Understand

by Nancy Casey

We don’t have to live very many years before we start understanding a thing or two. Yet, no matter how long we live, or how wise and talented we might be, the ocean of what we don’t understand will always be vast compared to the tiny island of what we do understand.

Today you will write about understanding and not understanding all at once. At the center of the exercise is a sentence shaped like this:

I understand­­­ ________, but I don’t understand_______.

This type of fill-in-the-blank exercise gets your mind working in a pattern. When that happens, you often start to get ideas that wouldn’t pop up if your mind was working in its usual patterns.

Another thing that can happen with an exercise like this: Long after you finish your page, your mind might keep working in that pattern and continue to present you with ideas for filling out that sentence.

Because the exercise requires you to come up with only one sentence at a time, this is a fun exercise to do out loud, going back-and-forth with another person or going around a circle in a group.

Another thing that’s fun and interesting is to write a page that uses this pattern every day for a while. Your mind will quietly work on it when you aren’t thinking about it at all. You are likely to come up with ideas that surprise and please you each time you do it again.

For now, set up your page. Put a line across the top where your title will go. Reserve some space for illustration if you like. Then, without pausing to think, begin writing.

Fill out the sentence with the first words that pop up. Don’t worry if they seem lame. There’s nothing like writing down a lame idea to make your mind rumble around on its own for “better” one next time. (It’s actually rather difficult to write an entire page full of nothing but lame ideas.)

Maybe you will write clear sentences about a subject or problem you are trying to figure out. Maybe every sentence you write will revolve around the same topic.

Maybe your sentences will seem disconnected. There might not even be much connection between the understand and don’t understand parts of the sentences.

You can even turn the sentence inside-out, beginning with don’t understand, so it has the form:

I don’t understand ______, but I understand ______.

When your page is all filled up, look back over your work. Pause to add illustration or decoration if you like. Do your ideas form any kind of a pattern? Do they seem to be about a bigger idea that you hadn’t really planned on writing about? If they do, maybe you can use that insight to think up a title. If they don’t, make up some kind of a title anyway and write it at the top of the page.

Put your initials or a signature on the page, too. And write the date on it. Here is just one 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. If you would like some individual help with your writing, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center. In-person Write-for You classes have been suspended for now, but when Covid has fully receded, they will return.

Wash It Away!

by Nancy Casey

The water in a river washes away enough dirt and rock to carve out the likes of the Grand Canyon. The water from a showerhead can wash away hours—or days—of personal grime and maybe worries and cares as well. A surprise summer rain can wash away particles of dust and smoke and turn the air clear and sweet. A good long sleep can wash away mountains of stress and fatigue.

Let your writing for today open your mind to imagining the miracle of washing-away.

What do you think would be fun to wash out of your life and understanding? Think about that as you set up your page: a line across the top where your title will go and, optionally, a box, blob, or other sort of space set aside for illustration.

Consider the dirt and clutter of your surroundings. How could a selective waterfall transform them to your liking? Think about the pollutants and microbes that could be carried off in a sudden, possibly soapy, shower. How would the wider world—a car, a building, a town, a country—benefit from the woosh! of a good washing-away?

Are there thoughts and memories you’d like to have washed from your mind? Or events that you’d like to see loosened up and floated out of history?

Begin writing without overthinking it. As soon as your mind lights on a good candidate for being washed away. Write it down. Say a little bit about it. Say even more if you like. Maybe you’ll fill the whole page writing about that single thing—what it is, what it would look like as it is washed away, where it will go, what the world will be like when it has disappeared.

It could turn out that so many possible candidates for washing-away pop into your mind, that your page will fill up and seem more like a list. Or it could turn out to be a string of phrases and sentences, all describing what you would love to see swirling around, then disappearing down the drain at the center of the universe.

If you wanted to, you could even organize your writing in the form of a spiral, circling round and round on the page, so that all the ideas in your writing tumble towards a point at the center.

Somehow your page will fill up. When it does, look back over your work. Pause to add illustration or decoration if you like. Do your ideas form any kind of a pattern? Do they seem to be about a bigger idea that you hadn’t really planned on writing about? If they do, maybe you can use that insight to think up a title. If they don’t, make up some kind of a title anyway and write it at the top of the page.

Put your initials or a signature on the page, too. And write the date on it. Here is just one example of a page that 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. If you would like some help with your writing, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center. In-person Write-for You classes have been suspended for now, but when Covid recedes, they will return.

We’re hiring!

Please apply with resume and cover letter by 2/9, 5pm. Email to latahrecoverycenter@gmail.com, or mail to Latah Recovery Center, 531 S Main, Moscow, ID 83843.

Latah Recovery Center

Re-Entry Case Manager

Job Description

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Salary Range: $20.00 min DOE

General Information:        

This is a full-time position that reports directly to the Latah Recovery Center (LRC) Executive Director and works with officials at the Latah County Jail.

Summary:                

Long-term viability of this position is dependent on the Case Managers ability to successfully implement the 2021 Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Re-Integration grant.

This position works with participants entering LRC programs thru incarceration at the Latah County Jail.  The Re-Entry Case Manager works in concert with Recovery Coaches to provide pre- and post-release support with comprehensive planning and connection to resources that are not only a requirement for release but also foundational to success in carrying out the reentry plan. These resources support and assist with sober living using the tools and staff available at the Center. Assists individuals with planning and resource identification and application prior to release, so they have a clear path outlined when reentering the community. The case managers goal for all participants is to establish more resources to be available to inmates at the outset of release, to include food, clothing, and personal.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities: 

The Re-Entry Case Manager shall be responsible for the following:

  1. Serve as lead on the progress of the proposed enhanced reentry services.
    1. Coordinating the development and proposal of project goals, timelines, evaluations, and routine reports with the Latah Recovery Center Director as well as participating in any necessary communications, site visits, and progress reports with IDHW.
  2. Case management as returning citizens navigate thru Treatment Court Phases 1-4 (Early Recovery, Decision Making, Community Transition and Aftercare) or are otherwise identified by county staff, including ongoing follow-up in first 6 months after release.
    1. Individualized re-entry planning-including a “1st day of re-entry” plan for familiarizing with local resources.
    1. One-on-One connection with resources thru working with local agencies and peer support
    1. Track peer progress via Idaho Response to the Opioid Crisis and Latah Recovery Center intake information; and recurring data collected-including required GPRA (intake, three and six month, or discharge), program participation data, and quarterly recovery capital assessment
  3. Work with staff and volunteers to improve existing peer coaching program while incorporating returning citizens/peers into the existing program.
  4. Attend all monthly peer planning meetings, work in conjunction with Recovery Coaches to help peers grow in their recovery.
  5. Cultivate positive collaboration within the team, peers, jail and other major community partners in the re-entry program. 
  6. Support growth and program development in all areas of the Centers.
  7. Keep current peer documentation, reports and proposals. 
  8. Other duties as assigned by the Executive Director.

Supervisory Responsibilities:   

If appropriate the Re-Entry Case Manager will supervise bachelor level non-licensed peer specialists and recovery coaches relative to their work in implementing the grant.   

Job Relationships: 

The Re-Entry Case Manager will maintain regular published office hours, peer appointments, attend all regular staff meetings, appointed board committee meetings and board of director’s meetings, as assigned.  They will establish and maintain regular contact with the Executive Director, Rural Crisis Center Network Manager, board committee chairs, recovery and re-entry related community resources, and awareness of agency-wide issues.

Qualification Requirements/Education and/or Experience:   

BA in Human Services or related field

Language Skills:   

Excellent written and verbal English is required.  

Mathematical and Computer Skills:     

Knowledge of Electronic Health Record software such as WITS or ability and willingness to learn are required.

Ethical Considerations:

  • The Recovery Center believes in Harm Reduction approaches, and maintains a Safe Syringe Exchange, naloxone and condom supply.
  • Confidentiality protocol applies to all interactions with participants and co-workers. Confidentiality involves maintaining secure consumer and internal agency information. HIPAA and other privacy regulations apply. 
  • The Clinical Crisis Intervention Specialist supports both Centers policies, goals and mission at all times. 
  • Political and social awareness are necessary professional characteristics required by the unique nature of work in a corrections atmosphere.

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.