Hep C – The Facts

My good friend Michael Scott loves this film from David McCollom’s DMC Media and Lancashire Drug and Alcohol Action Team.

The film informs and educates individuals who have Hepatitis C and are thinking of interferon treatment. Two people from Lancashire share their experiences of  treatment and how they got through it. The film is just over 24 minutes long. Enjoy!

The future of treatment

P4071117The following quote is taken from one of my favourite books, Slaying the Dragon: The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America by William L White.

‘During the past 150 years, “treatment” in the addictions field has been viewed as something that occurs within an institution – a medical, psychological, and spiritual sanctuary isolated from the community at large.

In the future, this locus will be moved from the institution to the community itself. Treatment will be viewed as something that happens in indigenous networks of recovering people that exist within the broader community.

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‘Detoxification: The nuts and bolts’ by Peapod

P1011113_2Why not check out the second of Peapod’s articles in his Recovery Guide, an article which focuses on detox and beyond?

‘Okay, youʼve got to the point where you are looking to detox but youʼre not sure what the nuts and bolts of it are. How do you go about it and how do you know you are ready? What can you do to boost success?

Here are my suggestions, which are based on guidance and my own experience of working with hundreds of people going through detox.’

‘What is Recovery?’ according to Stephanie Brown (Part 1)

book-a-place-called-self“Recovery has held so many surprises for me. Some good. Some bad. I didn’t know I could hurt so much. But I also didn’t know I could love so much and be so loved.

I had no idea that recovery was also learning how to be in intimate relationships, learning how to have close, wonderful friends. Then there’s my marriage. My husband and I have developed a rich life together.

And get this – I really like myself now. Learning about who I am and accepting me, that’s been the hardest part of recovery – and the best. I wouldn’t trade this path for anything in the world.” Anne, Recoveree

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What is a Recovery Carrier?

P4071151I was recently reading an interesting Bill White paper on Recovery Carriers. Thought you might like to hear what Bill has to say:

‘Recovery carriers are people, usually in recovery, who make recovery infectious to those around them by their openness about their recovery experiences, their quality of life and character, and the compassion for and service to people still suffering from alcohol and other drug problems.

The recovery carrier is in many ways the opposing face of the addiction carrier – the person who defends his or her own drug use by spreading excessive patterns of use to all those he or she encounters. The pathology of addiction is often spread from one infected person to another; some individuals are particularly contagious.

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How do I know a treatment service is recovery-oriented?

Some treatment services today say they are doing recovery – using recovery-based care – when they are not in fact doing so. So how do you know that you are going to receive genuine recovery-based care when you sign up to a treatment service claiming to be recovery-oriented?

Here is some help from Mark Ragins, a leading figure in the mental health recovery field, about what to look for in a service offering recovering-based care. Mark may be talking about mental health recovery, but what he says is of relevance to addiction recovery.

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‘Life in Recovery’ – Research by Alexandre Laudet and FAVOR

2007_0116walpole0025Alexandre Laudet is one of the world’s leading recovery researchers. During the past year, she has been conducting – in collaboration with Faces & Voices of Recovery (FAVOR) in America – the first nationwide survey of people in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.

Here is what Alexandre and FAVOR set out to do, as described in their report:

‘“Recovery” from addiction to alcohol and other drugs is a human experience as old as the human race itself. However, it was not until the past decade that federal agencies, policy makers, service providers, and clinicians have begun considering recovery as a desirable outcome that is gradually supplanting mere reductions in drug and alcohol use as the goal of addiction treatment services.

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Setting up a Recovery Community

Phillip Valentine, Executive Director for the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR), emphasises that the essential first stages in building a recovery community are to:

  1. create a vanguard of recovering people who want to tell their story
  2. organise the community, so that there are many different people, with many different types of recovery, all working towards the same aim.

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Facilitating recovery with peer support

2007_0118walpole0167I emphasise three main elements to helping people recover from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.

Firstly, we must empower people, as recovery comes from the person (not the practitioner). They do the work in overcoming their substance use problems. We can empower people by providing hope, understanding and a sense of belonging.  

Secondly, people need internal resources (e.g. self-esteem, resilience) and external resources (e.g. family support, peer support) – recovery capital – to help them on their journey to recovery. They also need the basic essentials of living, i.e. roof over their head, money, someone who cares about them.

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‘What is Recovery?’: Julie Repper & Rachel Perkins

2007_0116walpole0097In my blogs, I will be exploring the nature of recovery and will sometimes focus on the ideas of someone else (or a group of people). I’ve previously looked at how David Best has talked about “What is Recovery?” David described key principles underlying addiction recovery.

In this blog, I am going to look at what Julie Repper and Rachel Perkins have to say about “What is Recovery?”, as described in their excellent book Social Inclusion and Recovery: A Model for Mental Health Practice. They include a number of quotes about recovery, some of which I will use here.

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Impact of substance use problems on the family

P1010665This piece of writing, which you can find in the Articles section, was based on a piece of research we conducted ten years ago. Hard to believe!

‘In November 2004, I wrote an article, entitled ‘Family Misfortune’, for the magazine Drink and Drugs News in the UK, that focused on the impact that substance use problems can have on the family. The article was based on a piece of research that Gemma Salter and I conducted with family members (primarily mothers) of people who were experiencing substance use problems.

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‘Detox and early abstinent recovery: make it easier’ by Peapod

P4091276Peapod was one of the most prolific and respected bloggers on Wired In To Recovery before going into ‘retirement’.

(S)he wrote a series of must-read blogs containing important hints to facilitate recovery which were very popular. Peapod’s empathy and understanding, as well as experience in the field, shone through in these blogs.

I’ve arranged these blogs into what I call Peapod’s Guide to Recovery. This is the first of seven articles.

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The nature of alcohol dependence

P1011087Here’s an article on alcohol dependence you can find in our Articles section:

There has been a considerable scientific effort over the past three decades in to identifying and understanding the core features of alcohol and drug dependence. This work really began in 1976 when the British psychiatrist Griffith Edwards and his American colleague Milton M. Gross collaborated to produce a formulation of what had previously been understood as ‘alcoholism’ – the alcohol dependence syndrome.

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People affected by a loved one’s addiction

Not enough attention has been focused on the difficulties experienced by loved ones and friends of people with a substance use problem. That’s wrong.

I’ve probably made the same mistake during my blogs this week. So here’s a film from David McCollom, a young man in recovery who is doing some great film work on recovery in the UK.

Overcoming Addiction, Professor Tackles Perils American Indians Face

P1010935Here’s an inspirational Story from the New York Times (May 11th). I spotted it thanks to Alexandre Laudet’s Facebook page.

‘The visitor to Haskell Indian Nations University detailed his roaring 20s: drug addict, garbage collector, suicidal burnout once told by a doctor that he was mentally retarded. It was a curious way to inspire a group of young American Indian students long surrounded by these types of problems. Until he got to the good part. “I never shared this with anyone until I got my Ph.D.,” he said.

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Loneliness: a call to generosity

100_0690Here is a wonderful blog from US recovery advocate Pat Deegan:

‘Like many people, I experienced periods of intense loneliness during my recovery after being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Over time, I learned that my loneliness was a call for me to be more generous and to give of myself. Here’s what I mean:

Loneliness and being alone are two different things. In my early recovery, being alone was an important self-care strategy for me.

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‘My Recovery: A seminar opening speech’ by Adam

IMG_3279Some of you in Perth will remember Adam Brookes. I met Adam a few years ago and he quickly became someone very important in my life, a really good friend. Adam is more than that, he is like part of my family. My children love him and my partner Linda feels very close to him.

I also saw that Adam had that something special, that empathic and caring nature that helps people get better. I knew that he was going to help many people.

Adam moved to the UK (Mosley, near Manchester) in December 2011 and was married to Jemma the following month. They now have two beautiful twin girls, Summer and Tegen, born on 2nd April this year.

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‘The Four Stages of Recovery’, from Mark Ragins

IMG_3040Mark Ragins is a leading recovery figure in the mental health field. He was a pioneer in setting up MHA Village, a recovery community based in Los Angeles. His writings are well worth a read. Here is what Mark has to say about the four stages of recovery in an article entitled The Road to Recovery. What Mark says here is just as relevant to people recovering from addiction.

‘Recovery has four stages: (1) hope, (2) empowerment, (3) self-responsibility and (4) a meaningful role in life.

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Introduction to our Articles and Videos sections

IMG_1601In one of my blogs today, I referred to an article I wrote – on Patrick Biernacki’s research – from the Articles section of the website. I have written a number of articles on addiction recovery and related issues in the past and will load more of these articles up on the website as I have time.    

I’ll also be writing new articles and hopefully will have other writers contribute over time. For now, you can see what I hope you agree is an interesting selection of initial articles.

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Reflections on Kevan’s Story (Part 3)

Kevan MartinHope you’ve been following Part 1 and Part 2 of my reflections on Kevan’s Story. I’ve been highlighting some of the processes occurring in Kevan’s recovery.

We’ve seen changes in his thinking and behaviours, and followed the lifestyle changes that Kevan made. We’ve seen how Kevan’s confidence in himself has grown over time and as the changes have occurred.

What is absolutely clear is that this recovery process was driven by Kevan. It was something he did, not something that was given to him by someone else. In fact, he spent many years in and out of a psychiatric hospital and no one suggested to him that he had a drinking problem. When he did meet with a drug and alcohol counsellor, the advice he was given was nonsensical!

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