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Essential Conversations: Recovery Month Edition!

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Each person who enters recovery is as unique as their story. And this month, in honor of recovery month, we are bringing you recovery stories from people in diverse populations. Hear what people in these communities want providers to know.

This series is a special edition of the Essential Conversations podcast. Stream new episodes every Thursday in September!

About the host:

Darla Belflower has worked in leadership in the substance use disorder and behavioral health fields for over three decades. She operates her own training and consulting company covering a variety of behavioral health topic including, peer support, diversity equity and inclusion, recovery language, harm reduction and LBGTQ+.

She is Vice Chair of the Kansas City Recovery Coalition and is a member of The Missouri Behavioral Health Councils Culture, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (CEDI) Committee. She is a member of the Missouri Department of Mental Health State Advisory Counsel, and she actively volunteers in her community.

She is a Clinically Licensed Social Worker in both Missouri and Kansas, is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in Kansas, Certified Reciprocal Advanced Alcohol & Drug Counselor in Missouri, Certified Peer Specialist, Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist, and is a trainer and educator of Narcan distribution. She obtained her MSW from the University of Kansas and she has a BS in Psychology and Alcohol and Drug Studies from Missouri Valley College. She has made presentations at numerous professional conferences, seminars and trainings at the local, state and national levels.


  • Episode 1: Laura celebrates her recovery and the person she has become as a result. When her daughter was battling her own addiction, this veteran, divorced, gay mom had to advocate to get her daughter's other mom to be recognized in the healthcare setting.  Laura and her ex-partner were the first parents in MO to have a same-sex partner adoption, but even that legal distinction did not stop the discrimination this queer family faced when seeking medical care for their daughter


  • Episode 2: Hector looked at his family and chose not to repeat those patterns.  Hector practiced abstinence into his young adulthood.  When he did start using, he practiced harm reduction.  As a queer, first-generation Hispanic immigrant, he has been able to put a voice to what so many in his culture could not do.


  • Episode 3: Casey explains that recovery does not have to be abstinence only.  She discusses her thoughts on why she practices abstinence only now, but she may not always. She discusses why she may use substances in spiritual practices or rituals that her culture has used for centuries, and that does not contradict being in recovery. Casey uses her voice to stand up for who she stands on. 


  • Episode 4: Jazie is a non-binary person who is coming up on their 2nd sober anniversary.  Jazie recognizes the older version of themselves taught them many things and acknowledges that they would not be the best version of themselves without that former self.


  • Episode 5: Lisa got sober at fifteen, and now, at 34 people often discount her experience.  Lisa has many labels: a person in recovery, a queer lesbian, multi-religious, and a single mom who created her family through international adoption. She continues to work on her recovery daily and is grateful to be sober.


  • Bonus Episode: Norma is an 88-year-old woman who entered recovery in her 50‚Äôs. As an older lady friends and family have a hard time believing she ever had a drinking problem. She educates her doctors and friends about what alcoholism is.