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Year in Review: Message From our Board President

It was time again to prepare the customary “Chair’s Year-End Review” for the Phoenix Society’s Annual Report, so I asked our staff for a chronological list of achievements and milestones over the past year.

As I read through it, it occurred to me: “Wasn’t this the year of semi-lockdown, social distancing, limited assemblies in confined spaces, wiping down door knobs and toilets and desktops and changing out pens and pencils after they’d been touched? The year of working some or all of our days from home, connecting with colleagues and having to trust that everyone was getting their part of the team’s job done, on their own, without ‘supervision,’ and without companionship or extra hands to call upon? And the year when every day’s plan was subject to change on short notice?”

And it jumped out at me – the word “resilience.”

In sports psychology, in personal development training, and in the pursuit of excellence by organizations, this is such a key word.

It’s been at the heart of our global disaster response program during the pandemic. The foundation of human endeavor is the resilience that propels us on, to get past whatever goes wrong or stands in the way.

Resilience is what turns a potential “I can’t do it” or “too bad, we failed” into “this is just a bump in the road but we’re still on course. Now, what’s to be done next?”

And I’ve been thinking, it’s one thing to have personal resilience, but it’s quite another to see it in an organization of many people. Because when it’s there, the faith is maintained among the team. Each can trust that the other is not giving up, either; That whatever slaps them or us in the face, we’ll just get over it and keep on.

We’re on a mission together that nothing will derail. I think I said last year that Phoenix is unstoppable.

So my year-end report will not recount that chronology of milestones that were achieved in the midst of a constant slap in the face. I think it will be published for us all to review and take great pride in. I just want to say that this year showed our resilience, and proved again that we won’t be stopped.

Incredibly, we made it through this past year without a major outbreak at any of our expanding list of sites and operations. And for me, the best of all those “silver linings” we’ve acknowledged publicly about the COVID pandemic – those unexpected positive outcomes from a generally disastrous situation – the best of all for me has been the exultation of the workforce that does the caregiving in our society. The way we celebrated our frontline workers, and learned a whole new level of respect and admiration for their devotion. So within our Phoenix family, thank you to all of you who keep the lights on, the spaces clean, the meals coming, and the group sessions going, even under duress. We’ve been fighting something like a global pandemic for years, taking on the demon of addiction, and we’ll never stop.