Revisiting Old Memories, Part 7: Being Bottled and Passed Around

I recently drew up a list of topics I wanted to cover in my Revisiting Old Memories series in the future, and then selected a topic using a random number generator. Here is the blog post on that topic, which is based in part on a post I wrote for my ‘the prof speaks out’ Google blogspot on 5 October 2008. [I’ve made some slight revisions to the original post].

In mid-September 2008, I gave a talk on recovery at a ‘Who Cares?’ Carers’s conference in Gloucester. I had been invited to the conference by Andrea Wilson, and Ian and Irene MacDonald, and was given a 90-minute slot. My current partner Linda had come over from Australia to visit me in Wales, and she attended the conference as well.

Ian MacDonald had first contacted me about five years earlier and we had met several times over the years. He and Irene had lost their son Robin to a heroin overdose, and since then they had set up Carer and Parent Support Gloucestershire (CPSG), which provided one-to-one support sessions. You can read Ian and Irene’s Recovery Story here and a blog post about my visit to see them last year here.

Here is the relevant part of my 2008 ‘the prof speaks out’ blog post:

‘… I spent a very interesting morning listening to the other speakers. All the talks were of a high quality and there were some moving moments. I was very touched by a talk given by Laura, who reflected on the harm that her alcohol misuse had caused to her mother.

I was thrilled by the response to my 70-minute talk. Yes, 70 minutes (broken up by an 8-minute film) [the short version of Kevin’s Story] and the audience managed to stay awake! Talk about staying power!! I felt genuine interest (and excitement!) in the room during and after the talk. The feedback since the event has been great. I’ve received many positive responses, my favourite being that I (or my message) should be bottled and passed around services (treatment agencies and generic) in the area.

Now, I know this can be viewed as blowing my own trumpet, but it is very important for people to realise that audiences get excited about the recovery agenda. I spoke about things that mattered to people in the room, things that they could understand and desire. If someone wants to ‘bottle me’ to get the recovery message out there and improve matters for those people affected directly or indirectly by substance use problems, then so be it! Bottled DC. Mmm! 

The one disappointing aspect from the conference was whilst I received positive compliments from many sources, this did not include the NTA representative. I guess you cannot win them all. I really enjoyed the conference and the organisers and participants should receive a big pat on the back.’