‘A personal and social model of recovery’ by David Best

Unknown-1Here’s another excellent article from David Best which is essential reading for people trying to facilitate recovery.

‘There has been a subtle change to the role of recovery in UK addictions research, policy and practice in recent years, with a transition from the periphery to centre stage. But it can be argued that, for all the bluster, we still have a limited evidence base and we have not come far in developing an integrated or testable theoretical model.

Humphreys and Lembke (2013) have done a good job in summarising the ‘what works’ of recovery – focusing on three areas: peer-inclusive interventions, recovery housing and mutual-aid groups – so this article will not revisit that evidence.

What I will do is overview three key component parts of a theoretical model of recovery, then draw them together to derive conclusions about what we should do next to make policy and practice stronger in this area.

  1. Recovery capital – personal and social resources – the journey of growth
  2. Social identity and social contagion in recovery – the role of friends and connections
  3. Therapeutic landscapes of recovery – the role of location.

Read More ➔

‘Recovering from Psychiatry – Tips and Some Hope For Those in Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal’ by Laura Delano

This video offers tips, suggestions, and hope for those in psychiatric drug withdrawal from ex-“Bipolar” patient and psychiatric liberation writer and activist, Laura Delano. An excellent video.

Vikram Patel: Mental health for all by involving all

Nearly 450 million people are affected by mental illness worldwide. In wealthy nations, just half receive appropriate care, but in developing countries, close to 90 percent go untreated because psychiatrists are in such short supply.

Vikram Patel outlines a highly promising approach – training members of communities to give mental health interventions, empowering ordinary people to care for others.

‘When we reject the single story we regain a kind of paradise: Why Jubilant Stories matter!’ by Cormac Russell

UnknownHere is a really excellent blog from Cormac Russell of Nurture Development.

‘This blog reflects on the dangers of becoming trapped in the single story. This is a ubiquitous risk. From getting trapped in our personal history, to the dangers inherent in how media shape messages for our consumption, we all need the inoculation that a multiplicity of diverse and contradictory stories bring.

“Show a people as only one thing, over and over again and they become that one thing.”

These are the words of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian novelist who has dedicated herself to writing about the many stories of her life; her country and her continent. Her newest book, The Thing Around Your Neck, is a brilliant collection of stories about Nigerians struggling to cope within a corrupted context in their home country, and about the Nigerian immigrant experience.

Read More ➔

‘Lost lessons from an earlier era’ by Bill White

Lessons from an Earlier EraMy 2009 monograph outlined in considerable detail the history, theory and status of peer recovery support services (PRSS) in the United States.  In the years since the monograph’s publication, voluntary and paid recovery support services have dramatically increased in the US and internationally. 

Such growth has recently prompted me to reflect on the pre-professional days of addiction counseling in the United States (1965-1975) when people in recovery constituted the core workforce within newly arising addiction treatment programs. 

The current expansion of PRSS raised the following question:  What experiential lessons from this earlier era could inform the present implementation of PRSS?  Here are my top 20 answers.

Read More ➔

Don Coyhis, Founder of White Bison

coyhisI found this great biography of a special Native American, Don Coyhis.

Founder, White Bison, Purpose Prize Winner 2009. Coyhis developed Wellbriety, a substance abuse recovery program that taps the power of Native American culture, tradition, and community to help heal his people.

Don Coyhis felt emptiness in sobriety. He found himself going through the motions at support group meetings, disconnected from the reasons why he shouldn’t drink.

Searching for understanding, he turned to his Native American roots. During a five-day fast in the Colorado mountains, Coyhis saw a white bison rise from the ground – to him, a sign that his recovery would be incomplete without his culture. Coyhis founded a nonprofit offering native-focused recovery resources to communities across the country, and in turn, launched a movement called Wellbriety.

Read More ➔

‘Building Bridges Between Mental Health and Addictions Communities’ by Oryx Cohen

ocohenThere is a real need to connect addiction and mental health communities, so this blog from Mad in America is very interesting.

‘When Linda Sarage and Jake Powers first approached me about writing a section for the fantastic manual developed by the addictions community – From the Ground Up: How to Build Your own Peer-to-Peer Recovery Center – that would help connect this manual to the mental health community, I envisioned writing a section that would serve as some sort of translation tool that could connect two very different communities toward a common purpose. 

After reading the manual, however, I quickly remembered how much the mental health community has in common with the substance abuse community and how little “translation” is actually needed.

Read More ➔

‘Recovery Landscapes’ by Bill White

Recovery LandscapesExcellent new blog from Bill White. I love the phrase ‘Recovery Landscape’.

‘Interventions into severe alcohol and other (AOD) problems have focused primarily upon altering the character, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of individuals.

Far less attention has been given to influencing the environment in which such factors are birthed, sustained or changed.  But interest in the geography of recovery is increasing.

Read More ➔

‘ABCD: Connectors, Conductors & Circuit Breakers’ by Cormac Russell

Unknown-5This is the first of 3 blogs in which Cormac will be exploring issues of citizenship, power and democracy and what these mean to asset based community development.

Recently an ABCD Community Builder in Gloucestershire commented that in the neighbourhoods where he works there are three kinds of people:

  1. Connectors: those that bring people and energy together.
  2. Conductors: those that constructively hold negative energy and creative tensions and either help others channel these in a positive direction (like lightening rods) or ‘earth’ them… In other words bring them to ground before someone ‘blows a fuse’.
  3. The third he described as Circuit Breakers. These are people, institutions and sometimes places that break connections and the flow of energy, sometimes with very negative consequences, but often, even in the apparent negativity, they create new learning that can’t be experienced by going with the flow.

    Read More ➔

‘Are we all addicted?’ by Becs Daddow

RD photo glasses - updateI like this article by Becs Daddowof Nurture Development, who draws on the great work of Bruce Alexander.  She emphasises that when we deal with an issue like addiction, it “requires a whole community response that doesn’t simply focus on a single issue whether that’s recovery, well-being, mental or physical health, and so on.” Too true!

‘You’ve probably heard people state that addiction is blind to status, fortune, and situation. It’s often said when talking about drug or alcohol addiction and you’ll be directed to the sad deaths of the rich and famous to make the point all the more resonant, offering a stark alternative to the stereotypical image of the gaunt, penniless, criminal heroin addict so often depicted.

The statement may in fact be truer than we realise at first. Read, for example, Bruce Alexander’s The Globalization of Addiction and you will find a compelling narrative that sets out how, in today’s post-modern world, most of us have ‘severe addictions’. They may not be addictions to drugs or alcohol but that doesn’t necessarily make them any less dangerous.

Read More ➔

ManyFaces1Voice: Michael Askew

UnknownI might be on the other side of the world, but every time I see Michael Askew on film I know I am seeing a true recovery carrier in action. Here is Michael on ManyFaces1Voice.

“Right now, we have to believe that this is a valuable commodity because every time you see somebody in recovery getting well, you know the community is healing. Families are healing, it’s like throwing a rock into the water and that ripple effect…”

Michael Askew is the Manager for the Bridgeport Recovery Community Center under the leadership of Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR).

Read More ➔

My Favourite Blogs: 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:

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

Phil also stresses the importance of providing a way for people to ‘give back’ – giving back is an essential element of recovery for many people – tapping into this energy and ‘helping it flow to where it wants to go.’

Read More ➔

My Favourite Blogs: The Story of Noreen Oliver – What you can do with Recovery

‘It’s almost ten years ago that I conducted an evaluation of the BAC O’Connor for Noreen Oliver. My visits to Noreen’s treatment centre were a real eye-opener! Here was a genuine recovery community, a place where recovery oozed out of the walls.

I couldn’t tell who was there to help and who needed help! It was a special experience and I learnt so much from those early visits. Most importantly, I learnt the power of community and belonging, of love and acceptance, of role models and peer support.

Over the years, I’ve watched as Noreen has continued to build BAC O’Connor and facilitate related activities (RIOT, Langan’s Tea Rooms and RIOT Radio). We meet periodically when I am back in UK and it’s always great to catch up.

Read More ➔

State of the New Recovery Advocacy Movement: Achievements, Part 3′ by Bill White

Unknown-1I continue Bill White’s list of achievements of the new recovery advocacy movement in the US.

Message Clarity. The data collection and analysis allowed us to formulate a clear set of messages that could be used by RCOs throughout the country and would be disseminated via “message training” that clarified the meaning of recovery and reality of long-term recovery in public communications.

A further critical step in that message clarity was the work of detailing how advocacy could be done in ways that were completely in alignment with the anonymity traditions of 12-Step recovery programs – a position recently reaffirmed via a widely disseminated communication from the General Service Office of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Read More ➔

‘State of the New Recovery Advocacy Movement: Achievements, Part 2′ by Bill White

Unknown-1If you missed the the first part of my blogs focused on Bill White’s exciting new writing on the new recovery advocacy movemnet in the US, you can find it here. Here, I continue to look at the list of achievements of this movement:

‘Kinetic Ideas. As early as 2000, five simple ideas emerged from the very heart of the movement – ideas that were foundational and kinetic (capable of inspiring action).

Those five ideas were:

  • 1. addiction recovery is a living reality for individuals, families, and communities,
    2. there are many (religious, spiritual, secular) pathways to recovery, and all are cause for celebration,
    3. recovery flourishes in supportive communities,
    4. recovery is a voluntary process, and
    5. recovering and recovered people are part of the solution: recovery gives back what addiction has taken from individuals, families, and communities.

    Read More ➔

A new year’s message for Governments… the ABCD way

UnknownSome of you will know that I am very enthusiastic about asset-based community development (ABCD). You may have been reading some of my blogs about Nurture Development – where you can learn more about ABCD – and their blog.

I though this an important message from Cormac Russell: ‘As we look toward the year ahead a thought for central and local Governments:

There are things that only a community can do – so get out of their way.
There are things that a community can do, with some help – so offer to help.
There are things that only government can do – so do them.

Read More ➔

‘State of the New Recovery Advocacy Movement: Achievements, Part 1’ by Bill White

Unknown-1Bill White seems to be pumping out his writings at the moment. I didn’t think this prolific writer could be even more productive, but I was wrong. Here’s a blog that links to a variety of Bill’s recent writings.

I was particularly interested in Bill’s piece on the state of the new recovery advocacy movement in the US. This is essential reading, so I thought I’d devote some blogs on a multitude of points raised by Bill. Here’s the first:

‘New Recovery Advocacy Movement Achievements
We would not be here today if those at the center of this emerging movement in the late 1990s and early 2000s had not made some very good decisions. I want to record some of the decisions that in retrospect I think were most important.

Read More ➔

‘The Potential of Recovery Capital’ by David Best and Alexandre Laudet

17a01ef7-2d9e-46cf-b051-57d841da3abd-620x372Here’s a classic text from David Best and Alexandre Laudet on recovery capital. This paper is part of the RSA project on recovery. Here is an introduction to the paper from the RSA.

‘The addictions field is now overflowing with references to ‘recovery’ with service providers and workers increasingly designated as ‘recovery-focused’, although in many areas there is confusion as to what that may mean in practice and what needs to change.

There is an increasing awareness that people do recover, but we have limited knowledge or science of what enables this to happen or at what point in the recovery journey. There is also the recognition that recovery is something that is grounded in the community and that it is a transition that can occur without professional input, and where professional input is involved, the extent of its role is far from clear.

Read More ➔

‘Unraveling the Mystery of Personal and Family Recovery: An Interview with Stephanie Brown, PhD’ by Bill White (Part 5)

Unknown-1Bill White: Your work has enhanced understanding of the intergenerational nature of alcohol and other drug problems. Have you envisioned how such intergenerational cycles might finally be broken?

Stephanie Brown: I think we’ve started to name and describe what happens in addicted families across generations, which is helping us understand family addiction and the complexities of family recovery. And I think we are poised to move beyond our current focus on the genetic and neurobiological influence on intergenerational transmission of addiction to include exploration of the larger psychological and social processes involved.

We need more family research to understand the transmission process and the kinds of family and community support processes that can influence these cycles and positively disrupt them.

Read More ➔

‘Unraveling the Mystery of Personal and Family Recovery: An Interview with Stephanie Brown, PhD’ by Bill White (Part 4)

Unknown-1We continue Bill White’s interview with Stephanie Brown on family recovery. I cannot emphasise to you enough how important Stephanie’s work is.

‘Bill White: It poses the question of what the ideal scaffolding would be like that could support recovery.

Stephanie Brown: I think we understand much better today that the family encounters a vacuum on entering recovery with or without formal treatment or outpatient therapy. This vacuum within the family, and the same kind of vacuum in the community – the neighborhood, town, city, work, school, and social environments – is a significant problem.

Read More ➔