‘TLC, The Ley Community’ by Wendy Dawson

“We’re not armchair analysts, we’re not psychiatrists, we’re not psychologists, we’re human beings in recovery helping people in recovery. We enable you to have the ability to talk through whatever issue it is, we never judge. We are not interested in who you were, we’re interested in who you’re going to be. We don’t care if you’re the prime minister or the road sweeper. At the end of the day you’re a person in  recovery and we’ll support you.”

I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Ley Community, so it was good to hear about it from the CEO Wendy Dawson. Wendy was talking at the Towards Recovery conference held in Henley late last year. 

‘Coaching, cajoling, caring: All good for recovery’ by Peapod

rsz_o8pvekePeapod was the top blogger on Wired In To Recovery before retiring. Here is a snappy piece on peer-based support, originally published in March 2011.

‘What do people in recovery remember as the key things that helped us initiate and then maintain the recovery journey? Do we remember the doctor getting our medication dose just right? Do we remember a brilliant care plan? Do we remember diaries and charts and exercises? Probably not.

What I remember are the people on my path. The person who answered the phone in my hour of need and who listened; the kindness and wisdom of the staff in the treatment centre; the warmth and practical help shown me when I had very little to draw on and didn’t know where to turn. Sometimes people supporting me cared enough to be honest and told me things I didn’t particularly want to hear.

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‘I was confronted by a sight I will not forget for as long as I live’ by Wynford Ellis Owen

rsz_img_2082My good friend Wynford Ellis Owen toured recovery centres and initiatives in the north-east of America late in 2010. He used some of the information he gleaned from this trip to help him build The Living Room recovery centre in Cardiff. Wynford wrote a number of blogs on this trip and here is part of one from mid-November 2010.

“People in recovery have a real understanding of what it means to struggle to be OK as opposed to what it means to struggle to seem OK.”

One of the many insightful sayings that punctuated my conversation over dinner this evening (Tuesday 9th November) with Roland Lamb, Director of the Office of Addiction Services in the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioural Health and Mental Retardation Services (DBH/MRS).

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ManyFaces1Voice Film Clip: Tom Hill

“Coming out as a person in recovery is a very powerful and liberating thing. Public opinion is going to be hard to change and I think it’s not going to change unless people come out and start demonstrating what recovery looks like.”

Tom Hill has over two decades of long-term recovery from addiction, personally and as a family member. Tom’s experiences range from being a community activist to professional advocate and educator.

As Faces & Voices of Recovery Director of Programs, he has led the development of an accreditation system for peer recovery support services and works to develop leaders across the nation.

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Lifetime Achievement Award for Pat Deegan

the_muthas-347x171You can find Pat Deegan and her wonderful mental health recovery work on this website in a number of places – just check out by searching. Pat has just won a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award  from the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services. Here is what she said on her PDA website:

‘Last week I was presented with a lifetime achievement award by the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services.

My friends Sally Zinman, Jacki McKinney and Gayle Bluebird also received awards. I really enjoyed the way the award ceremony was handled.  Harvey Rosenthal had 5 big armchairs arranged on the keynote stage with mics in front of each.  We were presented with our awards and then had the opportunity to address three questions:

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‘If Not AA, Then What? SMART Recovery and the AA Alternatives’ by Tom Horvath

images-2Here’s an article from SMART Recovery President Tom Horvath which appeared in the Huffington Post recently.

‘Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-step groups are the leading U.S. approach to addiction recovery. Millions have attended these meetings and “worked the steps.” Popular media include countless references to AA-oriented recovery. Many scientific studies show that attending these meetings is associated with recovery.

However, many individuals will not attend these meetings, or will not attend them long enough to solidify change. Their reasons include not wanting to accept the labels “addict” or “alcoholic,” not wanting to attend groups of any kind, not wanting to consider oneself powerless, not thinking of oneself as having a disease, or not wanting an approach that encourages lifelong attendance.

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Steve’s Recovery Minute

Here’s Steve’s truly inspiring Recovery Story. Steve is from Birmingham in the UK. Thanks for this, Steve. And thanks to CCAR and their A Recovery Minute series on YouTube.

“… I’m just living a dream. I wouldn’t have had the audacity to believe that I’d be living the life I’m living.

I’m sitting here… I’m in Connecticut… I didn’t move out of my house unless I really had to. I’ve just gone to Philadelphia, gone to Brooklyn. I’ve come to CCAR to look at the service that they deliver, and that’s been really inspiring. I’m going back to New York and then back to Philadelphia.

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‘A Family Illness’ by Phil Hughes

IMG_5024This excellent blog was written three years ago to the day on Wired In To Recovery. 

“I was like a tornado causing as much devastation as I possibly could in my family. But the problem was, I couldn’t even see it because all I cared about was me. I was caught up, obsessed with finding ways and means to get my next drink. When I didn’t have it, I was a nightmare to live with.

My mother felt so helpless, slowly watching her son kill himself through drink and drugs and not knowing whether she was coming or going half the time. It’s through that feeling of helplessness and frustration that the anger started to rear it’s ugly head.

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Phil Valentine interview

Film clips of ​Phil Valentine, Executive Director of CCAR, discussing addiction recovery, recovery-based care, and recovery communities. [9 clips]

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Peer Support Groups

This page provides links to the home pages of a number of key peer support groups, e.g. AA, SMART Recovery. Learn why peer support is important.

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‘The astonishing power of example’ by Peapod

P1010948This blog appeared on WITR in April 2009.

‘Astonishment. That’s what I felt the first time I was taken to a mutual aid group meeting.

I was in treatment at the time in a residential centre. I was also neck deep in trouble. I had lost my job through my using. As part of the fallout from my own million megaton addiction detonation, I’d caused someone else to lose their job. The police were on my tail and I was massively in debt.

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Matthew’s Recovery Story: ‘Making most of the opportunity’

Matthew set himself up a personal recovery plan to overcome his addiction to opiates, gambling and overeating – and his life has been transformed.

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Natalie’s Recovery Story: ‘I didn’t plan to be an addict’

Treatment staff and her peers not only taught Natalie how to live a happy and rewarding life without using drugs and alcohol, but also how to be a responsible and caring mother to her son.

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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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Simon’s Recovery Story: ‘Gratitude for the life I thought was over…’

Simon’s first NA meeting was pivotal, not just in helping him turn his life around, but also in setting him up to make future significant contributions to NA both in the UK and abroad.

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Tim’s Story: ‘Doctor in Recovery’

As Tim found out, having a medical degree offers no protection against addiction, nor from the hard work that is required to change oneself as a key part of the recovery journey.

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