CulinaRecovery
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I Can Relate...

I was a Chef for over 20 years. I've had the same thoughts. 

"I AM what I do. Cooking is my life! It's all I've ever done. I don't even know how to do anything else."

"Nobody in my family understands what it's like in this industry."

"No, I can't. (...take off Friday, go on vacation, come to your wedding, put the kids to bed, leave work early, stop drinking.)

"Dude! I'm not drinking anymore!" Two days later... "Ok. Maybe just my shift drink."

"It's my day off. I'm bored. All my friends are working. I might as well go in. I'll only stay for a little bit." ---12 hours pass---

 

My name is Melinda. I am a Chef living in recovery.

What this means to me is that despite the lasting effects of growing up while working in the addicted or otherwise dysfunctional restaurant industry, I am able now to be healthy, fully alive and present in my own life; as well as be an ally to others who want to create positive change in theirs. How?   Peer Support.

 

Peer Support is based on the fact that you and I have some shared lived experiences. I know the rage that boils when someone wants to modify a dish that took months to perfect.  I've felt the guilt when you've let down a loved one, again, by coming home too late for this or that.  I get it, and I know why it keeps you up, and why you drink over it. I know the mental, physical, and spiritual cost of anger, anxiety, depression and shame. If you've ever thought "My life is ruining my life..." Well, I've been there too.

Look, I'm not a "Sponsor." I'm not a counselor.  Here's three things I won't do:

  • Ask that you attend support meetings. They helped me, but that's my story, not yours.
  • Bill your insurance company (...as if people in this industry have insurance, anyway. Ha!)
  • Tell you abstinence is the only definition of sobriety. I will not set your goals for you.

My primary purpose is to help Chefs attain or maintain emotional or chemical recovery as THEY define it, while working in the uniquely challenging culture of food service.   I'm no expert on anything but my own experience. You tell me what areas in your life you'd like to see improvements... then I work to support you in achieving those goals, offering further resources if that's what's needed. I'm a peer when you need understanding, a coach when you need accountability, and a cheerleader when you meet with success. 

I'm also a...

  • MN Department of Human Services Certified Peer Support Specialist
  • Minnesota Recovery Connections Certified Peer Recovery Coach
  • Certified Facilitator of Hearing Voices Support Meetings
  • Certified Mental Health First Aid: First Responder
  • Certified Holder of Safe Space/Safe Zone
  • Certified Prepare/Enrich Marriage Facilitator
 
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You Are Not Alone...

“As an executive chef or owner, you wear many hats and everyone relies on you,” Reilly added. You’re the chef, coach, cheerleader, therapist, teacher, leader and face of the restaurant. When you’re trying to be all of those things to everyone, who is doing that for you?
— - - Ben Foster, Executive Chef at Project Angel Heart. https://303magazine.com/2018/05/denver-restaurant-hardship/
We have to talk about the way that the restaurant world can be a gift and a curse....the industry beckons with a promise of the counterculture life—loose on rules, vibrating with energy. It welcomes the ambitious and the misfit equally...that is the gift....The curse is more subtle. It rattles around in the 4 a.m. hour when the mainstream world is sleeping and the industry is letting off steam under no one’s gaze. It’s seductive to own the world at that hour, it keeps you there longer than you thought it would.
— Stephanie March http://mspmag.com/eat-and-drink/foodie/the-misfit-in-the-darkness-anthony-bourdain-s-last-gift/
I’ve got years of AA under my belt, but they don’t understand what it’s like to work in the service industry,” he says. “This isn’t AA. It’s not a meeting; it’s not treatment. It’s for anyone seeking a different way of life. Let’s get coffee. Let’s hang out.”
— Obediah O'Connor, Administrator of "Last Call," an online support group of industry insiders committed to successfully maintaining both their careers and their sobriety. https://upserve.com/restaurant-insider/chefs-share-struggles-overcoming-addiction-kitchen/
Hoffman would like to see restaurants establish employee assistance programs so employees can have confidential conversations with someone who isn’t their boss.
— -Erica Rivera https://growlermag.com/in-the-weeds-creating-a-culture-of-self-care-in-the-restaurant-industry/

Curious? Ready?

If you feel like I may be of service to you or some Chef you know

or

You're curious about Peer Support/Recovery Resources...

Do it!

Fill out this request or email me at melinda@culinarecovery.com

Adding peer services can be transformational to a restaurant.

With support from owners, the addition of peer support can change the way staff talk to each other and to the people they serve. Peer Recovery Coaches can successfully engage individuals who may otherwise be reluctant to seek services or to even talk about the issues which may eventually lead to their resignation or termination; therefore reducing turnover.

 

 

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