Faces of Recovery: Terrence, Tonie, and Ray

I am back at Recovery Cafe to work on a project close to my heart.

Trigger Warning: For those of you that are new to the blog and haven’t seen these posts before, I sit down with members of the cafe who volunteer to share their stories with me. They tell me their story and I record it in a portrait and in words as they tell it. Hope and resilience are often a big part of the stories, but there’s also trauma and abuse involved on many occasions. If you worry about the stories being a trigger, this and other posts in the series might not be for you. 


Terrence Arnold has bicycled all his life It has been the constant that has kept him grounded through it all. He has bicycled all over the country, carrying everything he owns on his bike. “Recovery is not a conclusion, it’s a journey,” says Terrence.


Tonie Doose recommended that I watch the movie Palo Alto. It’s available to watch free here on IMDB.
“I love being at Recovery Cafe with my people.” says Tonie who loves animals, the ocean, and a small apartment of her own that she finally has.


Ray Castellon was estranged from his mother for 10 years. But when she finally said “I’m so sorry” ( “That’s all it took,” he says) his life took a turn he didn’t see coming.
“The hospice nurse found me, one week later, in the room with my mother’s corpse. I spent the next 10 weeks in El Camino hospital.”

Find every story recorded so far here. You can read more about and support the amazing work of Recovery Cafe here.

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in Activism, california, Close to home, Faces Of Recovery, people, Portrait, reportage and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Faces of Recovery: Terrence, Tonie, and Ray

  1. a2459827 says:

    Suhita, these are very moving. I have a dear friend in Berkeley who helped start the Homeless shelter for youth there. Nat was a professional photographer and she did portraits of their clients, too. Heavy, but good work.

    🙂 Marvey


    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, heavy. But good for me. When I did my mandatory training as a volunteer with Recovery Cafe they talked about how to do work like this long term, how to listen and yet not bring everyone’s stories home with you. I usually make a “space”, physical or mental, between a long session of work and coming home, to decompress to switch modes. It’s really helpful , it lets me go back motivated to do more of this story recording,

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Interesting stories, you captured their faces well. I always enjoy seeing your Faces of Recovory posts!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Phoebe Wilson says:

    What both heartrending and heart lifting stories. And what a gift for these people to be able to see and hear themselves validated through your sketches, Suhita. Every community needs one of these places.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tina Koyama says:

    So good to see you doing these sketch interviews again! I am continually moved by this series.


  5. Michele says:

    These are so touching, thank you! Beautiful work.

    Liked by 1 person

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