Learning About Addiction Treatment, Part 6

I earlier began a series of blog posts (starting here) describing what I learnt about addiction, addiction recovery and addiction treatment after I had closed down my neuroscience laboratory in the early 2000s. I started visiting a local treatment agency, local treatment agency West Glamorgan Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (WGCADA), in Swansea, South Wales. At the same time, I was conducting an evaluation of projects supported by the Drug and Alcohol Treatment Fund in Wales.

I continue this series of blog posts by describing what happened, and what I learnt, after I first visited the treatment agency BAC O’Connor in 2004. Here is the start of a new story, one where I saw recovery literally oozing out of the walls of a building.

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Bill White’s Norman E. Zinberg Memorial Lecture, 2012

Researcher, historian, practitioner and recovery advocate William (Bill) L White has been the most prolific writer in the addiction recovery field. Bill’s fascinating book Slaying the Dragon: The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America is a classic. You can see the Table of Contents here.

As many can testify, Bill is an amazing public speaker. Here is the Norman E. Zinberg Memorial Lecture, Experiencing Recovery, he gave at the Harvard Addiction Conference in 2012. Bill’s lecture is on YouTube, divided into ten parts:

Part 1: Early History of Recovery in the U.S.

Bill describes just how far back recovery goes historically in the US—to Native American Indians in the 1730s! (13’36”)

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‘A Day With Dave’ by Annalie Clark

In my last post, I talked about Dave Watkins and his past role at the treatment agency West Glamorgan Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (WGCADA) in Swansea. Here’s an article that my oldest daughter Annalie wrote in 2005, after spending a day with Dave Watkins. Annalie had just finished her first year of medical training at the University of Edinburgh. She is now a psychiatrist.

What is striking about this article is that Dave’s role resembles what I envisage a recovery support worker (or recovery coach) would be doing today. Annalie highlights Dave’s extensive contacts within, and knowledge of, the local community, which helps the lives of the people with whom he works. In the video below, you can see one of the magic tricks that Dave used to engage the people with whom he was working.

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Learning About Addiction Treatment, Part 1

In my last blog posts, I described how after nearly 25 years as a neuroscientist I decided to close my research laboratory in the Department of Psychology at Swansea University at the start of the new millennium. I wanted to learn more about the nature of addiction and how people overcame their substance use problem.

I spent a good deal of time at a treatment agency in Swansea, talking with both practitioners and people who attended the agency for help with their problem. In addition, I was travelling around Wales visiting treatment agencies, in my capacity as lead on a two-year national evaluation of projects supported by the Drug and Alcohol Treatment Fund. This fund was created by the National Assembly for Wales, or Senedd Cymru (Welsh Parliament) as it is now known.

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