Recovery Voices

Recovery Voices

Recovery Voices, developed by David Clark and Wulf Livingston, captures conversations about what works in supporting recovery from addiction, and in the development of peer-led recovery communities, from a range of individuals with lived experience, as well as friends of recovery. The Recovery Voices initiative:


(1) highlights common messages and learnings that come from these conversations, providing a resource for people working with, and supporting, recovery and recovery communities;

(2) celebrates the lives and successes of recovering people and recovery communities, and in doing so enhance the visibility of recovery and highlight what can be achieved;

(3) encourages the development of new peer-led recovery communities and their interaction with other initiatives.


You can read about our launch at the bottom of this page. The most recent interviews are at the top of this page. [I recently inserted my 2021 interview by Huseyin Djemil.]


The titles below link through to the 'People' pages in Recovery Voices, each of which contains a series of films. Recovery Voices also contains 'Stories' and 'Themes' pages which contain clips from these interviews.

Gary Rutherford of ARC Fitness

In this interview, we capture a dynamic individual and rich community experience that encapsulates many of things that account for a successful and thriving recovery community. Gary Rutherford is Founder of ARC Fitness, an inspiring initiative that meets the needs of people in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The project is built around physical exercise and wellbeing, but is composed of so much more; education, groups, family services, programmes, community events, stigma campaigns, fund-raising activities, etc. Gary locates addiction and recovery in the context of traumatic experiences and cultural norms. [13 Films, 80 mins]

Tim Leighton

Wulf Livingston interviews Tim Leighton, former Director of Professional Education and Research at Action on Addiction, about his remarkable career in the addictions field since 1985 as a counsellor, psychotherapist, researcher, teacher, and charity executive. Tim designed, co-developed and led the University of Bath Foundation Degree and B.Sc in Addictions Counselling, which was launched in 2004. He is one of the most inspirational and knowledgeable people I have met in the addiction recovery field. In addition to talking about his career, Tim also describes his early drug use and his involvement with NA in his early recovery. [12 Films, 87 mins]

Rhoda Emlyn-Jones OBE

Rhoda Emlyn-Jones developed the family service Option 2 and played a key role in the development of Integrated Family Support Services (IFSS), which was rolled out across the whole of Wales. In her conversation with Wulf, Rhoda emphasises that the best of practice is built on the most obvious, but often neglected, cornerstones of honesty, respect and understanding. Rhoda provides a clear message about the importance of valuing hope and strengths over negative sceptical stigmatisations. And how from this, it is possible to see  and support genuine recovery journeys and articulate for whole system changes in practice thinking. [11 films, 79 mins 06 secs]

David Clark, with Huseyin Djemil

This is an interview I did in June 2021 with Huseyin Djemil of Towards Recovery for his Journeys Podcast. I later edited the interview into 12 clips which you can see below. I thought I would sneak this interview into our Recovery Voices collection to, at least temporarily, avoid having to edit more film of myself. Huseyin takes me through various parts of my journey, including my neuroscience career, recovery advocacy work (Wired In), and the writing of an eBook about Aboriginal child artists which relates to the healing of trauma. We cover a range of recovery-related topics, including the power of story, the impact of trauma, recovery as self-healing, and the power of human connection. [12 films, 69 mins 56 secs]

James Deakin, Part 3

My second interview with James Deakin, Founder of North Wales Recovery Communities (NWRC), took place on 16 June 2023. We covered a range of topics relating to the functioning of NWRC. These topics included NWRC trying to create as many recovery pathways as possible, involving various mutual aid groups holding meetings at NWRC’s Penrhyn House; the power of ‘the group’ in helping individuals; the importance of being committed to, and engaged with, the various activities offered by NWRC; the importance of service to the community and further afield (with examples, including a project in Kenya); education; and dealing with trauma and its impact. [11 films, 57 mins 56 secs]

Marcus Fair of Eternal Media

Marcus Fair talks about his 25-year addiction to heroin and crack cocaine, which was accompanied by long periods of homelessness and time spent in prison. He describes his last visit to prison as saving his life. There, he conceived the idea of Eternal Media. At the request of North Wales Chief Constable Simon Shaw, Marcus made the film Flipped It!, using police and people who had been in trouble with the police as actors, which received considerable acclaim. Eternal Media is a media production social enterprise and charity making high impact documentary films, as well as operating as an inspiring recovery community. [14 films, 81 mins 19 secs]

Wulf Livingston, Part 2

In a second interview with my co-founder of Recovery Voices, Wulf Livingston describes the national addiction recovery movement which grew up in the UK between 2008-12, and then how this initiative faded at a national level over later years. What we see today in terms of recovery is very different to what occurred at this earlier time. Wulf goes on to talk about the development of North Wales Recovery Communities (NWRC) in Bangor, North Wales, one of a number of exciting recovery community initiatives dotted around the UK, and its Founder, James Deakin. Wulf has been closely associated with James and NWRC since its development. [12 films, 77 mins 14 secs]

James Deakin, Part 2

After being interviewed by Wulf Livingston, James Deakin describes various stages of his life to David Clark. He starts by briefly talking about his cocaine addiction, the time he was tortured by some Manchester hoods and the psychological impact this had on him, and his move to Bangor. He describes working as a chef, then as a mental health worker and Drug Interventions Programme (DIP) worker. Once he started working in the recovery field, James realised he could make a significant contribution. He talks to David about peer-led recovery communities and describes what he tells members of North Wales Recovery Communities (NWRC). [8 films, 43 mins 13 secs]

Wulf Livingston of Recovery Voices

Recovery Voices colleague Wulf Livingston talks about his early hedonistic drug and alcohol use, life as a successful chef, and qualification as a social worker. He then worked with the drug and alcohol charity Lifeline, the drug treatment charity CAIS in North Wales, and the Probation Service. Wulf later joined academia, eventually becoming Professor of Alcohol Studies at Wrexham University. He believes what really makes a difference to people’s lives is what occurs beyond the addiction treatment phase. I am enthralled by Wulf’s passion for social justice, his knowledge about what is needed to help more people recover from addiction, and his commitment to helping create positive societal change. [16 films, 79 mins 57 secs]

Professor Wendy Dossett of the University of Chester

In the fourth of our Recovery Voices series, Wulf Livingston interviews his good friend Dr. Wendy Dossett. Wendy describes how she reached out for help 18 years ago at a time when she was in absolute agony due to her drinking problem. She has not had a drink of alcohol since that time. In their fascinating discussion, Wendy and Wulf cover a wide range of topics, including the nature of addiction, a wide variety of aspects related to the 12-Step Fellowship, foundations of recovery, grassroots community, recovery advocacy and the system, and recovery friendly universities. [17 films, 88 mins 28 secs]

Huseyin Djemil, Part 3

In a third interview, Huseyin Djemil talks about the traumatising events he experienced as a young child. His father and mother were arrested after the former killed someone in their house. Huseyin and his sisters lived with relatives until their mother was released from prison. Their father served time for manslaughter. Huseyin talks about the impact that these events had on his later life, and how he discovered more about the events from public records. [3 films, 21 mins 18 secs]

Dr. David McCartney of Lothians and Edinburgh Abstinence Programme (LEAP)

Dr. David McCartney of Lothians and Edinburgh Abstinence Programme (LEAP) talks to David Clark about the development of his drinking problem whilst working as a GP in an inner-city practice in Scotland. He describes an unsuccessful attempt at sobriety, which involved a medical approach focused on prescribing. In crisis, he later called the Sick Doctors Trust Helpline and was told a doctor’s personal recovery story. That telephone call gave him hope and the opportunity to take his own journey to recovery. David talks about setting up LEAP and about facilitating recovery in the community. [15 films, 76 mins 11 secs]

James Deakin of North Wales Recovery Communities (NWRC)

Wulf Livingston interviews James Deakin, Founder of North Wales Recovery Communities (NWRC). James describes his drug-dealing days in Manchester and cocaine addiction. He begins his recovery journey after moving to Bangor, and spends ten years working as a chef before becoming a Drug Interventions Programme (DIP) worker. He becomes disillusioned by the treatment system, but inspired by recovery advocate Mark Gilman. He receives funding from outside the system to set up the peer-led NWRC, which has a residential facility (Penrhyn House), Growing for Change food project, and a community cafe, Bwyd Da Bangor. James describes NWRC activities. [14 films, totalling 82 mins 30 secs]

Huseyin Djemil, Part 2

Huseyin Djemil became the first of our Recovery Voices when he was interviewed by David Clark in March 2023. He was interviewed again by David in April 2023, covering a varied range of topics which included: recovering people needing to be visible: the Japanese art off Kintsugi, which teaches you that your broken parts are valued; an analogy of the revolving door of treatment; promoting belief in recovering people; his work as a Drug Strategy Co-ordinator for the seven London Prisons; and his reflections on the drug treatment system.  [8 films, 41 mins 32 secs]

Huseyin Djemil of Towards Recovery

In the first of our Recovery Voices series, Huseyin Djemil talks to David Clark about Towards Recovery, a recovery community he developed in Henley-on-Thames in the UK. He also describes some of his work as a freelance consultant in the addiction field, and reflects on various themes related to recovery and treatment. Huseyin is in long-term recovery from an addiction to Class A drugs. Recovery Voices is a new initiative being developed by David and Wulf Livingston of North Wales. [15 films, 88 mins 57 secs]

Recovery Voices Website Launched

After six months work, our new website Recovery Voices was launched on 25 September 2023.  The Recovery Voices project has been developed in collaboration with Wulf Livingston of Tregarth in North Wales, and the website built by my good friend Ash Whitney of Wired Up Wales, who is from Cilfrew in South Wales.

The idea for this project developed exactly a year ago when I visited Wulf and he took me to visit two elements of North Wales Recovery Communities (NWRC) in Bangor, their residential community Penrhyn House and their cafe/restaurant Bwd Da Bangor (Good Food Restaurant).

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