My Journey

An ongoing serialised account of my career, with an emphasis on describing my activities and the people who have inspired me since I closed down my university neuroscience laboratory in 2000 and started a community initiative (Wired In) focused on empowering people to overcome substance use problems.

1. A Career in Neuroscience
Outlines my neuroscience career, from a three-year Postdoctoral Fellowship with Nobel Laureate Arvid Carlsson in Sweden to running my own research laboratory for 14 years in the UK. Our laboratory’s  research was focused on the regulation and function of brain dopamine systems, with a particular interest in addiction. In 2000, I closed my laboratory, as I did not think that neuroscience research was helping people overcome addiction.

2. Learning About Addiction Treatment – My WGCADA Experience
I visited West Glamorgan Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (WGCADA) in Swansea in order to learn about addiction, recovery and treatment from treatment practitioners and people who have accessed the treatment service for help with their substance use problem.

3. Learning About Addiction Treatment – My WGCADA Experience, Part 2
I learn about the referral process, assessment, Pretreatment, Primary Treatment, Aftercare, DOMINO (Development in Motivation In New Outlooks) and community support from a number of the practitioners at West Glamorgan Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (WGCADA) in Swansea. In entering this new world, I learn about a number of key factors that facilitate recovery at this treatment service.

4. Learning About Addiction Treatment – WGCADA Stories
Three stories from the treatment agency West Glamorgan Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (WGCADA) in Swansea describe a medical student’s experiences during a day with community support worker Dave Watkins; a client’s experiences whilst interacting with Arrest Referral worker Becky Hancock, and a client’s experiences in the Primary treatment programme at WGCADA.

5. Drug and Alcohol Treatment Fund (DATF) Evaluation
Describes our 2000-2002 national evaluation of projects supported by the Drug and Alcohol Treatment Fund (DATF) in Wales, detailing two particular projects, the North Wales Community Drug and Alcohol Liaison Midwife position and the Option 2 project in Cardiff.

6. Cracks in the UK Drug Strategy
Describes a piece of research I conducted relating to a 2003 article by Nick Davies for The Guardian newspaper in which he claimed that the UK Drug Strategy was failing as a result of government bureaucracy. I followed up this report by contacting  Drug Action Team (DAT) co-ordinators to see how prevalent this  problem was across the country.

7. The Former Heroin Addict Who Helped Change My Life
When I first met Natalie back in 2000, I didn’t realise that she would play a role in my decision to change career from neuroscientist to addiction recovery advocate, researcher and educator. Her words also contributed to my decision to write a collection of Recovery Stories. Thank you, Natalie.

8. Early Reflections on Addiction Treatment
I outline the approach adopted by the government-led addiction treatment system in the early 2000s and describe a number of its shortcomings. I also relate what I saw at West Glamorgan Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (WGCADA) in Swansea to Arthur C. Bohart and Karen Tallman’s ideas about self-healing and the therapeutic process.

David Clark (Professor Emeritus of Psychology) spent nearly 20 years working as a neuroscientist, first training as a postdoctoral fellow with Nobel Laureate Arvid Carlsson and then running his own university research laboratory for 14 years. He closed down his laboratory at the beginning of the new millennium, since he did not feel that neuroscience was helping people overcome drug and alcohol addiction.

David developed the grassroots initiative Wired In and online community Wired In To Recovery in order to empower and connect people to facilitate addiction recovery. Wired In played a significant role in the development of an Addiction Recovery Advocacy Movement in the UK.

After moving to Perth, Western Australia, in 2008, David became increasingly interested in trauma—and the healing of transgenerational trauma amongst Indigenous people—resilience, and the healing of trauma. He currently runs the Recovery Stories and The Carrolup Story websites (the latter with John Stanton), and has published two related eBooks, the details of which can be found on these websites. ‘My Journey’ is a serialised account of his career and wide-ranging activities, and the people who have inspired him.