Carrying the Message: James Deakin

In Monday’s blog post, I described how James Deakin, Founder of North Wales Recovery Communities (NWRC), was incredibly intimidated by academics at one time. He got over that and today he is working with a number of us academics—in my case, a former academic.

James believes that both people with lived experience, and academics, have a role to play in the recovery field. For individuals on their recovery journey, storytelling is more relevant, but academic research is needed to influence funders and drive policy change.

James says that the upside of people with lived experience is that they are able to support people much more effectively, compassionately, and in a quicker manner. The downside of it is that ‘we’re also an ex-bunch of addicts and alcoholics, and it’s really easy to discount what we say, and what we think, and what we stand for, and what we advocate.’

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There’s a Place for Me: James Deakin

Last week, I posted the Recovery Voices Teaser I edited for James Deakin, Founder of North Wales Recovery Communities (NWRC) which is located in Bangor, North Wales. This film quickly became the most viewed Recovery Voices film clip. The Teaser was created from an interview that James had with his good friend Wulf Livingston, who is my co-founder of the Recovery Voices initiative.

I was really excited to recently interview James, as part of a follow-up series to Wulf’s interview. I have now edited eight films from that first Zoom interview, summaries and links of which you can find here.

I decided to show this particular clip first, in which James describes how he was incredibly intimidated by academics initially. However, he later learnt that there was no need to be intimidated—he could play an important role in the addiction recovery field. And so he has! Mark Gilman played an important role here. How many times have I heard this of Mark? He has inspired many!

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‘From the Rooms to the Streets’ by Bill White

Unknown-1‘Until recently, recovery from addiction was shrouded in public secrecy in the United States and in most other countries. Addiction has long been viewed as a personally and culturally intractable problem, and pessimism has reigned about the prospects of long-term addiction recovery.

These perceptions have been fed by the unrelenting public visibility of addiction-related problems, but the comparable invisibility of stable, long-term addiction recovery.

Historically, most people in recovery either completely eschewed recovery status (refused the addiction and recovery labels and culturally “passed”) or regularly cloistered themselves in “the rooms” of recovery mutual aid meetings before repeatedly and invisibly re-entering their civilian roles without acknowledgement of their recovery status.

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