A Novel Approach to Crisis and Recovery Services in Rural Idaho

The founders of the Latah Recovery Center and Rural Crisis Center Network recently participate in the Region 10 Opioid Conference. Click here to listen to them talk about the unique way their centers partner to provide rural recovery and crisis services in Idaho.

Pause and Relax

by Nancy Casey

There are lots of different exercises a person can do to relax. In some of them you consciously relax your body—from bottom to top, from inside to out. Some exercises focus on the breath—slowing it down, feeling it in your belly. Other exercises ask you to move with maximum awareness, slowly and deliberately. Do you have a favorite?

Today you will have a chance to see what it’s like when you combine writing and relaxing.

Put yourself into relax-mode as you settle in to write: pens ready, clean page. Draw a line at the top of the page where the title will go. Can you draw that line with your hand and arm completely relaxed?

Next, draw 3 dots spaced evenly down the middle of the page. They will divide your page into four “imaginary” sections.

Breathe gently, and use your favorite method to enter your relaxation state. Then begin writing. Write about whatever is on your mind. That might be what you see or hear. It might be a plan, a worry, or a memory. Whatever floats through.

When you get to the first dot, put down your pen and look around. Lay your hands gently in front of you. Close your eyes and do a little something to relax your breath and body.

When you begin to feel relaxation, open your eyes slowly and continue writing. If your mind floated off to a new topic while you were relaxing, write about that. If you are more inclined to pick up where your writing left off, you can do that, too.

Can you stay inside of that relaxed feeling as you continue writing? How does a person do that?

Work your way down the page. Pause to relax each time you come to a dot. Start your writing back up however you like.

Consider drawing or doodling on the page as well. (Would that be part of writing or part of relaxing?)

When you have filled the page, pause and relax one more time.

Read over what you have written. Even if you changed the subject a lot, it’s still probably all connected somehow. Think up a title that hints at those connections.

Write the title at the top of the page. Write the date on the page too, along with a signature or your initials.

Here is an example of what someone could write.

You can share your work by posting it as a comment below. You can type it in, or take a photo of it and upload the image.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. It’s not possible to have an in-person Write-For-You class at the Recovery Center at this time, but if you are interested in writing coaching, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

Randomly Reminding

by Nancy Casey

When you write today, you will have a chance to explore—and appreciate—how vast the contents of your mind are. You will do this by disorganizing your thoughts, and then (sort of) reorganizing them again.

Draw a line at the top of the page where your title will go. Next, write the letters of the alphabet, A-Z, down the left-hand side of the page.

Although the alphabet is very orderly, people don’t think or talk in alphabetical order. So you can disorganize your thoughts by writing down, next to the letter A, the first thing that pops into your mind that begins with the letter A. Then write something for the letter B. And then C, and so on down the page, finishing at the letter Z.

If you spend very much time deciding what to write next to each letter, your thoughts will naturally get orderly. So write down your 26 words as fast as you can. Use the first words that come to mind, instead of searching around for a “good” one.

Return to the word you wrote for the letter A. Next to it, write “reminds me of” and after that write something that your word reminds you of. You don’t have to explain the connection, or make anything clear. Just write something that makes sense to you in the moment.

For example, if you wrote airport for the letter A, maybe it would remind you of going to pick up your friend Ziggy at the airport. Of course you could write, “picking up Ziggy.” But you would remember other things, Ziggy’s clothes, perhaps or the snack you ate while waiting. So you might end up writing something like “torn jeans and a plaid shirt” or “an expensive sandwich that tasted awful.”

When you first start out, your mind might resist being so disorderly. After all, there is a lot of pressure on us to “make sense” most of the time. You can’t be totally random and at the same time, hold on to the idea of getting something “right.”

Does your mind get looser as you move down the page?

After you have written down what your Z-word reminds you of, go back over the page and reread what you have written.  Is it easy or hard to follow? Are there parts that surprised you or made you feel clever and original?

Give your work a title. Draw on the page, too. Decorate it however you like. Write your initials and the date on it, too.

Here is an example of what someone could write.

You can share your work by posting it as a comment below. You can type it in, or take a photo of it and upload the image.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. It’s not possible to have an in-person Write-For-You class at the Recovery Center at this time, but if you are interested in writing coaching, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.