Gifts of Knowledge That Recovering People Can Bestow: Bill White

‘Recovery Rising is the professional memoirs of William (Bill) L White who, over the span of five decades, evolved through several diverse roles to emerge as the addiction fields preeminent historian and one of its most visionary voices and prolific writers.’

The contains so many pearls of wisdom, and is an essential read for anyone interested in addiction recovery. Here are a few pearls, including a verylarge one. [NB. I have broken up Bill’s longest paragraph to make it easier to read online.]

‘The most obvious gifts of knowledge that recovering people can bestow on our communities are our stories—stories that unveil the experience of addiction, stories that communicate the reality and hope of full recovery, and stories detailing how such recovery can be initiated and sustained. Five ideas about recovery need to be inculcated within communities across America.

  1. Addiction recovery is a reality—it is everywhere.
  2. There are many paths to recovery.
  3. Recovery flourishes in supportive communities.
  4. Recovery is a voluntary process.
  5. Recovering and recovered people are part of the solution; recovery gives back what addiction has taken.

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On Being ‘Ballsy’: James Deakin

I’ve been busy recently editing film from the second interview I had with James Deakin, Founder of North Wales Recovery Communities (NWRC) in Bangor. I’m so impressed by what is happening at NWRC.

Whilst editing, I remembered I wanted to post a blog on James’s film where he discusses being ‘ballsy’. In my humble opinion, you need a chunk of ‘ballsiness’ to get some things done in the recovery field and climb over the barriers that the system sometimes puts in the way.

James is often accused of being an ‘ego-merchant’. He think there’s a fine line between ‘being ego’ and ‘being ballsy’. He believe he is the latter. He says to his community members, ‘I’m not afraid to fail. I’m afraid of not trying.’ David points out that we need people who are ‘ballsy’ in the recovery field.

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Ten Year Anniversary of Recovery Stories

Ten years ago today I launched these words into the virtual ether:

‘I’d like to welcome you to Recovery Stories, a new website that is focused on helping individuals and families recover from serious problems caused by drug and alcohol use.

We’ll not just be trying to help people directly affected by drug and alcohol addiction, but also help people whose lives have been indirectly affected by the substance use problems of a loved one. Family members and friends also need to find recovery.

One important feature of this website is that it will carry the ‘voice’ of recovering people. Solutions to serious substance use problems are manifested in the lives of millions of people who are in long-term recovery. These lived solutions can provide important insights into principles and practices that underlie recovery from addiction.

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Taking a Break

I’ve been absolutely thrilled this week to have my two boys Ben and Sam visiting us from the UK. Sam has not been here for nine years and Ben for seven years. I’ve been seeing them and their two sisters Natasha and Annalie in the UK over the past years, other than during Covid. It’s so great spending time with my boys here. I’ve really missed them.

I’ve decided to take some time off from regularly posting on my blog for a few weeks so that I can have a bit more of a break. I’ll still be working behind the scenes on content for the new revised version of the website which will probably come out in a few months. This includes the Recovery Voices project I have initiated with Wulf Livingston from North Wales.

You can see films of the first of our Recovery Voices guests, Huseyin Djemil, here. I’ll shortly be posting film content of an interview I did with David McCartney of LEAP (Lothians and Edinburgh Abstinence Project), which I will announce on my blog.

I was just looking through my blog posts and have realised there have been 92 posts since my last proper break in the second half of last year, and 248 when I restarted blogging on this website on 4 March 2021 after a six year break.

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Recovering People and Their Stories: ‘Journeys’ Podcast with David Clark and Huseyin Djemil (Part 9)

Huseyin Djemil from Henley-on-Thames in the UK runs the Towards Recovery community and website. He interviewed me back in April 2021 for his new Journeys Podcast series. I later edited the film into 12 clips, totalling more than 70 minutes, for Our Recovery Stories YouTube channel. I haven’t really promoted this material to date, but will start doing so much more when we launch a new revamped version of this website in the coming months. Above is the longest of these film clips, which focuses on addiction recovery stories and their importance.

Huseyin and David discuss people recovering from addiction, their journeys, and their stories. Recovering people are an asset. They have generally come through a great deal of adversity and have much to teach other people, not just those trying to overcome addiction. We need to be getting more recovering people together, and ensuring that their Stories are disseminated widely. Huseyin also talks about Towards Recovery, a community he first established in 2012. Our Recovery Stories. 21 June 2022. [11’35”]

2022 Recovery Stories Blog Posts, Part 2

I have recently uploaded a blog post which provides the titles of my blog posts this year, along with links to these posts. Here, I provide details of the remaining blog posts:

> The New ‘William White Papers’ Website

> The everyday lives of recovering drug users [Refers to excellent research by Joanne Neale and colleagues]

> Revised ‘Steps to Reintegration Model’ by Julian Buchanan

> Fighting Stigma and Discrimination When Recovering From Problem Drug Use

> ‘Addiction treatment mismatch: when what’s on offer isn’t always what’s wanted’ by David McCartney [From the Recovery Review blog]

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2022 Recovery Stories Blog Posts, Part 1

As the end of 2022 is approaching, I thought I’d provide the titles of, and links to, the 38 posts on my Recovery Stories blog from this year. The photograph alongside is of Rowdy Yates, who we lost in February this year. Rowdy was a true addiction recovery champion. In the photograph below, taken in Stirling on 25 March 2009 by Mark Gilman, I am with Rowdy. Here are the first 20 of my blog posts this year, the earliest in the year shown first:

> An Awesome Recovery Story to Start 2022 [From The Guardian]

> ‘How I Overcame my Heroin Addiction – and Started to Live’ by John Crace [From The Guardian]

> ‘I was a heroin addict and had given up on myself. Then suddenly, briefly, I felt a desire to live.’ by John Crace [From The Guardian]

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Visiting UK Recovery Friends: Part 4 (Ash Whitney)

After leaving Wynford Ellis Owen and his lovely wife Meira in Creigiau (South Wales), I headed to Cilfrew, located close to Neath, to visit my great friend Ash Whitney, of Wired Up Wales, and his parents. Ash and I have worked together on-and-off for over 20 years now, starting not long after I launched WIRED (Web-based Information REsource on Drugs), which later became known as Wired In.

At the beginning of the new millennium, I received a small level of funding from the Welsh Development Agency, which at the time was the economic development agency for Wales, to develop and maintain an online resource that would help people in Wales better understand the nature of drug and alcohol use problems and how they could be overcome. Use of illegal drugs, in particular heroin, and excessive drinking were major problems in parts of Wales, particularly in areas suffering economic and social problems such as in the Welsh valleys. These problems had increased as coal mines in the valleys closed. 

A technician in my university department, Neil Carter, suggested I approach a web-developer friend of his, Ash Whitney, to see if he would build me a website.

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Recovery Stories Website: Aims

It’s good to be back writing for my ‘Recovery Stories’ blog after such a long time away. I plan to post on the blog at least every weekday, as there is plenty that I want to cover. I’ve already loaded up over 40 blog posts ready to save me some time in the future. My old blog posts are still available.

You will see the website contains other sections: Stories, Articles, Film, Resources, Healing, Book and About. I’ll be adding to each of these sections, and hope over time to also build two educational sections focused on recovery and on the healing of intergenerational trauma.

One of my aims with Recovery Stories is to help create positive social change through activating and ‘arming’ people at a grassroots level. I am convinced that real positive social change comes from the ground up through people cultivating the grassroots—it doesn’t come from politicians.

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Website statistics

Northern lights 2As this year is close to ending, I thought I’d revisit our website statistics. The website has been running now for just over six months on the WordPress platform and our visitor numbers look good. 

There have been close to 340,000 visits to the site during the six months, which have resulted in almost one million page views and six million hits. Our unique visitor numbers are approaching 160,000. In December, we have been averaging 1,600 unique visitors a day.

The countries that provide the most visitors are the USA (39% approx), Australia (11%), China (10%), UK (5%), Canada, France, Ukraine, Germany, Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia.

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