Recovery People

Doreen Phillips by Gina Tron


By Gina Tron

Doreen Phillips always loved writing, even as a child. She started writing poetry in elementary school. In high school, she wrote for the school newspaper and as an adult, she reviewed and previewed performances for music magazines. She writes now, poetry and slam poetry. But, while in the depths of addiction she wasn’t writing very much.

“I was getting to the point where the obsession drained me of any sense of creativity. Every once in a while I would produce something. I look back at journals from that time and it felt like I was stuck in a black hole.”

She felt stuck but she never stayed still for long. Doreen moved around often.

”In part, it was chasing the dream of pursuing something more in the music business. But no matter where I went, alcohol and drugs were already there.”

She expressed she was attempting to run away from her past.

“I kept running from bad situations that I dealt with as a kid and it took a long time for me to move away from that, to come to terms with it. At one point I was very, very ill because I kept repressing and repressing and I just turned to drinking all the time.”

She closed herself off from everything. It got to the point where she could have lost everything she had.

“It just dawned on me that until I started dealing with my own addiction, moving wasn’t going to change. It was up to me to change.”

Once she got treatment for her addiction, she felt like she could connect with others again. She also began participating in Writers for Recovery and the Transformative Language Arts Network (TLAN) which is affiliated with Goddard College. Soon she’ll be receiving her TLAN certificate.

“It’s been incredible, the writing but also the people that I’ve met,” she said. “I’ve found like-minded people. I’m really establishing REAL friendships.”

Doreen is proactive about staying connected, and staying connected to her love of writing. She hosts regular brunches at her home where she engages in slam poetry. She’ll soon be working with the Restorative Justice Center’s offender reentry program.

“I know there is a lot of addiction involved with people who are offenders and I hope to offer people ways that they can express themselves and find a way to start a new life. Because it’s never too late. It really isn’t.”

For Doreen, writing is an effective outlet for expression. She said sometimes when she writes, even while in a jovial mood, she is surprised by what comes out.

“Writing is a way to express those pent-up emotions.”

She hopes to teach similar skills to the offenders she will be working with.

“I’ll be excited to try to help others. I sure hope that I can.”

Gary MillerComment