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Addiction Recovery

The Rev. Cecil Williams is known for his work in addiction recovery.  In a time when best practices in addiction recovery centered around white culture, through community at Glide, Cecil helped to explore ways that those in the black community could recover from addiction.  Cecil wrote about his experiences and values in the book No Hiding Place.

“When you become obsessed with anything to the extent that you rely on it for your grasp on reality, you are addicted.  Some of us are addicted to substances like drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or food.  Some of us are addicted to relationships – we hang on when we should let go.  Some of us are even addicted to religion – we crave being absolutely right about what we believe, and we think that everyone else has to become like us.  Toxic relationships, toxic substances, and toxic faith are all addictions from which we need recovery in order to live fully.

“I define recovery as the beginning of an experience by which we begin to discover the real meaning of our lives.  Recovery is a process we have learned to live by at Glide.  We discover that each moment is a choice between life and death.  Everyone at Glide can tell you about his or her choices for life.  Take a walk through Glide and keep your ears open.  You will hear amazing things.  Some would call them miracles.”

Cecil’s work included the organization of several conferences on the effects of crack on the Black community.  You can learn more about these events through the multimedia below.


1989 – Death of a Race Crack Conference

Photo of Cecil
Williams and Coretta Scott King at the 1989 Crack Conference

Maya Angelou at the 1989 Crack Conference



1990 – Rebirth of a Race – Death of Crack National Conference at Glide Memorial

Cecil’s pin from the Crack Conference

Cecil and Coretta Scott King at the 1990 Crack Conference

Conversations about recovery steps for the black community at the 1990 Crack Conference.

CRACK CONFERENCE AT GLIDE MEMORIAL 4-27-1990. “The Race Against Crack,” 2-hour conference hosted by Cecil Williams, filmed by KQED. Courtesy of the Internet Archive

1990 – Recovery March



1991 Cecil Williams Speech at Portland Drug Conference


1992 – To Heal a Wounded Soul Crack Conference

Janice Mirikitani, Maya Angelou and Rosa Johnson at the 1992 Crack Conference

A panel discussion at the 1992 Crack Conference

The Glide Ensemble at the 1992 Crack Conference


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Financial Support:

The Rev. Cecil Williams taught us to use our voice to radically welcome others.  We continue to proclaim that radical welcome in all that we do!  We celebrate the Rev. Cecil’s birthday throughout the month of September.  If you would like to help us celebrate, please send a love offering in honor of his birthday.  Your support helps us share unconditional love in the Tenderloin, in San Francisco and throughout the world. Contribute to our fundraiser in Honor of Cecil’s 94th Birthday here.