100 Blog Posts and an Upcoming Break

Yes, this is my 100th blog post since I restarted blogging again on Recovery Stories on the 8th of March 2021. I’ve also added various other forms of content on other parts of the website, and released my eBook Our Recovery Stories: Journeys from Drug and Alcohol Addiction on the 9th of April.

As some of you know, I first launched Recovery Stories in May 2013, with the aim of helping individuals and families recover from addiction and mental health problems. A core element of the website was a series of 14 Recovery Stories (one is in two parts) ‘told’ by people who had been affected by a serious substance use problem, either directly or indirectly.

In addition to these Stories, I uploaded over 700 blog posts, as well as a wealth of other content over the following two years. Although the website was still available for viewing after that time, I stopped posting on my blog for some years whilst I worked on other projects, including the educational initiative Sharing Culture, which focused on the healing of intergenerational trauma and, more recently, The Carrolup Story website and eBook Connection: Aboriginal Child Artists Captivate Europe.

Last year, I got an urge to start writing about addiction and mental health recovery again. I contacted the original Recovery ‘storytellers’ and asked if they would be willing to have their story updated seven years on—either being written by themselves or after Skype interviews with me—and published in an eBook. The eBook has the original Recovery Stories, along with twelve Story updates, and two chapters and a prologue that I wrote.

My new blog posts to date have primarily been focused on addiction recovery. I’ve taken this focus initially as there is so much that I want to post on this topic. The blog posts have taken various forms, posts relating to: my transition from neuroscientist to working in the community with my Wired In colleagues; stories relating to people I have met on my journey; themes and issues related to addiction and recovery, including a series of posts focused on factors facilitating recovery; Wired In research, evaluations, service profiles and online recovery community; my Background Briefings for Drink and Drugs News, intergenerational trauma and healing, and more. At a later stage, I will be posting much more about mental health recovery, as well as recovery from addiction and trauma.

It’s been a busy time for me and I’ve now decided to take a break from work for about two and a half weeks in order to focus on some rest and self-care.

I’ve spent a good deal of time over the past weeks reading, re-reading and reflecting on Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey’s new book What Happened To You: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing, which must be one of the most important books I have read in my 45 years working in the field. I’ve also been watching a number of Bruce Perry’s YouTube films and preparing two talks relating to trauma and healing and Bruce’s work over the years.

Although this has all been very interesting and exciting, it’s also led to some of my past traumas rising to the surface. In addition, I’ve also been struggling (like so many others) with not being able to see my children and grandchildren, who are on the other side of the world, due to Covid. I’ve always been able to see them once a twice a year since we got separated, so this new form of separation has been a real ‘bummer’. Anyway, all this means I need to spend some time relaxing and working on myself. I will then be back to Recovery Stories, nicely refreshed, at the beginning of August—and looking forward to a week’s holiday in Broome with Linda at the end of August.

After this morning’s gym visit, where I do a favourite spin bike session [I’ll talk more about this in a  later post], I’m heading into town to have lunch with my old school mates—I lived in Perth from the age of 9 to 14—at one of Australia’s top restaurants, Friends Restaurant, owned by old schoolmate Clyde Bevan and his lovely wife Lesley. We will be celebrating my upcoming 67th birthday, which is on Bastille Day, the 14th of July.

As some of you know, I believe strongly in the healing power of connection. It’s amazing to think that I came back to Perth to live 40 years after my parents took us back to the UK. I reconnected with my old school buddies, finding them to not only be really nice people, but also to have had successful careers. I cherish their friendship. Thank you Clyde, Dennis, Geoff, Erik, Chris and Joe (and Peter, who disappeared before the photo, which was taken at a last gathering).