who…

  • Listen with heart and enrich our hearts by listening.
  • Offer deep attention to comfort, guide, inspire, create and work toward peace and healing for one or for all.
  • Take the time to look up from computers and phones to listen to friends, loved ones, co-workers, strangers—with heart.

I'll start with you, for your interest in listening. If you're reading this right now,
this one's for you and also for the inspiring listeners on my Listening Links page.

The Listening Heart Award


Thank you for listening. Happy

Happy World Poetry Day!

Book Cover
Today, in celebration of poetry, I'm giving away free copies of The Beauty of Listening poetry collection! Click here for the special free download code (posted on The Pig's Wings blog, which will be active throughout World Poetry Day (March 21)!

To learn more about World Poetry Day,
click here to visit UNESCO!

"Every poem is unique but each reflects the universal in human experience, the aspiration for creativity that crosses all boundaries and borders, of time as well as space, in the constant affirmation of humanity as a single family." - Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

Check out these new poem recordings with listening themes!

By Linda Eve Diamond

My new blog, The Pig's Wings: On Poetry and Other Fanciful Means of Flight, features three new recordings from "The Beauty of Listening" poetry collection!

The Modern Art of Conversation copy

The Problem with Interrupting
"The Problem with Interrupting" (video)

  • A Swell Time in 1929 2 copy"A Swell Time in 1929" (audio)
  • (The last one's not listening themed, though it may be a fun little listening experience.) Happy

I hope you enjoy these new recordings!



1003271_10151675913712521_422159734_nLinda Eve Diamond is the creator of the Listeners Unite Website and the author of 12 books including "The Beauty of Listening," a listening-themed poetry collection For more about Linda, visit and The Pig's Wings!

Celebrate Listening Awareness Month!

By Linda Eve Diamond

It's Listening Awareness Month! Listening Awareness Month was started 16 years ago by our friends at the International Listening Association. Here are 10 ways to celebrate, cultivate and honor the art and skill of listening:

  1. Download and share listening images and memes from the Free Downloads page!
  2. Explore resources on the Listening Links page!
  3. Share quotes from the Listeners Unite Listening Quotes Libraries (the largest library of targeted, categorized listening quotes on the Internet)!
  4. Share listening stories from the wide array of news sources on the In Listening News page.
  5. Join Listeners Unite on Twitter and add @ListenersUnite or #listeningawarenessmonth to your tweets and they'll be retweeted and will also appear on the In Listening News page!
  6. Check out the International Listening Association! (This year's convention is this month in Virginia Beach. I wish we could be there, but we look forward to hearing about it from our ILA friends!)
  7. Download and share Free Listening Assessments.
  8. Share posts from the "Have You Heard?" blog (browse by year on the left).
  9. Read and share poems and stories with a listening theme. You can find some on the Listening and the Arts page!
  10. Above all, take time to listen, really listen, and take time to stop and pay attention to how carefully you're listening. Awareness is the heart of listening.

Happy Listening! Happy

Listening Awareness Month

1003271_10151675913712521_422159734_nLinda Eve Diamond is the creator of the Listeners Unite Website and the author of 12 books including "The Beauty of Listening," a listening-themed poetry collection For more about Linda, visit


New Blog: "The Pig's Wings"!

By Linda Eve Diamond

Hello, listening friends!

In addition to this listening-themed blog, I've decided to start a new blog dedicated poetry, photos and other arts-related posts! Of course, I'll continue to share here and will have new posts coming in March (for Listening Awareness Month)!

Until then, remember to find listening news
here and lots of fun, sharable listening images here, and click here to visit my new blog, The Pig's Wings: On Poetry and Other Fanciful Means of Flight!!



Self Help and Self Discovery: A Story of Hope by Laura Chapman

It takes a lot of courage for me to admit that for many years I battled with addiction. Even now, typing it out doesn’t feel real and it almost feels like I’m writing about another person. But I’m not. It’s taken me a long time to confront my fears—and to break through the barriers that led me down the path I’d chosen.

I wasn’t an alcoholic, I wasn’t a heroin addict, I was the “acceptable” face of addiction—my drug of choice was codeine, a legal, prescription medication that is easy to get hold of and is something that many millions of people take without a problem, but for some, it becomes a dependency that is hard to explain – and to beat.

It started off quite small, only taking the recommended daily dose and not going over—staying within the recommended safe level, it was after an operation I’d had for something quite trivial. Then after a short while I found I liked the buzz, I liked the way it made me feel and I wanted more and more to get me through the day. Before I realised, I was taking twenty or thirty a day to get the same feeling I was getting from six.

Addiction makes you sneaky. You find yourself planning your day around where you’ll be able to find a drugstore where to staff don’t know you—you find yourself going online and trying to find online pharmacies that will ship out larger amounts of what you need and before you know it you really are totally out of control.

For me, the problems escalated—and only began to unravel when my husband looked at our bank statement one day (I was usually in charge of the finances of the house) and began to question the large amounts of cash that were leaving our account to seemingly strange online outlets.

To cut a long story short, he helped me get help. He understood and he was patient with me while I “detoxed” and withdrew. He came with me to therapy and held my hand before and after. However, I was also keen to try and understand the deeper reasons for my problems and—although some people are not so keen on them, I turned to self help books to assist me further in my quest. Alongside talking therapy, a monitored program of SSRI medication and the continued support of my family I take baby steps each day towards being totally free of my addiction.

There’s a long road ahead but it is conquerable.


Thank you, Laura, for bravely sharing your story and insights. You're an inspiration!



Happy 2015!

HAPPY 2015!


See what's new on the Site for the new year! In keeping with my invitation for guest bloggers, I have a new page, Listening to You with submission guidelines. Do you have something to share that's not on the guidelines? Great! Send it along. I'm listening…

I also welcome guest submissions at The Beauty of Picture Books Blog! You can find those guidelines here!

I wish you a happy, healthy new year of peace, comfort, joy and all the things that make you smile!