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Elections 2020: Meet the Candidates

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Greetings Sangha! Below are the candidates for our 2020 Board of Directors Elections. Note each candidate’s name is linked to their full statement below; please read them carefully as you consider your votes.

  • Are you registered to vote? Note being signed up for and receiving emails from the Recovery Dharma email list is not the same as being registered to vote. If you are not sure, more information can be found in this bulletin. Voting will run from January 15, 2020, through January 31, 2020, so register by January 29!
  • Have questions? Email any questions to info@recoverydharma.org.

Meet the candidates (note – candidate statements were not edited and appear as submitted):

Amanda Marshall – McMinnville, Oregon Andy MacMillan – Melbourne, Australia
Archie Williams – New York City Beth Coyote – Seattle, Washington
Carly Wild – Oakland, California Craig Wilkie – Lexington, Kentucky
Critter Spinneret – Berkeley, California Dirk Wethington – Bloomington, Illinois
Gary Matulis – Santa Barbara, California Joel Elizabeth Smith – Knoxville, Tennessee
Joel Osterman – Manchester, New Hampshire Johntony Fall – Portland, Oregon
Kara Christine Haney – Santa Cruz, California Kelly Thomas – Salem, Oregon
Kris Roehling – Indiana Lacey Browne – New York City
Lawrence Gould – North Carolina Ray Rosales – Salt Lake City, Utah
Zach Cohen – Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Amanda Marshall

  1. What name do you want to use for the election process?
    Amanda Marshall
  2. What pronouns do you use?
    She/Her
  3. Where is your home group or inter-sangha located?
    McMinnville, Oregon
  4. Have you been involved in service positions with your home sangha or area? Please
    describe.
    Yes, I was one of 2 founders of our group and have been facilitating meetings in McMinnville Oregon since it’s inception in 2019.
  5. Are there other recovery or service organizations in which you are actively involved?
    Yes, AA and Al Anon. I have held several service positions in AA, including: International Conference of Young People in AA Bid Committee Member, meeting secretary, coffee, Alternate General Service Rep. (GSR), GSR, and Alternate DCM.
  6. Have you participated in any of the transition work circles (if so, what was your involvement)?
    Attended PORTLAND inter-sangha meeting and discussed sexual misconduct policy. Also participated in some opportunities to discuss said policy with local groups and within my sangha as well as commenting when possible through electronic forums.
  7. Have you previously served, or do you now serve, on the board of directors of any other non-profit or for-profit organizations?
    Yes. Though I resigned from all of my board service about a year ago to focus on my recovery, kids, and work, prior to that I served on the following boards: McMinnville Montessori School (2002-2011 and 2015-2019), League of Minority Voters (2015-2019) and Champion Team – a nonprofit which provides drop in services for people experiencing homelessness and/or identifying with mental diversity (2016-2020.) Additionally, from 1996-1999 I served on the Board of the Coos County Women’s Crisis Service.
  8. What is your professional/livelihood history? (Please just provide a brief description of the types of positions you have held or careers/employment in which you have engaged).
    I began my legal career in 1994 as the Tribal Court Clerk for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. I served as a Deputy District Attorney in Coos County from 1996-2001 where I created and oversaw the Domestic Violence Prosecution Unit. From 2001-2011 I served as an Assistant Attorney General and Attorney in Charge of the Child Advocacy Section of the Oregon Department of Justice, and was the chief attorney for advice, litigation, and policy on child welfare matters in Oregon.In 2010, I was nominated by President Obama and in 2011 confirmed by the US Senate, to be Oregon’s U.S. Attorney. In threat role, I served on behalf of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee as:
    – Co-Chair of the Native American Issues Subcommittee
    – a member of the National Security and Terrorism Subcommittee,
    – a member of the Marijuana Issues Working Group
    – a member of the Child Exploitation Working GroupI also co-chaired the Federal Working Group on Native American/Alaska Native Youth Exposed to Violence and served on the Department’s Task Force to implement the 2013 amendments to the Violence Against Women Act and the Federal Work Group to implement the White House Strategic Initiative to Combat Violent Extremism.Other highlights include:
    – tripling prosecutions of child sex traffickers
    – pursuing and settling a first-of-its-kind civil rights lawsuit against the Portland Police based on a pattern or practice of excessive use of force against people experiencing a mental health crisis pursuing cases against the State of Oregon for failing to serve people with mental illness and developmental disabilities in their communities and in the workplaceIn 2016 I opened a small law office in McMinnville, Oregon, and in 2018 we expanded to the Portland area and launched MAC law. I represent clients in both civil and criminal litigation in state and federal court. I am also available for public speaking and consulting work in a variety of policy areas.
  9. What special or unique skills do you feel you would bring to the board of Recovery Dharma?
    I am in active recovery from substance use disorder, and a number of other things, but my primary addiction to my mind. I have skills and experience facilitating meetings, crafting initiatives, drafting policies, advocating for vulnerable communities, cross-cultural and intersectional communication, active listening, research, writing, law, conflict resolution, crisis management, trauma-informed communication, building consensus and supporting my colleagues. My calling today is not to lead. It is to serve. I am looking for ways to be useful that are aligned with what I have learned walking a Buddhist inspired recovery path.

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Andy MacMillan

Dear Recovery Dharma Sangha member,
Here’s a little about me, Andy MacMillan.

I am a recovering addict who has had long-term issues with cannabis and alcohol abuse since my mid 20’s. I am about to turn 50 and I have been battling with addiction and depression for around 20 years. At this stage, I am strong in my recovery, thanks to excellent support from my Psychiatrist, my Dharma teacher His Eminence Zim’og Rinpoche (Spiritual Director of Nalandra), my family and friends, and my Sangha at Nalandra and Recovery Dharma.

I am a single father of two, Jasmine (10) and Max (7), and I am on good terms with their mother Michelle with whom I co-parent the kids on a part-time basis. Being well so I can be a loving and present Dad is a driving motivation for me. I work full-time in my own business and love gardening so much that even though I do it for a living, I still enjoy tending my organic veggies, happy chooks and ongoing back yard permaculture project at home in Mitcham, an outer Eastern suburb of Melbourne.

I have been working on my issues with addiction and depression for more than two decades, as well as doing my best to study and practice Dharma for as long. I was drug and alcohol free for a decade but relapsed after my separation from Michelle around 6 years ago. I was also doing well on a very low dose of anti-depressants but became very depressed after the separation. It has been quite a journey to get to the level of functioning I have now, and as with all of us, that journey is ongoing. Discovering the Recovery Dharma group has been a key element in my recovery as I mentioned above – I’m not sure I would be in anywhere near as good a place as I am without my “sobriety Sangha”!

We meet weekly and to my knowledge, are the only Recovery Dharma group currently in Australia. My interest in becoming a board member is to strengthen the Australian connection with the global Sangha, and to offer whatever support and service I can to the new board so that Recovery Dharma continues to expand and reach as many addicts as possible wherever they may be. I believe the Buddha’s wisdom and compassion are boundless and I have a heartfelt wish to bring Recovery Dharma to all who can benefit from it.

Whether I am elected to the board or not, I wish to express my appreciation to all who have contributed to the development and growth of the Recovery Dharma to date, and into what I anticipate will be a bright and vital future.

In Dharma,
Andy.

  1. What name do you want to use for the election process?
    Andy MacMillan.
  2. What pronouns do you use?
    Mr, but I rarely use pronouns.
  3. Where is your home group or inter-sangha located?
    My home group meets in Northcote, an inner North suburb of Melbourne in the state of Victoria, Australia.
  4. Have you been involved in service positions with your home sangha or area? Please describe.
    I have chaired a meeting and led meditation, but I’m usually just a regular attendee.
  5. Are there other recovery or service organizations in which you are actively involved?
    No.
  6. Have you participated in any of the transition work circles (if so, what was your involvement)?
    No. That said, from what I have seen of the work these teams have done, I must express my admiration for the high quality of such things as the website, support documents, by-laws document and of course the book. A remarkable collective achievement.
  7. Have you previously served, or do you now serve, on the board of directors of any other non-profit or for-profit organizations?
    I am a founding director of Nalandra AIVBI (Australian International Vajrayana Buddhist Institute) and have served in this role for around a decade. I have participated in meetings and working bees as well as teachings, practices and retreats. For more on Nalandra, feel welcome to visit https://nalandra.org/
  8. What is your professional/livelihood history? (Please just provide a brief description of the types of positions you have held or careers/employment in which you have engaged)
    I work as a self-employed landscape designer, landscaper and gardener. I have been working in this area for around 20 years and prior to that I was a graphic designer.
  9. What special or unique skills do you feel you would bring to the board of Recovery Dharma?
    While I doubt my horticultural experience will be of much use, I still have graphic design skills and have contributed to much of the graphic design for Nalandra over the years – the emblem, stationery and newsletters for example.

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Archie Williams

Greetings, all. I’m Archie, and I think of myself as he/him/his. My present home group is a gathering I was honored to help get together, the Harlem NYC Sangha. I hold another group very dear as my initial home, Fort Lauderdale, FL, where I began my journey almost a year ago. I have been able to be of service in the NYC InterSangha and several sanghas around NYC in 2019 and was fortunate enough to take part in the annual conference in Chicago, as well as the very first Recovery Dharma meeting during that gathering. I participate in another recovery community, but find that the inclusion, message, and simply the level of comfort and belonging that Recovery Dharma provides me are much more conducive to my path of recovery and overall mind space. I make a regular practice of service work at animal shelters wherever I find myself, which has always brought me small moments of joy, and have done a significant amount of consulting in the not-for-profit sector as well as a number of years of rescue and logistical mapping work with FEMA. The latter tied in with my former life as a rescue professional for a little over twenty years. Gratefully, I’ve had significant amounts of time recently to continue and expand upon my life practice of Bhuddist principles as well as my daily meditation practice, specifically. I do have experience with relapse on my recovery path, and credit adherence to Bhuddist principles and practices I began studying close to thirty years ago with aiding me in embracing and moving on from suffering along the way, wiser and more disciplined. I was able to contribute a tiny amount to the Recovery Dharma transition process by way of the Inclusion, Diversity, and Trauma circles, and am eager to lend my abilities to the furtherance of all three as well as the overall stability and growth of RD.
-Very Respectfully,
Archie Edward Williams III

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Beth Coyote

I come from a family where there is mental illness, addiction and suicide. Several years ago, after the suicide of my brother, I joined an Alanon group, found a sponsor and completed the steps. i struggled with the language and some of the concepts but found love and friendship in the meetings. The amends process was powerful. The peer to peer structure resonated with my deep distrust of authority.

Finding Refuge Recovery was a revelation. Vibrant, inquisitive and immediate. While sanghas have professed inclusion, RR seemed more demonstrably so. I completed Facilitator 1 training with ATS and shortly thereafter, everything came apart. In the aftermath, some of us came together and continued to sit together. During that time, we deepened our friendships and our practice. When Recovery Dharma emerged, we sought a meeting space and opened our doors.

I have long been wary of leaders and the phenomena of “sage on the stage”, preferring to acknowledge the wisdom of all participants. I revere my teachers, but I don’t worship them. It takes thoughtfulness and skill to guide without any abuse of power. I am interested in a new model of mentorship and ways that we can enter into relationships that address that issue. How do we bring all voices to the table? What does it mean to be inclusive? That is a compelling reason for me to offer service to Recovery Dharma, to grow a community where there is true diversity and inclusion. We can aspire to participate in the practice together as wise friends.

I would be honored to serve on the BOD of RD.
Much metta,
Beth Coyote

Questionnaire:

  1. I prefer to be called Beth Coyote (or occasionally Coyote)
  2. My pronouns are she/her
  3. My home group is in Seattle
  4. I helped procure the rental space for our meetings. I have been facilitating a sit in the building for several months and the RD meetings have access to my zafus and zabutons, altar candles, and bells. I am the ‘key’ person for the building and I am one of the contact people for the church folks.
  5. I am an active member of Alanon and I have sponsees. I am a facilitator for Alateen and have
    been for about a year.I am also involved with a local organization called TeenFeed and we cook for homeless teens.My midwifery clinic is one of the organizations that regularly volunteers.
  6. I am currently participating in the Core Circle, the Wise Friendship Circle and after meeting Jean T at our first intersangha meeting in Olympia, will be joining the Inclusion Circle. I am on the Zoom calls working through the structure and language.
  7. I was the Board president for the Mindfulness Community of Puget Sound a long time ago.
    That was a one year commitment. We bought the building that currently houses the sangha during that time.I was a Board member for the Seattle Midwifery School for several years.
  8. I became licensed as a midwife in 1986. Since that time I have had a midwifery clinic serving the women and their families in Seattle. In addition, I have spent many years working in non-profit community clinics as a perinatal services coordinator for low income and minority families. I worked for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in women’s health research. For the last 10 years, I have run a full services midwifery clinic located in a birth center. Two years ago I sold the practice to a colleague and now work part-time as a midwife. I have been active with a POC and allies sangha for the past several years. Before the demise of RR, I was leading a Dharma and Race inquiry. I have a strong interest in diversifying Recovery Dharma and am looking forward to the Inclusion Circle.
  9. I have had a meditation practice for 24 years, beginning with Zen and then Vipassana practice. I have sat long retreats and in 2017 went to a monastery in Myanmar and took temporary vows. I currently lead a few sits a week and participate in our RD meetings.

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Carly Wild

Hello folks! My recovery date is 2/1/19, after several bouts of what I call “field research.” I joined Recovery Dharma in September because I needed community and tools to support my sobriety. I currently run Sanghaship for East Bay, where I host monthly fun events. For work I run partnerships at a Bay Area tech company and incorporate my sobriety by participating in a work recovery group. I enjoy community outreach and am involved in local non-profits including cat rescue/adoption and job placement for low-income individuals.

As someone who joined after the transition, I come with a fresh perspective. There is shame and stigma around recovery and this needs to end. I see Recovery Dharma as becoming as mainstream as other traditional recovery organizations. Meditation and self-awareness are crucial to the pathway of understanding and addressing our addictions. The first call to action I would work on is to stabilize the organization by recruiting new members. Our continued effort to create welcoming spaces where all individuals feel a sense of ownership is imperative for continued participation for new members. I ‘d like to set up national guidelines that include designated time before
meetings to welcome new members, more ways in which to share stories, and participation in service opportunities.

I’d also like to expand national awareness by partnering with wellness groups and businesses to promote the organization. I see an opportunity for outreach in high schools and colleges, as there is a lack of support for folks who may need recovery support in party-rich environments. The more individuals participate in Recovery
Dharma, the more financially stable the organization will become as community members donate their time, space, money and other resources in supporting a bad ass organization.

I hope to work with individual Sanghas for feedback on what our community needs to make meetings more inclusive, welcoming and streamlined on both local and national levels. Thank you!

  1. What name do you want to use for the election process? Carly Wild
  2. What pronouns do you use? She/Her
  3. Where is your home group or inter-sangha located? Loka Yoga, Oakland
  4. Have you been involved in service positions with your home sangha or area? Please describe. Yes, I am the head of Sanghaship for the East Bay.
  5. Are there other recovery or service organizations in which you are actively involved? I am a member of Recovery Elevator, which is an online community that offers a safe, informative place for those who wish to quit drinking. I also participate in the recovery group at my place of work, loosely based on AA principles. For service orgs, I work with Courageous Women non-profit, which provides housing, job and educational services to low-income individuals in the Bay Area and Alameda Island Cat Rescue Association, which is a cat rescue agency.
  6. Have you participated in any of the transition work circles (if so, what was your
    involvement)? No.
  7. Have you previously served, or do you now serve, on the board of directors of any other non-profit or for-profit organizations? No.
  8. What is your professional/livelihood history? (Please just provide a brief description of the types of positions you have held or careers/employment in which you have engaged). I’ve been in partner and direct sales roles in tech for the past 10+ years, with a few stints in-between as a Restaurant Manager and Resident Assistant at homeless/domestic violence shelters.
  9. What special or unique skills do you feel you would bring to the board of Recovery Dharma? I am early in my recovery, so I think this perspective could be useful as a board member. Additionally, I am very aware of groups that may feel marginalized in organizations and am try as advocate as often as possible for systems that will help promote more inclusivity. I also started attending RD meetings after the transition, which I think is useful, as I can provide a viewpoint that is separate from what Refuge Recovery provided. I am open to feedback, am a problem solver and am very interested in building upon the foundation that Refuge Recovery provides while also adding additional programs or structures that could benefit more folks in recovery.

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Craig Wilkie

  1. What name do you want to use for the election process?
    Craig Wilkie
  2. What pronouns do you use?
    He/Him/His
  3. Where is your home group or inter-sangha located?
    Lexington, Kentucky
  4. Have you been involved in service positions with your home sangha or area? Please describe.
    Secretary for the business sangha, and manage social media.
  5. Are there other recovery or service organizations in which you are actively involved?
    Not currently.
  6. Have you participated in any of the transition work circles (if so, what was your involvement)?
    1. H&I
      a. Worked on a format for a newcomers meeting
      b. Helped facilitate the growth of the meeting into a Male Sober Living in Lexington, KY
      c. Working with others on best practices for outreach. (Suggesting Meditations, and how to make “Buddhism” seem more inclusive/less scary to the Bible Belt).
  7. Have you previously served, or do you now serve, on the board of directors of any other non-profit or for-profit organizations?
    No
  8. What is your professional/livelihood history? (Please just provide a brief description of the types of positions you have held or careers/employment in which you have engaged)
    I’m a Clemson University Graduate (2007) with a B.S. in Packaging Science. I’ve been a Packaging Engineer since graduating at companies like IBM, Kraft Foods, Golden State Foods, and currently at Big Ass Fans.
  9. What special or unique skills do you feel you would bring to the board of Recovery Dharma?
    Having found my sobriety through Buddhist Recovery and also being actively involved in outreach/newcomer meetings I come with the viewpoint of the newcomer. I think it’s important to focus on the newcomer at any meeting, specifically helping those in early recovery stay in recovery. I also have a very data driven mind and I’m a realist. I think I bring the voice of those in early recovery as well as those looking to dabble into Buddhist recovery and how we can grow the meetings / members through ways to reach the newcomer.
  10. Please provide a brief (less than 300 words) statement introducing yourself to the Recovery Dharma community. You may wish to expand on any of your answers above, and provide whatever personal or professional information you think would be important for the community to know about you! You may want to describe your experience with addiction, recovery, and renunciation; your background in Buddhist practice (if any); what your primary interests or concerns are for the organization and as a potential board member during this formative period; what strategies you have for ensuring the growth and financial stability of the organization; or any other information you would like to convey. These are all just suggestions; please provide whatever statement you think will help the community get to know you and make an informed decision about their votes!
    My name is Craig, and I’ve been actively seeking recovery since February of 2018. It wasn’t until I found Buddhist Recovery at treatment that I started to see how important mindfulness and meditation are to my recovery and my mental well being. I didn’t fully find my recovery footing until I moved, from Atlanta, to Lexington, KY in February of 2019. Now that I’m actively involved in my local sangha, and working the Recovery Dharma program with a circle of wise friends I’ve really found that not only do I want to live in the life of recovery, but I want to help others find this path as well.I would like to start my term on the board being the voice of the newcomer and helping work national channels to bring awareness to Recovery Dharma and it’s program of empowerment. Given the growth of this program already, it’s important to bring onto the board people with realistic expectations and ideas for how to grow this blossoming lotus; I bring optimism grounded in reality.I’d like to assist with the data side of things, as well as some of the communication on growing new meetings, meeting formats (specifically newcomer friendly ones). Addiction caused me to essentially numb who I was for a decade or so, not letting me learn who I was, a gay man, or how much potential I have. Now that I’m starting to love myself for me, and accepting myself and meeting myself where I’m at, I’d love to do the same with others.Having been apart of the transition team as of mid November. I’ve already seen some of the ins and outs of how things are run, and I’d like to continue this beautiful process of growing this organization.

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Critter Spinneret

My hope for Recovery Dharma, and what I intend to bring to the board if elected, is to ensure all voices are heard, to create accessible, diverse, and inclusive environments, and to find more ways of bringing us all together. I believe in us being democratic and sociocratic (community-led).

I was introduced to Buddhism in the early 2000’s, and began practicing Buddhism and other spiritual practices around 2006. I lived in spiritual community, apprenticing with teachers there, and taught spiritual and Buddhist inspired classes for about 6 years. I practiced silent meditation for many years ranging from 3 to 75 days. I was then trained in graduate school in mindfulness and currently practice Buddhist principles, meditation, and mindful self-compassion.

I was introduced to Buddhist recovery about a year and a half ago. Buddhist recovery has been a natural fit and I owe my recovery to it.

When Recovery Dharma was born, I was inspired and excited to get involved in this grassroots community because of how all these wonderful and amazing people came together to create a beautiful, safe, and welcoming community.

Community building has been an important part of my journey for several decades and I am currently looking at ways to involve our larger community. I enjoy collaborating with members of my local and global Sangha, sharing wisdom, support, encouragement, and working on projects to improve access to our resources.

I am committed to ensuring we are community-driven. When I see a need voiced in the community, I do what I can to address it. I see our community being sustained and growing through larger community building activities, sharing wisdom and resources, and supporting each other. My role, if elected to the board, would be to ensure we are a truly peer-led, democratic, community-driven organization.

  1. What name do you want to use for the election process?
    Critter S.
  2. What pronouns do you use?
    They/them/theirs
  3. Where is your home group or inter-sangha located?
    Berkeley and Oakland, CA
  4. Have you been involved in service positions with your home sangha or area? Please describe.
    I am currently a co- secretary/facilitator of the Gilman Berkeley Sangha. I am in the process of organizing
    a meditation workshop for our Gilman Sangha. I am also serving on the Sustainability Circle of the Gilman Sangha creating procedures for governance and roles clarification. I helped start/found the Recovery Dharma AMIS (Addiction and Mental Illness Support) Sangha in Oakland and am currently the business meeting facilitator.
  5. Are there other recovery or service organizations in which you are actively involved?
    No
  6. Have you participated in any of the transition work circles (if so, what was your involvement)?
    Since its inception, I’ve been working on projects with Recovery Dharma and jumped in to a number of work circles excited by the opportunities to co-create this new organization. I’m getting involved wherever there’s an opportunity to foster inclusion, accessibility, and social justice. Here are the circles and projects I’ve been working on:
    ● I am on the Inclusion Circle and have been working on projects since the beginning. We are working on pamphlets to foster inclusion and safety within our communities and reviewing all RD documents providing suggestions for how to make our language and environments inclusive and accessible to all.
    ● I am on the Literature Circle where I co-edit the RD Newsletter, meditations, and other literature.
    ● I am on the Wise Friendships Circle currently co-writing and revising a document for peer-based support.
    ● I am currently in the process of establishing a Community Wisdom Circle in order to host regular online community wisdom workshops encouraging members who want to offer support and those who want to receive support on various RD topics to join and share!I think being on the board is a natural extension and would help me bring all these tasks together and represent them on the board and in our community.
  7. Have you previously served, or do you now serve, on the board of directors of any other non-profit or for-profit organizations?
    Previously, I served on the board of directors for several LGBTQ non-profits in San Francisco. I loved being part of community building and making a difference in our communities.
  8. What is your professional/livelihood history? (Please just provide a brief description of the types of positions you have held or careers/employment in which you have engaged).
    I’ve worked on and off in mental health since 2000.I was a raw, vegan, gluten-free chef with my own catering and wholesale food business. I loved creating delicious food for people with special needs diets (2007-2012).After apprenticing in Toltec Wisdom and Tibetan Buddhist practice, I was a spiritual teacher and coach of meditation and other spiritual practices (2006-2013).I started a PhD in Clinical Psychology program in 2013 and am currently finishing up my degree. As a graduate student, I have been providing psychotherapy to diverse and underserved individuals for the past 5 years.
  9. What special or unique skills do you feel you would bring to the board of Recovery Dharma?
    My training as a therapist, researcher, and educator has made me an effective listener and communicator. I am able to listen to many different voices and opinions with an open-mind.My commitment to issues of diversity in my clinical training and research gives me the unique skills to help create inclusive and safe environments. My training as a spiritual apprentice and teacher combined with my current training as a psychological researcher and clinician helps me keep a balanced approach bridging the science world with the spiritual world.I have always loved community building and building bridges between different communities.

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Dirk Wethington

  1. What name do you want to use for the election process?
    Dirk Wethington
  2. What pronouns do you use?
    He/Him/His
  3. Where is your home group or inter-sangha located?
    I am a member of the online sangha
  4. Have you been involved in service positions with your home sangha or area? Please describe.
    Not formally; I coordinate a men’s inquiry/wise friendship group, and attend the online inter-sangha meetings when I am available.
  5. Are there other recovery or service organizations in which you are actively involved?
    Not currently; formerly I served as secretary/treasurer of a 12-step recovery group
  6. Have you participated in any of the transition work circles (if so, what was your involvement)?
    I participate in the Literature Circle and act as the Recovery Dharma Newsletter Managing Editor. My involvement includes writing content for the newsletter, reviewing newsletter submissions, and providing feedback and editing other Literature Circle work.I have also been serving as the technical/communications support person for the Transition Team and temporary Board of Directors since Recovery Dharma formally began. In that role I support the various work streams and circles through managing Google Suite, Slack, Mailchimp, and other technical platforms.I also recently began working on the Transition Team, helping to make strategic decisions for the organization in order to establish a foundation for the first formal Board of Directors.
  7. Have you previously served, or do you now serve on the board of directors of any other non-profit or for-profit organizations?
    No
  8. What is your professional/livelihood history? (Please just provide a brief description of the types of positions you have held or careers/employment in which you have engaged)
    I studied psychology as an undergraduate, then went on to receive a master’s in literature and did some Ph.D. work. But, I left my doctoral program to work in corporate communications, spending 19 years at State Farm headquarters. I managed the company’s largest internal publication, did a lot of executive speech writing, and wrote more memos than I care to remember. I currently work at the regional level for the Laborers’ Union – our region covers 10 midwestern states and I am responsible for our website and handle some other communication and social media needs.
  9. What special or unique skills do you feel you would bring to the board of Recovery Dharma?
    Working at a company like State Farm gave me a lot of experience in strategic thinking and communications planning. While I was there I got a lot of satisfaction out of working with others and learning both to compromise and to lead, ultimately in the name of helping people who had experienced some sort of loss. But I wouldn’t exactly have ever considered insurance my passion. However, my past several years of Buddhist recovery and working now with Recovery Dharma has helped me find something to be truly passionate about – being of service to people recovering in a Buddhist program (like me). That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to help when Recovery Dharma first began to take shape, and why I still try to find any way I can to serve, whether its behind the scenes supporting various technical platforms for the Transition Team and circles, or serving the community at large through my work with the newsletter and the Literature Circle.I think I bring a growing sense of how “work gets done” in an organization like Recovery Dharma (through my work so far with the temporary Board and Transition Team), skills around strategic thinking and negotiation, and expertise in communication planning and execution that can help the Board mindfully communicate with the global organization in a timely, inclusive manner.I am, above all, thankful for Recovery Dharma, its vibrant community, and its commitment to Dharma-centered recovery. I am humbled to serve in whatever capacity helps support our community and others in their recovery and practice.

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Gary Matulis

I’ve been sober for 30 years, and began my Dharma practice about 10 years ago. I’ve been looking for ways to integrate my Dharma practice with my recovery for some time now – I attended my first Buddhism and recovery workshop 8 years ago. Not long after the Recovery Dharma book came out, I started an RD meeting in the town in which I live. We held our first meeting in late August. For the first time in a long time, I feel that I have a recovery home. I also became involved in the work circles that were formed in RD. I joined what became the Core Intentions circle, and was asked to join the Governance circle, which developed the Board’s bylaws and elections process. I was later asked to join the Transition team and the Board of Directors, and to serve as Treasurer of the Board / Recovery Dharma non-profit. I have a passion for open, community driven process. In the Core Intentions circle, I supported the process in which the Core Intentions have been presented to the community for review and feedback. I think it is important that there be clear accountability for the work done by the circles and the Board to the members and groups of Recovery Dharma. It is my hope that RD will develop a process in which major decisions – such as the ratification of the Core Intentions – are sent to the community for a vote.

I consider myself fortunate to live in such exciting and challenging times, with the creation of our new recovery program. I am grateful to be a part of it.

  1. What name do you want to use for the election process?
    Gary Matulis
  2. What pronouns do you use?
    He/Him/His
  3. Where is your home group or inter-sangha located?
    My home group meets Thursday nights in Santa Barbara, CA.
  4. Have you been involved in service positions with your home sangha or area? Please describe.
    I’m secretary for my home group. I also started this meeting.
  5. Are there other recovery or service organizations in which you are actively involved?
    Not at this time.
  6. Have you participated in any of the transition work circles (if so, what was your involvement)?
    Member of the Board of Directors
    Treasurer for the Board/Recovery Dharma non-profit.
    Member of the Transition Team
    Member of the Governance Circle
    Member of the Core Intentions Circle
    Member of the Structure Development Circle
    As a member of the transition Board technically I could automatically be seated on the new Board. However, as I joined the Board in September (a couple of months after Recovery Dharma formed), I felt it was best that I participate in the Board elections, and forgo the option of being seated on the new Board as a transition Board member.
  7. Have you previously served, or do you now serve, on the board of directors of any other non-profit or for-profit organizations?
    No.
  8. What is your professional/livelihood history? (Please just provide a brief description of the types of positions you have held or careers/employment in which you have engaged)
    I work as a software engineer.
  9. What special or unique skills do you feel you would bring to the board of Recovery Dharma?
    As I work as a software engineer, I have good technical skills and ability. I am also a decent project organizer. I’ve had various projects that I’ve been involved with, both professionally and on a volunteer basis in peer-led recovery programs. I facilitated these projects through good communication, transparency, and consensus building.

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Joel Elizabeth Smith

Hello,
My name is Joel Elizabeth Smith. I go by Liz and I use the pronouns she and her. I’m in accounting by day and fine dining by night for my trades/profession. My home group is in Knoxville, TN. I participate in our business meetings and have been a core member in facilitating meetings as well as our monthly wise inquiry “book study” meetings. I have a clear voice and a stable place in my inner Sangha. As one of the few females that attend regularly I am able to welcome and share with other female newcomers with much greater ease and effectiveness I have been told. I make others feel welcome and in early recovery this is very important. I call Dharma recovery my beloved Buddha meeting. My friends in NA/AA are very curious about it and I’ve brought many to our meetings. I am still an active NA/AA member but I do believe that Dharma recovery is the path that really opened my eyes, my mind and most importantly my heart to the true source of healing we are all capable of achieving.

I am clean and sober 15 months and I’m learning how to live without numbing myself and my feelings. I share my story and my journey with others in the hopes that it will help them in their own journey of healing as well. I have wonderful people skills, I am genuine and it puts others at ease. I am analytical, smart, and most of all humorous. Laughter is truly the best medicine.

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Joel Osterman

I grew up in New Hampshire and have lived all over the U.S., although I found my way back to New Hampshire when I needed help with my addiction. Early in my recovery, I discovered Buddhist practice when I was introduced to Refuge Recovery (RR). I quickly developed a daily meditation practice and attended several RR meetings on a weekly basis. I got involved in RR at the regional level with others in the region and I had the honor of representing New England on the national level at RefCon4. We have worked hard to build up our region to over eighty meetings and are continuing our service to New England Recovery Dharma (NERD).

Thanks to Buddhist-based recovery programs, I have learned and grown so much, both personally and professionally. I want the same for all those seeking or continuing their recovery. I am excited to see our circles grow harmoniously. It is paramount for everyone to have an equal say as to the growth and well-being of Recovery Dharma Global as a director, I hope to ensure the community is empowered to truly be a bottom-up organization which provides a safe, diverse and inclusive community for us all.

  1. What name do you want to use for the election process? Joel Osterman
  2. What pronouns do you use? He/him/his
  3. Where is your home group or inter-sangha located? My home group is in Manchester, New Hampshire and our inter-sangha is Southern New Hampshire.
  4. Have you been involved in service positions with your home sangha or area? Please describe. I helped start the meetings at my home sangha almost 2 1/2 years ago. I still help facilitate those meetings and handle most of the business and financial matters. My involvement at the regional level is more extensive. About two years ago, I became a member of the core group of people who developed the New England regional structure. We’ve hosted an election, two conferences, and still meet at least on a monthly basis. We also all keep in contact on a regular basis. I travel to meetings throughout the region when time allows and encourage others to do the same. While we do not have any formal positions at the regional level, I support the region in every way that I can, including contributing to plans for our regional conferences and outreach.
  5. Are there other recovery or service organizations in which you are actively involved? No, my full commitment is to Recovery Dharma.
  6. Have you participated in any of the transition work circles (if so, what was your involvement)? I am an active member of Structure Development, Core Intentions, and Social Media. I was a member of the Sangha Support Circle, which has recently dissolved.
  7. Have you previously served, or do you now serve on the board of directors of any other non-profit or for-profit organizations? No.
  8. What is your professional/livelihood history? (Please, just provide a brief description of the types of positions you have held or careers/employment in which you have engaged) I work in the substance use disorder/mental health treatment field. I have worked as Peer Support in an outpatient setting and as a Residential Counselor. I am working towards obtaining my license in both of the fields.
  9. What special or unique skills do you feel you would bring to the board of Recovery Dharma? I would hope to bring our New England sangha development knowledge to Recovery Dharma Global. I am a great problem-solver.

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Johntony Fall

  1. What name do you want to use for the election process?
    Johntony Fall
  2. What pronouns do you use?
    None
  3. Where is your home group or inter-sangha located?
    Portland, Oregon
  4. Have you been involved in service positions with your home sangha or area? Please describe.
    • I started the Queer Paths weekly meeting in March 2018, and served as meeting secretary for one year.
    • In August of 2018, I began composing and distributing the Portlandregion biweekly electronic newsletter. This continued until January of 2020.
    • In 2019, I served as co-chair of the Portland-region Intersangha, helping to organize and facilitate quarterly Intersangha meetings, and supporting periodic workshops and events.
  5. Are there other recovery or service organizations in which you are actively involved?
    No.
  6. Have you participated in any of the transition work circles (if so, what was your involvement)?
    No, I have not.
  7. Have you previously served, or do you now serve, on the board of directors of any other non-profit or for-profit organizations?
    Yes, I was Board Chair for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition in 1999. I have also served in organizational leadership positions for groups that chose not to adopt non-profit status, such as ACT UP/Los Angeles. Others were small, neighborhood organizations with site specific missions.
  8. What is your professional/livelihood history? (Please just provide a brief description of the types of positions you have held or careers/employment in which you have engaged)
    My “career” has focused on writing and editing for print and electronic publication. I have managed large communications campaigns for a transit district. I also have managed teams of staff.
  9. What special or unique skills do you feel you would bring to the board of Recovery Dharma?
    All I can offer is experience in directional positions in several organizations, which means having spent hundreds of hours in planning meetings with many types of personalities, and then more time carrying out those plans in one form or another. This means I have a sense of how directional leadership, including Boards function, and also try to bring a realistic sense of dynamics and what is actually possible. My main focus throughout my involvement in the Portland Sangha for 2+ years has been trying to ensure that all who want access to this path of renunciation and sobriety have a chance to participate. I am also interested in keeping the focus on ending the suffering of addiction via the peer-led weekly meeting format. The baseline of success for Recovery Dharma are healthy local meetings that provide all individuals with the tools to reach and maintain renunciation.
    10. Please provide a brief (less than 300 words) statement introducing yourself to the Recovery Dharma community.
    Nothing to add.

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Kara Christine Haney

I was introduced to the Dharma in the late 1980s when I was a single, teenaged mom. I have been practicing since then. In 1996 I entered into recovery through twelve-steps (NA, AA, CA). My sponsor practiced Buddhism, so we did the steps through a Buddhist lens. I started leading women’s recovery vipassana groups at my house in 1997 and continued to do so for 13 years. I have been practicing the fifth precept of full renunciation from intoxicants for almost twenty-four years (April 18, 1996). I attend multiple silent vipassana retreats each year and am empowered to teach the Dharma by one of my primary teachers Bob Stahl, guiding teacher at Insight Santa Cruz. I was active in the Against the Stream Meditation Society and also completed their facilitator training. I am currently in a two-year Dharma Leadership training through Spirit Rock. I have been a leader in my community of Buddhist recovery by leading groups, facilitating meetings, and teaching daylong retreats since 2013. My primary interest and concern for RD are that we continue to remain a peer-led organization and utilize the various modern-day vehicles of communication to collaborate and organize. I hope to do the work where we have transparent processes laid out for grievances, including accountability and restorative justice measures in the event harm arises within our Sangha. I think an annual pledge drive would benefit us in financial stability. I am here to be accountable to our members and guide the various circles created to organize our needs. I am also here to reflect our greater purpose – to support individuals’ recovery by way of the Four Noble Truths so that they may recover from addictions of all kinds. May each one of us uncover, discover, and recover our true nature — much Metta.

  1. What name do you want to use for the election process? Kara Christine Haney
  2. What pronouns do you use? She/Her/Hers
  3. Where is your home group or inter-sangha located? Santa Cruz, California USA
  4. Have you been involved in service positions with your home sangha or area? Yes, extensively. I started each of the Refuge Recovery meetings in 2013 in Santa Cruz. Then with the dissolving of RR, I assisted along the way by holding the business meetings and supporting the facilitators in changing from RR to RD. This was initially done with facilitator meetings only to assess what our choices could be since majority of the Sangha did not want to remain RR.Once the RD literature was created, it took a few weeks of education, communication, Q&A, and giving Sangha access to the literature. By voting, all of our groups changed to RD. I also manage the RD social media, our email account, and am the lead contact person for Outreach (jails, recovery centers, etc.) in our area.
  5. Are there other recovery or service organizations in which you are actively involved? Yes, I am involved in Buddhist Recovery Network, teaching on occasion. I also am a host for Dharma teachers on World Wide Insight.
  6. Have you participated in any of the transition work circles? Yes, I have been one of the main admins on the social media circle since July, 2019.
  7. Have you previously served, or do you now serve, on the board of directors of any other non-profit or for profit organizations? Yes, I served on the Board of Directors for Insight Santa Cruz from 2014 until 2019. I was on the Board for five years, the last year I served as President. My work included creating the Diversity Committee, making structural changes and shifting the culture within Insight Santa Cruz so it is more inclusive to our community,
  8. What is your professional/livelihood history? I have volunteered in social service agencies since 1998. This includes Monterey County Needle Exchange, Santa Cruz Hospice, recovery outreach (bringing recovery meetings into inpatient centers, juvenile halls, jails and prisons), speaking at recovery conventions, speaking for DUI classes, and offering yoga for individuals in recovery centers and on retreat. I have had an extensive twenty-year career as a periodontal dental surgical assistant. I retired from that field in 2016. I currently am a full-time grad-student working towards a Masters in Social Work at San Jose State University. I am doing my field practicum interning as a clinical social worker in a crisis center that assists people in stabilizing from the psychiatric hospital and into the community. I am also a Community Dharma Teacher at Insight Santa Cruz and have been teaching the Dharma at that center since 2014.
  9. What special or unique skills do you feel you would bring to the board of Recovery Dharma? I have great organizational abilities and communication skills. I have been a leader for many decades and value not only my own learning but passing it on to others. I can be direct and ask the difficult questions. I have a skill of active listening and like to problem solve with people.I collaborate well within a team and identify what skills individuals have so to strengthen and empower them. I practice trauma-informed care and continue to bring awareness to the ways we perpetuate systems of oppression. I use a Mac computer, have knowledge in social media, Word Press, and type 120 words per minute.

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Kelly Thomas

  1. What name do you want to use for the election process? Kelly Thomas
  2. What pronouns do you use? he/him/his
  3. Where is your home group or inter-sangha located? Salem, OR
  4. Have you been involved in service positions with your home sangha or area? Please describe. Yes. I have started a meeting that will begin in January 2020. There are currently four other meetings in Salem, but this meeting will have a ‘social’ focus at least once a month. The intent of the social focus during this meeting is to give Salem Sangha members a chance to develop Wise Friendships (see involvement in that circle below). To summarize a Buddhist saying, “Wise friendship is not half of a spiritual life, it’s the whole of a spiritual life.” I have been attending the local sangha business meetings for the last six months and will become one of the ‘meeting prep/greeters’ for January through April at our Tuesday meeting, along with my fiancée.
  5. Are there other recovery or service organizations in which you are actively involved? I am not involved in other recovery organizations, but I am a Historic Landmark Commissioner for the City of Salem. I’m working, with the assistance of many others, on a Cultural and Historic Tourism master plan for the city. I recently stepped down from my neighborhood association board in order to give Recovery Dharma the Wise Effort it deserves.
  6. Have you participated in any of the transition work circles (if so, what was your involvement)? Yes, I am a member of the Wise Friendship and Structure Development Circles. The latter has just begun to meet, and the former has been actively working on a guide which describes how to build a strong Buddhist-inspired recovery support system using the Wise Friendship concept. The guide offers suggestions for different kinds of support in our community ranging within peer-to-peer and peer-to-group methods. We also provide best practices for those seeking support and those offering support. We will be bringing this document to the community for feedback in early January.
  7. Have you previously served, or do you now serve, on the board of directors of any other non-profit or for-profit organizations? In the past, I have served on non-profit organization boards, locally, at the state level, and nationally. My state involvement was on the U.S. Green Building Council-Nevada (USGBC-NV) as Secretary for a couple years before becoming Executive Director (see below). I served locally as Co-Chair for the Nevada Sustainable Energy Coalition (NSEC) and was on the national board as an At-Large member for the Energy Service Coalition (ESC). I am currently a Historic Landmark Commissioner for the City of Salem as mentioned above.
  8. What is your professional/livelihood history? (Please just provide a brief description of the types of positions you have held or careers/employment in which you have engaged) I have worked in the construction and development industry for almost thirty years, with the latter half being focused on sustainability. My last half decade of employment has been working for state government in energy policy and programs in order to create a more sustainable future. Previously, I served as the Executive Director for the USGBC-NV for Nevada for two years. While in that role I enrolled in UNLV’s Certificate of Non-Profit Management program but did not complete the program as I moved on to the state government roles.
  9. What special or unique skills do you feel you would bring to the board of Recovery Dharma? I bring a balance of right and left brain thought processes. I’m able to conceive, perhaps creatively or in an artistic form, that all things are connected; yet I have the project management/business background to create a structure/order to things, so they move along to completion.
  10. Please provide a brief (less than 300 words) statement introducing yourself to the Recovery Dharma community. You may wish to expand on any of your answers above and provide whatever personal or professional information you think would be important for the community to know about you! You may want to describe your experience with addiction, recovery, and renunciation; your background in Buddhist practice (if any); what your primary interests or concerns are for the organization and as a potential board member during this formative period; what strategies you have for ensuring the growth and financial stability of the organization; or any other information you would like to convey. These are all just suggestions; please provide whatever statement you think will help the community get to know you and make an informed decision about their votes! My interest in Eastern ways began, and eventually flourished, in the 90’s when I read books ranging from classic writings such as the Tao Te Ching and I Ching to fictional stories like The Te of Piglet and Surfing the Himalayas. Much of this was done during my School of Architecture studies. It was there that I became a proponent of sustainable design, as I concurred with Chief Seattle’s thought that “Man did not create the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself.” All my projects reflected this view. My architecture degree was combined with a business school minor and I’ve since been successful in incorporating circular/sustainable structures to the businesses and non-profits I have managed or been part of. I hope to apply these principles of sustainability to the Recovery Dharma organization such that it may sustain itself over a long period of time. I’m genuinely excited for this opportunity and I hope that my experience in managing non-profits coupled with my passion for eastern thinking, especially in recovery, resonates with you and that you have faith in my ability to be a wise member of the board. I appreciate your vote of confidence in advance. Gratefully – Kelly.

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Kris Roehling

My reasons for running for the board are both personal and organizational. Personally, I have benefited greatly from the teaching and practices of this community. From my view, this community’s coping with the difficulties and challenges over the past few years has been powerful and transformative to experience. Engaging with others who bring a commitment to grounding actions in spiritual practice is where I want and need to be.

My experience with non-profits is long. Feel free to look for my profiles on Facebook or Linked in for a list. One of the core themes of these various positions has been around learning how to healthfully and respectfully cultivate relationships. Sometimes this means cultivating closer relationships. Sometimes this means setting boundaries to reduce the harm in the world.

It is the practice of Buddhism and recovery however, that has allowed me to remain active all these years. Burnout and resentment about the way the World works almost killed me in 2003. Since that time the communities and practices of Buddhism, UUism and recovery have been my true refuge.

I find that I am now in a position to be able to assist with this community’s next phase. I am familiar with the workings of the governance circles. I have working relationships with people across various area of the community.

The thing that I am most grateful for and, proud of, is that the Online Community no longer needs me to serve as an anchor or leader. There is a strong, thriving and growing set of leaders who are in place to do the work that I had been doing for the past few years.

I look forward to the opportunity for a new phase of practice and service.

  1. What name do you want to use for the election process?
    Kris Roehling
  2. What pronouns do you use?
    They / She
  3. Where is your home group or inter-sangha located?
    I live in Indiana. At this time, the closest RD groups are Chicago and Louisville. My primary practice sangha is Recovery Dharma Online.
  4. Have you been involved in service positions with your home sangha or area? Please describe.
    I have served the online sangha since 2013 in several roles including meeting facilitator, regional representative, treasurer, secretary and Inter-sangha meeting facilitator. I served as an anchor for the Bloomington Refuge Recovery Sangha. I have since moved to Indianapolis.
  5. Are there other recovery or service organizations in which you are actively involved?
    I am a fully professed member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Indiana Crossroads Sisters, Abby of the Shimmering Silo. My Sister name is Sister Sonata Innocent . I just celebrated my 10 th anniversary as a sister.I am a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington. I’ve volunteered mostly as a youth teacher and as a meditation group facilitator. I have been active with that congregation for about 5 years, but have been a UU most of my adult life.
  6. Have you participated in any of the transition work circles (if so, what was your involvement)?
    I have been most active with Core Intentions. I have helped to contribute to the public meetings by serving as the meeting host (keeping the lines clear, managing the cue of speakers etc.)My past volunteer involvement has included the Indiana Recovery Alliance (harm reduction) and various organizations that work at the various intersections of poverty, race, ability and incarceration.
  7. Have you previously served, or do you now serve, on the board of directors of any other non-profit or for-profit organizations?
    I have served on the boards of Unitarian Church of Orlando, GLBT Center of Orlando, BiNet USA, Atlanta Jobs with Justice and New Leaf New Life. I’ve served in all of the different positions of exec and at large positions.
  8. What is your professional/livelihood history? (Please just provide a brief description of the types of positions you have held or careers/employment in which you have engaged)
    My work alternates between Social Service and Social Justice. My social service work has been around HIV, and the intersections of severe and persistent mental health & substance use disorders. My paid social justice jobs have been as a field organizer with the labor union, SEIU and as a national campaigner for human rights organization, Amnesty International, USA.
  9. What special or unique skills do you feel you would bring to the board of Recovery Dharma?
    The skills I most hope to bring – and have the opportunity to practice – are those around wise speech. The times when I have experienced the best of, and benefited the most from this community have been when the commitment to practicing wise speech has been present. I am, of course, also interested in bringing the skills that I have been fortunate to learn from my experiences as board members. I have served in most roles including president, secretary, treasurer and at large board member. I have been fortunate to receive board training from the UU Leadership school and the Gill Foundation.

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Lacey Browne

Hi everyone!
One of my favorite passages in our new book is about learning to use your voice as an act of wise speech. Having the confidence to use my voice has been an important part of my recovery and one that my role in Intersangha has fostered greatly. I also think it perfectly encapsulates our community’s need to transition to Recovery Dharma- the importance of supporting the diverse voices of all of our members.

As a board member, I would work towards the creation of a functional collective process among the sanghas nationally, the financial health of each, and creative ways to forge a welcoming global identity to inspire increased membership. Also, I would harness the interest generated as a result of the transition and focus it on continued creative engagement by our members. The crises of transition focused our attention. I want to sustain that in a positive way.

I joined Refuge Recovery three years ago during a second attempt at sobriety and it has served as my only program in recovery. Besides reading Jack Kerouac as a teenager, I had no prior experience with Buddhism. This community revolutionized my recovery in two ways: connecting with friends in the fellowship made sobriety that much more enticing, and listening to them opened my mind and heart to the dharma. While I still swim in a pool of discomfort every day, the dharma has taught me how to stay still and float in it. Having learned that discomfort is an essential part of growth, I occasionally seek it out, such as my participation in this board election. I am so grateful that my sangha has provided a safe space for me to define what my recovery looks like and am inspired to bring that autonomy to others suffering from addiction.

  1. What name do you want to use for the election process?
    Lacey Browne
  2. What pronouns do you use?
    she/her
  3. Where is your home group or inter-sangha located?
    New York City
  4. Have you been involved in service positions with your home sangha or area? Please describe.
    I serve as Chair for New York City’s Intersangha. In my time as Chair, along with the transition to Recovery Dharma, I’ve also facilitated the creation of a safety committee and the development of the redefinition of mentorship. Earlier in the year, I participated in the sustainable funding committee organized by national. I regularly chair our Saturday meeting and help with the organization and facilitation of events such as nature outings, daylong retreats, and parties. I previously served as our social media coordinator where I established our presence through a publishing calendar and aesthetic identity. I am also grateful for my mentor Chance and my relationship as mentor/wise friend to several others in our fellowship.
  5. Are there other recovery or service organizations in which you are actively involved?
    Not right now.
  6. Have you participated in any of the transition work circles (if so, what was your involvement)?
    During the past year, I led the effort in our sangha to transition every one of our 13 meetings to Recovery Dharma. This involved raising money for national efforts, responding skillfully to ongoing difficult news, and serving as a conduit of information by communicating that news outward to meeting chairs and then representing the community’s response in public facing language.
  7. Have you previously served, or do you now serve, on the board of directors of any other non-profit or for-profit organizations?
    I do/have not.
  8. What is your professional/livelihood history? (Please just provide a brief description of the types of positions you have held or careers/employment in which you have engaged)
    I’ve been employed in media for over 15 years as a photo editor having worked on daily, weekly and monthly deadlines. I’m currently at Consumer Reports, a non-profit that advocates for consumer rights where I use my art school degree to create visual concepts. For a short time, I also served as a backup dancer for an Elvis impersonator. My duties included distributing teddy bears to audience members during “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear.” And while we certainly don’t get paid to do it, I co-host a podcast about sobriety called Sober Company with my RD friend Nik.
  9. What special or unique skills do you feel you would bring to the board of Recovery Dharma?
    I function well under pressure, having worked for years in chaotic newsroom environments under strict time constraints. My jobs necessitate swift decision-making and prioritizing momentum. They have also led me to become skilled at conflict resolution, problem-solving, and achieving consensus. In my current job, I’ve learned to be expert in creating messaging and visual language to communicate ideas to the general public. Throughout it all, it’s important to me to bring levity and fun to the work that I do. Also, I’m organized and have the google docs to prove it.

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Lawrence Gould

  1. What name do you want to use for the election process? Lawrence Gould
  2. What pronouns do you use? He
  3. Where is your home group or inter-sangha located? Raleigh, North Carolina
  4. Have you been involved in service positions with your home sangha or area? Please describe. I founded the Refuge Recovery community in Raleigh NC in 2016, and, with much assistance, grew that community to 14 meetings a week.
  5. Are there other recovery or service organizations in which you are actively involved? I mentor attorneys who are new in recovery through the state agency that deals with impaired attorneys. I spent over 25 years in AA, though I no longer attend.
  6. Have you participated in any of the transition work circles (if so, what was your involvement)? Yes, I was tangentially involved in providing legal advice to the new organization about elections and bylaw amendments
  7. Have you previously served, or do you now serve, on the board of directors of any other non-profit or for-profit organizations? Yes. I have served on a number of boards of directors. The most recent was The ARC of North Carolina, which is a national organization devoted to addressing issues and needs associated with persons with developmental disabilities. I was also a board member and President of The ARC Housing Corporation, a company devoted to building affordable housing for disabled persons.
  8. What is your professional/livelihood history? (Please just provide a brief description of the types of positions you have held or careers/employment in which you have engaged) I am a corporate and commercial real estate attorney. I graduated from Duke Law School in 1993. During the course of my legal career I have represented boards of directors in a variety of contexts – mainly advising them of what their duties and options as directors are in certain situations.
  9. What special or unique skills do you feel you would bring to the board of Recovery Dharma? Every board should have an attorney – it saves legal fees. But my qualifications for serving on the RD board are less impressive and more significant that a law degree. I have addressed the answer to this question in the narrative bio that is at the end of this questionnaire.
  10. Please provide a brief (less than 300 words) statement introducing yourself to the Recovery Dharma community. You may wish to expand on any of your answers above, and provide whatever personal or professional information you think would be important for the community to know about you! You may want to describe your experience with addiction, recovery, and renunciation; your background in Buddhist practice (if any); what your primary interests or concerns are for the organization and as a potential board member during this formative period; what strategies you have for ensuring the growth and financial stability of the organization; or any other information you would like to convey. These are all just suggestions; please provide whatever statement you think will help the community get to know you and make an informed decision about their votes!

“Dude, your lips are turning blue.” So says Brad Stoner, drummer for Mood Swing, my band back then. The year is 1987 and we are sitting in my room in the San Francisco Zen Center. And, once again….. here comes the darkness – another overdose. Brad didn’t bother to tell anyone, and when I came out of it a number of hours later, Brad and my favorite acoustic guitar were gone.

My name is Lawrence Gould. I’ve been continuously sober for 18 years, though it took over 25 years “in recovery” to get to that place. And, I have been a practicing Buddhist since 1985. I am also an attorney with a law degree from Duke University. As a corporate and commercial real estate attorney, in my legal practice I have represented boards of directors a number of times and have served on a number of boards of directors of non-profit entities similar to Recovery Dharma. Throughout 2017 and 2018 I had a lot of informal contact with Jean T and Chris K, in part related to the legal issues facing the community, though to be clear I was never hired as an attorney to represent Refuge Recovery.

Despite what I have written above, most of my “qualifications” (such as they are) to serve on the Recovery Dharma Board of Directors relates to the work I did locally in building the Refuge Recovery community here in Raleigh, NC. In late 2015, after having left AA for deeply personal reasons about 9 years previously, I started the Refuge Recovery community in Raleigh NC. We met at my dining room table for the first 9 months. Eventually we outgrew that room and we moved to a church basement. At one point attendance in that church basement exceeded 50 people. We did a lot to publicize Refuge Recovery locally, and all together we started 14 meetings a week in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Our community was large – 200-300 persons. And we were close – knew each other well. We had hikes, parties at my home and in local parks, dinners, 14 hours of mentor training, and even held a peer led overnight retreat.

I want to be quite clear that I had a lot of help in forming and sustaining the Raleigh Refuge Recovery community. Over the years I have started at least 30 recovery meetings. That is something I know how to do reasonably well. And, I know that when attendance and interest are sufficient, the best thing to do is to let go of it. It is hard to do, but necessary. So, when the group was able, I gave away all positions of authority. With the split between Refuge Recovery and Recovery Dharma, some of this work will need to be repeated, though luckily we have retained a small but stable group of people who form the Recovery Dharma community here.

Dharma based recovery is important to me because I had a very hard time getting and staying sober in AA. And, I found that shutting down my substance additions merely caused this incredibly compulsive energy inside me to jump over to non-substance additions. At various times I have used sex, relationships, exercise and food in the same compulsive manner as I used drugs and alcohol, with roughly the same results. So, I knew that whatever treatment I pursued would have to address both substance and non-substance additions. It wasn’t an easy process. It took about 17 y ears and 10 treatment centers for me to get and stay sober. I have a lot of respect for AA, but it just isn’t for me. Put simply, I wanted there to be at least 1 other option for recovery from addition in our local community.

And, the longer I stayed sober, the less sure I became in telling others what to do to get and stay sober. I knew the answers that worked for me, but not necessarily for others. As one of the two qualified persons in our community, I ended up mentoring a lot of people. But, the more I grew, the less certain I became that my answers would work for everyone else. Working with others as a mentor, I began to understand that the answers are, in fact, within each of us. We don’t necessarily need others to tell us what to do. I have had the experience of mentoring others – seeing them wake up and leave their addition problems behind. They didn’t need me to tell them how to get and stay sober. At best they needed (or wanted) me to show them how to come to their own answers. And, as far as I can tell, the answers were there for them when they looked carefully and mindfully.

And, of course, we now know there are a lot of ways to recover from addition.

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Ray Rosales

  1. What name do you want to use for the election process?
    Ray Rosales
  2. What pronouns do you use?
    He, His
  3. Where is your home group or inter-sangha located?
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  4. Have you been involved in service positions with your home sangha or area? Please describe.
    Yes, started and facilitated two meetings, the Friday afternoon meeting and the Sunday book study.
  5. Are there other recovery or service organizations in which you are actively involved?
  6. Have you participated in any of the transition work circles (if so, what was your involvement)?
    USARA, which is Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness. We do a yearly event and I organize, book and stage manage the event for the last 3 years.
  7. Have you previously served, or do you now serve, on the board of directors of any other non-profit or for-profit organizations?
    I have not.
  8. What is your professional/livelihood history? (Please just provide a brief description of the types of positions you have held or careers/employment in which you have engaged)
    I have worked in the Natural Products industry for the last 35 years in various roles from stocking products to the shelf, managing stores and departments to outside sales positions for natural manufacturers to national sales manager and trainer positions.
  9. What special or unique skills do you feel you would bring to the board of Recovery Dharma?
    I don’t consider my skills special or unique but I do have an overriding desire to be of service and give back to something that has had such an massive impact on my life. I participated as Refuge Recovery Regional Representative for the Rocky Mountain region which included New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Utah. Thank you for considering me for the great opportunity to serve.

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Zach Cohen

I am interested in serving on the Board of Directors because I believe I would be able to help Recovery Dharma continue on the beautiful path it is on. Being a member of the Core Intentions circle has given me a deeper appreciation for some of the issues that face the organization as a whole and I want to help ensure we can safely navigate as we move forward. After seeing how difficult and distracting the split between Refuge Recovery and Recovery Dharma was I wanted to take a more active role at the national level to help make sure those seeking refuge in our program could focus on the work of recovery. As a member of the board I would be interested in making sure that we focus on transparency and integrity in our decision making.

I am very dedicated to incorporating Buddhist practices and teachings in my daily life. In addition to attending Recovery Dharma meetings, I helped start a weekly Dharma book club where we read Buddhist literature and discuss our thoughts and practice together. I have also attended a couple silent meditation retreats which deepened my personal practice.

Working in recovery is something I am very passionate about and will be going back to school in order to become a Psychologist that specializes in using mindfulness and meditation, especially in the world of addiction. I applied for and was accepted into the spring teacher training program for Mindful Self Compassion and hope to use the information I learn to better serve the recovery community.

  1. What name do you want to use for the election process?
    Zach Cohen
  2. What pronouns do you use?
    He/Him
  3. Where is your home group or inter-sangha located?
    Fort Lauderdale/South Florida
  4. Have you been involved in service positions with your home sangha or area? Please describe.
    Meeting Facilitator: Responsible for facilitating weekly meetings as well as choosing appropriate literature and meditations to support those who attend.Planning Committee for the South East Regional Conference:
    Helped plan, organize, and facilitate the 2018 South East Regional Conference, specifically as a member of the Program Planning sub-committee.Inter-Sangha Treasurer : Collected Dana and book sales from 9 weekly meetings. Purchased meeting materials and supplies for half-day workshops and inter-sangha functions. Recorded all financial transactions and managed inter-sangha bank account. Maintained accurate and up to date financial records of each local group as well the inter-sangha as a whole.Inter-Sangha Chair: Stay up to date on South Florida inter-sangha affairs and ensure that each meeting has appropriate meeting space, pays rent, and is informed of national news. Schedule and facilitate local and inter sangha business meetings. Manage the inter-sangha email and social media accounts in order to connect with potential attendees and respond to questions and concerns about the program or meetings. Plan, organize, and implement inter-sangha events like half-day workshops or community building activities.
  5. Are there other recovery or service organizations in which you are actively involved?
    AA
  6. Have you participated in any of the transition work circles (if so, what was your involvement)?
    I have participated in and am a member of the Core Intentions work circle. I have been a member of this circle since it first began this past summer. The Core Intentions work circle was set up in order to create a document that protects and guides the Organization as a whole. We have had weekly Zoom calls in order to compose, edit, and discuss the content of the Core Intentions. I have also participated in community Zoom calls that were designed to get feedback from the members of Recovery Dharma so that we could use their input to guide us in how we edited and revised the Core Intentions.
  7. Have you previously served, or do you now serve, on the board of directors of any other non-profit or for profit organizations?
    No
  8. What is your professional/livelihood history? (Please just provide a brief description of the types of positions you have held or careers/employment in which you have engaged)
    Currently I work at a substance abuse treatment center where I am a Behavioral Technician. I interact with the clients there and monitor their progress in order to communicate with the Clinical and Nursing departments to help develop treatment plans for them. I also facilitate group therapy using mindfulness and meditation as my main modality.I also work part time at a pet nutrition and supply shop where we specialize in providing the community with high quality pet food and supplies. We focus on natural and ethically sourced food and holistic health solutions. It has been a great way to learn about the pet supply industry and spend time around dogs and cats!I also worked at an eco-friendly wastewater treatment company where I helped create marketing materials to reach new clients and managed our warehouse inventory.Otherwise, I have work experience in many different professional settings ranging from sales, finance, food service, government, and childcare. These experiences have allowed me gain a wider perspective on life and influenced how I interact with others.
  9. What special or unique skills do you feel you would bring to the board of Recovery Dharma?
    After participating in the Mindful Self Compassion program I changed and further developed the way I interact in group settings such as the board. I learned to effectively use empathy and compassion in my communication style which allows me to have a firm and understanding presence, but also lets me take care of myself in difficult situations. Another quality I would bring is being able to understand many different points of view and using that perspective to aid in moderating difficult discussions. Also, an important part of my current job role requires me to see past what is being said and find deeper meaning in order to help the clients where I work progress in their recovery.Being an active member of my local Recovery Dharma community has given me the opportunity to see what is working and not working at the ground level. As a member of the board I would use the experience I have gained over the last 2.5 years from working in multiple roles on behalf of my local community to aid in the decisions that would affect the organization from the local level to the national non-profit.

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