Who do we normally turn to in a crisis? Field Guide to a Crisis challenges us to rethink the voices that are elevated in times of crisis. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we all have been confronted by an existential threat and with questions of our own mortality. However, for those navigating the transition from substance use to sobriety, these are already familiar lines of questioning. Society traditionally turns away from people dealing with a substance abuse disorder, out of projected stigma. This field guide flips that narrative by activating the unique skills that individuals have developed in their recovery process.
Field Guide to a Crisis is an ongoing socially engaged project, created by Justin Maxon and co-conceptualized with Marina Lopez, that began in 2020 at the beginning of COVID-19. It functions as a teacher’s training tool by mentoring people residing in sober living homes in Eureka, CA to become “educators in resiliency.” Participants get the opportunity to identify and present their own life skills through lesson plans, instructional videos, and public presentations. The program aims to build confidence, self-esteem, and resilience in its participants by uplifting lived experience to the status of expert knowledge. Participants collaborate to create a field guide which serves as a new form of knowledge authority.