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.

Read More ➔

‘Living Through Our Son’s Addiction and Death: Our Journey to Recovery’: Ian and Irene’s Story Update

In my last blog post, I described how I met Ian and Irene MacDonald at their home on the outskirts of Cheltenham during my last trip to the UK in September 2022.

Ian and Irene had lost their 27-year-old son Robin to an accidental heroin overdose in November 1997. In response to this loss, they set up CPSG (Carer and Parent Support Gloucestershire), a free and confidential service that was available to anyone concerned about another person’s substance use.

I posted Ian and Irene’s Recovery Story, Living Through Our Son’s Addiction and Death: Our Journey to Recovery, on this website in 2013. We updated this Story in 2021 for my eBook Our Recovery Stories: Journeys from Drug and Alcohol Addiction. Here is that update:

Read More ➔

Visiting UK Recovery Friends: Part 9 (Ian and Irene MacDonald)

After leaving Wulf and Melanie Livingstone’s house in North Wales, I headed to Ian and Irene MacDonald’s home in the outskirts of Cheltenham. I first met Ian Macdonald at the FDAP (Federation of Drug & Alcohol Professionals) Annual conference in 2007; we had previously corresponded about a few articles that I posted on our news portal Daily Dose. We hit it off immediately. Ian told me how he and Irene had he had lost their 27-year-old son Robin to an accidental heroin overdose in November 1997.

After a long period trying to get their lives back on track after Robin’s death, Ian and Irene realised that their lives would never be the same again and accepted that their lives would not be bad, just different. They then began to wonder if there was any possibility of something positive coming from Robin’s death.

They spoke to each other about this for a long time, until one night it occurred to them that what they could was to provide what they had wanted when they first discovered their son’s addiction to heroin—’quite simply, someone to talk to, understand what we were going through, be non-judgemental, have a knowledge of drugs and addiction, and be able to act as a signpost to further help.’

Read More ➔

People affected by a loved one’s addiction

Not enough attention has been focused on the difficulties experienced by loved ones and friends of people with a substance use problem. That’s wrong.

I’ve probably made the same mistake during my blogs this week. So here’s a film from David McCollom, a young man in recovery who is doing some great film work on recovery in the UK.