“Say the Second Thing” furnishes proven, realistic and thoughtful “tools” to address daily situations people face in early addiction recovery (first three years). Each essay focuses on an effective strategy for maintaining and growing recovery in challenges to an individual’s mind, body and spirit. These tools can be learned and practiced methodically or indexed for specific challenges. They are “suggestions” conveyed in a contemporary voice of an experienced helper.

While many strategies grow from the abundant experience associated with Twelve-Step programs, many do not – recognizing the many successful pathways to wellness.

A leading recovery advocate in the modern era.


  • 2016 recipient of the William L. White Lifetime Achievement Award of Faces and Voices of Recovery.

  • Member of the 2004 Institute of Medicine’s historic panel on addiction health that produced Crossing the Quality Chasm – Adaption to Mental Health and Addiction Disorders.

  • Featured in ANONYMOUS PEOPLE, Greg William’s 2015 film celebrating the vitality and importance of the addiction recovery movement and its power to change minds.

  • Founder and President of Aquila Recovery Clinic, a cutting edge, outpatient addiction health facility in Washington, DC.

  • A Founder and original Board Member of Faces and Voices of Recovery.

  • Author in 2004 of “Seven Policies to Cure Addiction In Our Lifetime.”

  • Trustee for 12 years of Stepping Stones Foundation, maintaining the home and messages of Bill and Lois Wilson in Bedford Hills, NY.

  • Former President of Johnson Institute, featuring the pioneering work of Vernon Johnson, credited with “raising the bottom” for people entering recovery.

  • Former Deputy Commissioner for Mental Health in the District of Columbia.

  • President and organizer for Society of Americans for Recovery, SOAR, in early 1990s, Senator Harold Hughes’ effort to mobilize the nation’s recovery community into a cogent political constituency.

  • Practicing recovery from alcohol and other drug addiction since March, 1982.

Johnny Allem

Recovery Essays
It could have gone the other way

It could have gone the other way

Seven Policies

Seven Policies

Washington Post OpEd

Washington Post OpEd




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