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The Vision

Phil Valentine has a vision:

"I’m on a surfboard (odd because I’ve never sat on a surfboard) and I realize a huge wave just crashed on shore. I sit in the aftermath; the still, cold, dark water no threat. I’m overcome with deep sadness; the ocean’s surface covered with floating trash – plastics in every shape, color and size. Items bump against my knees.


Behind me, I sense motion, a powerful presence plows through the sea toward me – a killer whale. Orca. The queen of the ocean; she commands the plastic be removed.

The scene shifts south to warm, tropical waters. Many others straddle their surfboards with me, a feeling of purpose unites us.


The vision ends.


However, words remain. ORCA equals Ocean Recovery Community Alliance. I know what I’m supposed to do. I feverishly jot down some thoughts.

  • ORCA can be said two ways – Ocean (pause) Recovery Community Alliance or Ocean Recovery (pause) Community Alliance. The first iteration suggests the recovery community aligns to clean up our oceans. The second brings in a much larger audience.

  • The ORCA concept solves a dilemma I’ve wrestled with for years; uniting the recovery community with the entire community; an opportunity to visibly practice recovery service. Let the world experience recovery community values.

  • Personal recovery aligns with ocean recovery. Save ourselves, save the planet.


So what do I do with this vision? I talked with trusted friends. I ran it by the CCAR staff; all enthusiastic. I presented the idea to the CCAR Board. They caught the vision too. With their encouragement and permission (and with no funding), we posted for an ORCA Coordinator position. Through a virtual interview process due to COVID, one candidate clearly surfaced. We hired Kevin Carmignani, a young, enthusiastic person in recovery, recovery coach, and surfer Kevin had recently moved from the mountains to the beach and was already involved in beach cleanups. Merely a coincidence? We think not."

Phil Valentine, RCP is the Executive Director for the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR). An accomplished facilitator, speaker, and leader, Phil has devoted his career to recovery promotion.  As a man in recovery since 1987, Phil is seen as a leader in the recovery coach profession, training thousands of coaches over the years, writing numerous blogs, developing innovative recovery support services, and hosting the Recovery Matters! podcast with his wife Sandy. In 2015, Phil completed a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, a journey of 2,189 miles, carrying the message of recovery the entire way and recently completed a book about his adventure, “Continue: Right Click on the Appalachian Trail

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