The Chocolate Fairy makes deliveries by bicycle to People in Need of Chocolate. Spoken word poetry and chocolate are used as launching points to talk about homelessness, sugar addiction, self-care approaches to minimize medication use, moderation and abstinence approaches to drug use, and the importance and fun of exercise.
“I love the Polka Dots and the Endorphin chocolate action.” “You are choca fabulous.” “It was cool. One lady told me several days later that she was using the chocolate to beat sugar addiction and she showed me her chocolate bar in her purse.”
One action I plan to take: “Be aware. Be vocal.” “Getting a place of my own.” “Walk more.” “Use my personal power things more.” “Read and/or listen to more poetry.” “Poems change my life.” “Find an object that means something to me.” “Write poem.” “Use chocolate to battle sugar addiction.” “Hope.” “Eat more chocolate.” “Get a job.” “I plan to get out in the community more.” “Patient advocate lectures on stigma of mental illness.” “Be happy with life.” “Say it’s a good day more often.” “Riding a bicycle.”
Most useful part of the presentation: “The Poetry.” “Your attitude towards life.” “The information about personal power.” “Inspiration.” “The poems were very original.” “Overall emotion evoked in poetry – as well as the flow of the rhyme.” “The chocolate tasting.” “Poems.” “Just coming in for the group.” “Creative way of thinking and using chocolate.”
Most motivating part of the presentation: “The Poetry.” “Chocolate and Unusual Food.” “Story of recovery.” “Putting yourself out there – motivating instead of just lip service.” “Electrify Electricution.” “the creator was used. (Spirituality.)” “I was impressed with how concerned the questions were for ‘my’ integration in the community.” “Writing in chocolate.” “Creativity with spoken word and chocolate as a healing agent.”
What surprised you? “How things I use and see in my everyday life can empower me and help to improve my life.” “Chocolate versus sugar addiction.” “I learned that the darker chocolate is the most healthy.” “Sunshine in the wording.” “Be a good consumer of literature.” “Take care of myself.” “The poem.” “I was surprised that ‘we’ have advocates who take the time to understand ‘us’ .”
Outline of Presentation:
This presentation will combine about 1/3 audience interaction, 1/3 spoken word poetry, and 1/3 motivational speaking to reach both left and right brain reactions for audience members. Sometimes art can reach out and make a difference through all logical objections, and the Chocolate Fairy is a fun, engaging, and surprising program to address difficult topics like homelessness, sugar addiction, self-care approaches to minimize medication use, moderation and abstinence approaches to drug use, and the importance and fun of exercise.
1. About the Chocolate Fairy project: Our partnership with 10 other artists and 7 other non-profits provides deliveries by bicycle to People in Need of Chocolate. We have four program components, a street based outreach to people going about their daily business including homeless people, workshops and presentations, long distance bicycle tours, and Chocolate Fairy ambassadors. This is a program using art to provide social services and using private funding to create social change. This is an experimental funding method called social entrepreneurship that may be of very important interest to the consumer movement, as peer support centers are typically quite under-funded.
2. Using Chocolate To address homelessness – The Chocolate Fairy is making deliveries to homeless people and gather stories via video to further advocacy for homeless people. Many solutions to homelessness are somewhat controversial, and the Chocolate Fairy offers a playful way to talk about tent cities or legal car sleeping or other options that don’t solve homelessness but allow our societies to be honest about the existence of homeless people. It is important to build communities for all our citizens including those that are extremely poor, and de-criminalizing poverty is an important step for creating long term solutions to homelessness. The Chocolate Fairy ambassadors have the opportunity to provide a long term equal supportive peer based relationship with three homeless people, which is been named by advocates as the single most important element to recovery from homelessness.
3. Using chocolate to address sugar addiction – Many people do not recognize sugar as a drug that is highly addictive. Signs of sugar addictions will be discussed along with positive coping strategies like eating more protein, drinking more water, eating regular meals, taking a multi-vitamin, and paying attention to emotions. Dark chocolate with 60% cocoa or better has much less sugar than most sweets and can be satiating in a very small quantity, so eating more high quality chocolate can be one solution as well.
4. Moderation vs. abstinence in drug use – Many people think that we have to give up all the good things in life to stay healthy. For some substances to which we are highly addicted, we will have to use complete abstinence. However, for other mood altering items, the best long term strategy is moderation. This includes many common substances not generally thought of as psychoactive drugs, like caffeine, sugar, and chocolate. Everyone has a substance of choice and knowing a priority list of which substances are most appealing for each individual person can be an important strategy for reducing the use of the ones that have become harmful.
5. Self-care approaches to minimize medication use – Much new research is showing that psychiatric medication may be more harmful and less helpful than previously advertised by the pharmaceutical industry. One of the most effective ways to reduce medication use to improve long term outcomes is to have solid plans for dealing with symptoms. Possible non-medication approaches to many problems will be discussed along with resources for harm reduction so that people do not make dangerous sudden attempts at medication withdrawal.
6. The importance of exercise – Exercise is essential to many people’s health and has been shown to be more effective in some cases than many other kinds of psychiatric treatments. The use of prescription medication in England will be discussed along with simple strategies to overcome weather, commuting, work, reputation, fear, and other barriers.