My Forthcoming UK Trip

Sorry for the long delay since my last post. As some of you will know, I’ve been busy posting on the Recovery Voices website I run with Wulf Livingston off North Wales. This trip is partly to see my family and partly work.

I’ll be spending a week in North Wales in late April with my Recovery Voices colleague Wulf Livingston and his lovely wife Melanie. It’ll be a full-on week for me as I will be spending a good deal of time at North Wales Recovery Communities (NWRC) in Bangor, where a number of activities are planned.  I’ll also be visiting Eternal Media in Wrexham. It will be so good to finally meet James Deakin and Marcus Fair, the Founders of those recovery initiatives, respectively, as well as their colleagues.

James and Wulf have organised an evening ‘with David Clark’ at Bwyd Da Bangor, the wonderful restaurant run by NWRC. I’ll be giving two talks, separated by dinner, and followed by questions. I’ve not done anything like that before. I’ll also be talking about trauma and healing with residents at Penryhn House, the residential part of NWRC, and be engaged in other activities there. I’m really looking forward to that week.

After my North Wales visit, I’ll be heading to Burton-on-Trent to meet old friends at BAC O’Connor. It will be 20 years since I first met Noreen Oliver at a Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals (FDAP) meeting at the Houses of Parliament. Simon Shepherd, Chief Executive of FDAP, had wanted to introduce me to the ‘movers and shakers’ in the field, the first being Noreen. She asked if I would carry out an evaluation of their structured day care programme in Burton-on-Trent, her centre being called Burton Addiction Centre (BAC) at the time. Noreen and I have remained good friends, despite the distance separating us, until her sad passing in December last year.

My Wired In team not only conducted this evaluation but also two pieces of qualitative research, one focused on the views of BAC clients—I wrote an article called Learning from the Experts, for the bi-weekly magazine Drink and Drugs News which appeared on 21 March 2005 (p. 8)—and the other focused on the views of recovering heroin users’ views on substitute prescribing (methadone versus Subutex). We also published 19 Stories of BAC clients on our website, written up by my daughter Annalie.

I visited BAC O’Connor in October 2022 and spent the night with Noreen and her husband Tony. It was so good to see Noreen again, the last time I ever saw her. I still miss her greatly. I’ll be giving a talk during my two-day visit to BAC O’Connor.

Whilst in the UK, I’ll also be visiting Gary Rutherford and his team at ARC Fitness in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland, for two days in early May, my first ever visit to that country. I’m really excited about that visit, and meeting Gary and his amazing team. I’ll also be giving a talk there and will no doubt be engaged in many conversations.

I will be getting a better feel for all four of these exciting recovery communities, which will help me promote their work better. I’ll no doubt be posting on my blog during these visits.

In my last full week, I will be visiting South Wales first meeting up with Cardiff and near-by recovery friends, Kevin & Kerry Manley (former Wired In), Wynford and Miera Ellis-Owen, and Rhoda Emlyn-Jones. I’ll then drive to Cilfrew (near Neath)  to catch up with my webmaster Ash Whitney, before heading for a few days rest on Gower. There, I’ll catch up with old  friends from the recovery field, Keith Karrot, Angie and Andy Evason, and Becky Hancock. And maybe more.

A busy schedule!