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.

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‘What Does an 800 lb Gorilla in the Room Say at an ADHD Conference? The Truth…’ by Michael Corrigan

mcorriganHere is an excellent blog from Michael Corrigan on the Mad in America website from 2014. Michael shows one thing we can do to counter drug companies (and their allies) efforts to drug our children with addictive drugs used for ADHD.

‘This blog is a little different than my normal. I want to tell you about an inspiring ADHD conference I took part in last week and a band of 800 lb. gorillas who gently shared the obvious with adults just wanting the facts when it comes to ADHD.

First, if you didn’t know, October was ADHD awareness month. Yes, according to, a website sponsored by Shire Pharmaceuticals (the philanthropic makers of Adderall and Vyvanse) and supported by a large collection of non-profit groups (e.g., CHADD) conveniently supported by the profits of many other ADHD-focused pharmaceutical companies, October was the month to celebrate awareness of ADHD. October was the month to learn more about the ADHD stimulant drugs so often prescribed.

Move along folks… nothing to see…no conflict of interest here.

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Stuart Honor Talking at Recovery AM Conference

Start time of Stuart’s excellent talk (40 mins 20 secs)

In my humble opinion, Stuart Honor is one of the very special people in the UK addiction recovery field. Stuart has been doing research on recovery in communities for about a decade and has accumulated more data than anyone else in the UK. Stuart’s research addresses key recovery-related issues and he is never afraid to speak as he sees it… and challenge the system.

I remember years ago when Stuart first contacted me and invited me up to see The Breakfast Club he had set up in Halifax. I was really impressed by what I saw and by what Stuart was trying to develop – a genuine recovery community. You now know this place as The Basement Recovery Project, the CEO of whom is Michelle Foster. Stuart still plays a role.

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‘TLC, The Ley Community’ by Wendy Dawson

“We’re not armchair analysts, we’re not psychiatrists, we’re not psychologists, we’re human beings in recovery helping people in recovery. We enable you to have the ability to talk through whatever issue it is, we never judge. We are not interested in who you were, we’re interested in who you’re going to be. We don’t care if you’re the prime minister or the road sweeper. At the end of the day you’re a person in  recovery and we’ll support you.”

I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Ley Community, so it was good to hear about it from the CEO Wendy Dawson. Wendy was talking at the Towards Recovery conference held in Henley late last year. 

Silent recovery boards – Introduction, ‘Towards Recovery’ Conference

Last month, I showed a film clip of Mark Gilman talking at the ‘Towards Recovery’ conference. We’ll have more from this conference, but for now I show the opening:

‘Silent recovery boards – conference delegates simply showing “where they were” and “where they are now”. A powerful way to start the day. Towards Recovery Conference, 23 Nov 2013, held in Henley, UK.

‘Talking to the Dalai Lama about addiction’ by Marc Lewis

rsz_dalai_lamaCan you imagine it, talking to the Dalai Lama about addiction? Well, it happened to some lucky people in the field recently, including Marc Lewis. I suggest that you read Marc’s blog directly, since you can see some photos and comments.

‘I got back yesterday around noon. What a relief it was to be home! India is overwhelming in so many ways, with poverty and raw need topping the list. To get back to this calm, orderly place was a reprieve and a pleasure, tinged with guilt at leaving all that suffering behind.

For anyone just tuning in now, I was at a week-long “dialogue” with the Dalai Lama on the theme of “Desire, craving, and addiction.” I was one of eight presenters, each of whom gave a talk to His Holiness (as he is called) and to the surrounding experts, monks, movie stars and what have you. All the talks are posted here. My talk is here. I want to tell you about two of the talks I found most fascinating and most relevant for people struggling with addiction.

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“Creating Connections through Dialogue” conference

‘We live in an increasingly interdependent and interconnected world. The Creating Connections conference was an opportunity to explore various aspects of connectedness and the implications for recovery.

Health and mental health providers, people with the lived experience of mental health challenges and recovery, family members and others were invited to participate in workshops and joined in facilitated dialogue sessions to connect and learn from one another to become more effective in our lives and in our work.’

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