‘A healthy mind in a healthy society’ by Dinyar Godrej

rsz_imagesHere’s a wonderful blog on the mental health scene from the New Internationalist magazine.

Sitting in the waiting room of a busy psychologists’ practice in Rotterdam, I’m intrigued by the furtive nature of the experience. People waiting for their 50 minutes of focused talk avoid each other’s eyes, acknowledging each other with embarrassment, if at all. I could be in the waiting room of a sexually transmitted diseases clinic.

I’m a bit puzzled. With the increased familiarity of stress-related problems nowadays, shouldn’t this kind of guilt (no other word quite captures it) be a thing of the past?

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‘The Four Walls’ by Mark Ragins

rsz_markHere’s some great earlier writing on recovery from Mark Ragins, who set up The Village in California. This is what recovery is about!

‘In 1989, the California State Legislature authorized the funding for three model mental health programs, including the Village Integrated Service Agency in Long Beach, in part to answer the question, “Does anything work?”

We created a radical departure from traditional mental health services basing our entire system on psychosocial rehabilitation principles, quality of life outcomes and community integration. Arguably, we have created the most comprehensive, integrated and effective recovery based mental health program anywhere.

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Development of the recovery model in the mental health field, Part 1

rsz_emil_kraepelin_1926A recovery revolution is occurring in both the addiction and mental health arenas that is challenging practices within both fields. In various places in different countries, recovery is becoming the concept around which addiction and mental health systems of care are being organised.

A transformation of systems of care is underway, shifting away from systems based on pathology to ones that promote wellness and recovery. Hopefully, these changes will also see a much needed bridging between the addiction and mental health fields.

Where did this interest in recovery arise? And why do we feel that we need to change our present systems of care? In this, and in following blogs, I will look briefly at the development of the recovery model in the mental health field.

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The Anchor Recovery Community Centres

rsz_kennedy-anchor-visit‘I think that stigma will most likely be changed when the community sees us acting differently, in the community as people in recovery. Contributing to the community, you know… blood drive or cleanup. Citizenship.

I say to folks all the time, “By our silence, we let other people define us.”‘

I just love this video clip from ManyFaces1Voice, so much energy in it. And I’m really impressed by the look and feel of The Anchor Recovery Community that is shown. 

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Independent film producer shines light on addiction and recovery

Leslie Glass and her daughter Lindsey Glass have just made their second documentary about recovery. Here is a film clip and report from YourObserver.

At a 2011 luncheon for the premiere of her first documentary film, “The Secret World of Recovery,” Leslie Glass remembers hearing a collective gasp as she told the crowd of nearly 400 people that she was the mother of a recovering addict. It was the first time she’d ever told anyone.

“When you come out with it for the first time, you have a sense of shame about it,” she says. “What did I do wrong as a parent that I have a child who’s had these difficulties? I think that’s so common; people don’t want other people to know.”

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I refuse to feel ashamed

images-5Here is an interesting blog on Life Unbuzzed. Everyone’s recovery is just as valuable as anyone else’s. And everyone has a choice of what they do with their recovery, e.g. go public or not, become a recovery advocate or not. Here, husband and wife take different ways forward. 

‘Last week, my husband and I went to see a screening of the film The Anonymous People (which I recommend), sponsored by a local recovery support organization. The theater was packed and I felt bathed in a warm and welcoming vibe.

This was the first gathering of sober people that I’ve been a part of and I loved the sense of belonging. (Yeah, we’re all sober, dammit, and we’re proud!)

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Maetta Broadus on ManyFaces1Voice

Unknown-1“Once you’re an addict and once you are seen in society as an addict or an alcoholic you’re an abnormal to society. You are something that no one wants in their community. you’re that things that they have to hide.

The stigma is that they’re doing it because they want to. But my experience is that I didn’t become a drug addict because I wanted to.”

See Maetta Broadus speak on ManyFaces1Voice, the website promoting The Anonymous People film. Maetta is a community activist and recovery ambassador from Kentucky. She serves on the board of People Advocating Recovery, belongs to Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, and is a certified recovery dynamics instructor.

Bill White on Stigma and the New Recovery Movement

UnknownHere is a really powerful film clip from Bill White. Please pass the link on.

“Almost everyone in America know someone in recovery. The problem historically is that they did not know they were in recovery which means that they can continue to maintain incredible stereotypes about who are the people who develop alcohol and other drug problems in this country and who are the people who recover and don’t recover.

There are a lot of issues about stigma that I cannot educate you out of. I cam give you all the facts. I can read all the books to you. I can show you documentaries but nothing is going to change that embedded prejudice until you encounter personally someone in recovery who means something to you and hear their story.”

The 4th UK Recovery Walk Film

The 5th UK Recovery Walk takes place on 22nd September, 2013 in Birmingham. Hope you folks in UK can make it.

Here’s the film from the 4th UK Recovery Walk in Brighton. Inspirational. Well done all involved in the making of this film.

Stigma and Recoveryism

UnknownBill White has been pushing out the blogs recently and I have missed some. I want to try and help to increase his readership, so it is catch-up time. Here’s the first, from August 28th – it represents some powerful writing. In my humble opinion, Bill at his best!

‘The suggestion that there are multiple and diverse pathways of long-term addiction recovery has evolved from a heretical statement to a central tenet of an international recovery advocacy movement. As tens of thousands of people representing diverse recovery experiences stand in unison in September’s recovery celebration events, it is perhaps time to explore and then put aside past divisions within and between communities of recovery.

In 2006, Tom Horvath, President of SMART Recovery, penned a brief article in which he coined the term recoveryism.  He used the term to depict assertions that a particular approach to addiction recovery was superior to all others – that there really is only ONE effective approach to addiction recovery. 

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‘The Work of Recovery’ by Bill White

employmentI missed this very important recent posting on Bill White’s website which is well worth reading.

‘Research on addiction recovery is quite scant compared to the volumes of research on addiction-related pathologies and clinical interventions. Additionally, some of the most important research on addiction recovery is buried in academic journals, rarely if ever read by the people who need it most – addiction treatment professionals and people needing, seeking or in recovery.  Such is the case of studies on the role of work in addiction recovery.  

In 2011, Dieter Henkel of the Institute for Addiction Research at the University of Applied Sciences in Frankfurt, Germany, conducted a comprehensive review of international studies on the relationship between substance use and employment that was published in Current Drug Abuse Reviews (4, 4-27).  Henkel drew the following conclusions from his review of more than 130 scientific studies:

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‘Solving addiction lies in empowerment, not shame’ by Beth Burgess

P1011013Found this article by Beth Burgess in the New Statesman in October 2012. Beth is certainly getting her writing in a number of important places. Well done, Beth.

‘Brighton’s Recovery Walk is an important sign that stigma about addiction isn’t acceptable.
What springs to mind when you envisage thousands of excited alcoholics and drug addicts gathered on the streets of Brighton? The casting queue for The Jeremy Kyle Show? Early opening at the dole office? A new Wetherspoons opening up on the seafront?

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Beth’s Recovery Story: ‘Becoming Beth’

A fullly-fledged dependent drinker by age nineteen, Beth has gone on to become a recovery coach and writer in order to help other people escape from addiction.

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‘Stigma’ by Peapod

blog-14-06-2013-image1We all know that people with substance use problems and their families are stigmatised by many people. Here, Peapod blogs about stigma on Wired In To Recovery in 2009.

‘My dictionary defines stigma as “a mark of disgrace or infamy; a stain or reproach.”

It’s a problem for addicts like us. I’ve been subject to it a few times in both active addiction and in recovery. Recovery is such a good news story. Why do recovering addicts still suffer from stigma?

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Meet formerly ‘Anonymous People’

Meet formerly Anonymous PeopleFound this article in the NewsTimes as Greg Williams’s tour with The Anonymous People draws to a close.

‘The first two were only fender benders. The third was a bit more serious. It wasn’t until his fourth car accident, a near-fatal one, that Greg Williams knew his life needed to change.

That fateful wreck landed the then-17-year-old Newtown youth in Danbury Hospital’s emergency room, with his parents insisting he needed to get help for his addiction to alcohol and drugs.

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‘The power of language in treatment and recovery: Do we create barriers?’ by Wirral Voice of Recovery

IMG_3474Thought I’d put up some old WITR blogs this weekend, some of my favourites. I’ve included a few of the comments on this first one, a blog from Oliver in early 2010 that challenges our treatment system:

‘I have recently read some interesting research papers on challenging stigma, mainly around drugs and mental health, with particular emphasis on methadone treatment and recovery.

The first thing that came to mind is that there is no other condition, illness, disease or disorder – or whatever one chooses to call it – that carries the same amount of stigma as when someone presents with a drug or related problem. Or that has the same relationship with the crime reduction arena (police and probation services).

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Recovery from mental disorders, lecture by Pat Deegan

Patricia Deegan PhD is a psychologist and researcher. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teeenager. For years, Patricia has worked with people with mental disorders in various ways, to help them get better and lead rewarding lives.

This film features clips from a lecture by Patricia Deegan on the subject of her own route to recovery. She describes how her diagnosis took on ‘a master status in terms of her identity’. Her humanity seemed to others ‘to be quite secondary.’

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The challenges of recovering from heroin addiction

DSCF2083When you ask people what difficulties a person faces when trying to overcome heroin addiction, most will focus on the early withdrawal symptoms, which comprise both physical and psychological elements.

There are far greater challenges that lie ahead in a journey to recovery from heroin addiction. It is important that people know this (users, family members, family members, etc), although it is also important that people with a heroin problem are not put off by these challenges. Many people have overcome heroin addiction.

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The Anonymous People: Theatrical trailer

On Thursday, I blogged about and showed a video of a documentary film – The Anonymous People –  that is going down a storm in recovery communities in America. Coincidentally, Greg Williams launched his film website a day after ours and with it comes this amazing trailer. I say no more.

The Anonymous People

“Many of us have carried a message of hope on a one-to-one basis; this new recovery movement calls upon us to carry that message of hope to whole communities and the whole culture. We will shape the future of recovery with a detached silence or with a passionate voice. It is time we stepped forward to shape this history with our stories, our time and our talents.” – William White

There is something cool happening in America a the moment. The Anonymous People are becoming less anonymous, thanks to film-maker Greg Williams.

Greg is touring the country at the moment showing his new documentary The Anonymous People, a film about people in recovery. And people are loving the film from what I am hearing. Here’s the film synopsis and a promotional video used for Greg’s Kickstarter campaign:

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