About the Project

Recovery Voices, developed by David Clark and Wulf Livingston, captures conversations about what works in supporting recovery from addiction, and in the development of peer-led recovery communities, from a range of individuals with lived experience, as well as friends of recovery.

We highlight common messages and learnings that come from these conversations, providing a resource for people working with, and supporting, recovery and recovery communities.

We celebrate the lives and successes of recovering people and recovery communities, and in doing so enhance the visibility of recovery and highlight what can be achieved.

We encourage the development of new peer-led recovery communities and their interaction with other initiatives.

Blogs


13th June 2024

The Four Stages of Recovery: Mark Ragins

To move forward, people need to have a sense of their own capability and their own power. Their hope needs to be focused on things they can do for themselves rather than on new cures or fixes that someone else will discover or give them. To be empowered, they need...
12th June 2024

On Defining Recovery: Tim Leighton

Tim emphasises that Phil Valentine’s statement ‘You are in recovery if you say you are’ seems to him profound. The statement has been criticised by many people—can someone who is absolutely pissed out of their head and shooting up smack say ‘I’m in recovery’? That’s surely not what Phil means, thinks Tim. Recovery is very personal...
11th June 2024

My Early Recovery: Simon Jenkins

The results of that first meeting, and the effect on my life, were immense. I’m certain that there is a small element of hope—or faith or some kind of spiritual flame—that burns inside us all. I believe it’s never completely extinguished, but can become so dim that it’s almost invisible to us. It was rather like that flame was fanned...

People


15th March 2024

Tim Leighton

Tim is someone I have always admired ever since first encountering him in the stimulating environment of New Directions. In this interview, Tim shares with us his own journey into drug use, counselling, education and academia.  At its heart, however, this is very much a conversation about recovery.
22nd September 2023

Marcus Fair

Marcus Fair, Founder of Eternal Media, describes his descent into an addiction to heroin and crack cocaine that lasted 25 years. His last visit to prison saved his life and helped him conceive the idea of Eternal Media, based on the 'Now What?, which makes high impact documentary films and is an inspiring recovery...
15th September 2023

Dr. David McCartney

Dr. David McCartney, Founder of Lothians and Edinburgh Abstinence Programme (LEAP), talks about the development of his drinking problem whilst working as a GP in an inner-city practice in Scotland. He describes an unsuccessful attempt at sobriety, which involved a medical approach focused on prescribing. In crisis, he...

A RECOVERY COMMUNITY PROVIDES:

Hope
Understanding
A sense of belonging
Acceptance and support
Engagement in meaningful activities
Opportunity to give back to others

A RECOVERING PERSON:

Gains a stronger motivation to change
Possesses an enhanced self-esteem
Becomes an empowered citizen
Overcomes stigma (shame)
Finds a sense of purpose
Acquires a new identity

Communities


10th August 2023

Eternal Media

Eternal Media is a media production social enterprise and charity, located in Wrexham, that makes high impact documentary films. Their professional, award-winning producers empower and mentor volunteer film crews, which comprise people who are rebuilding their lives and are recovering from addiction and/or an involvement in...
10th August 2023

North Wales Recovery Communities

North Wales Recovery Communities (NWRC) comprises a number of communities, including a residential rehab at Penrhyn House, Growing for Change, with its gardens and allotments, and Bwyd Da Bangor (Good Food Bangor), a community cafe/restaurant that provides the best food on the High Street. Penrhyn House offers space for various...
10th August 2023

Towards Recovery

Towards Recovery offers a Recovery Cafe in Henley-on-Thames, as well as an online Recovery Cafe, where people recovering from addiction, can get support and encouragement. It aims to help people connect with others, re-connect with themselves and the world around them, and make sustainable changes to create a life of...

Stories


7th November 2023

Inspired by Natalie’s Story: David Clark

‘There were about fifteen people in my first group session, one of whom was an ex-heroin user who had been clean for about 16 years. She came over to talk to me and I was in awe. She had done exactly what I was doing and she had gotten through it. From that moment on, I didn’t feel so alone. She had done exactly what I was doing...'
21st September 2023

Drug Addict to Filmmaker: Marcus Fair

On arriving at the prison, Marcus was put in a hospital bed. He was so relieved to be there. One of the prison officers had heard about some of Marcus’s work at TAPE and got him a job doing the prison radio. Marcus loved it. He then did some filming and editing for the prison officer. He was now having the time of his life in prison.
12th October 2023

Practices in 12-Step Recovery: Wendy Dossett

How can there be such an atmosphere of non-judgement when you have hard core language like ‘moral inventory’? Wendy believes that part of the reason for this is that in mutual aid recovery communities no one is better than anyone else. ‘Everyone has done the same shit.’

Themes


25th March 2024

Discovering Bill White: Tim Leighton

Here is a short Theme clip taken from Tim's interview with Wulf Livingston. Tim describes his discovery of Bill White as an ‘Aladdin’s Cave moment’. He started reading Bill’s writings in the early 2000s, and views him as writing so sensitively and wisely ‘about virtually everything’ relating to recovery, treatment and addiction.
26th October 2023

Descent Into Heroin Addiction

Marcus Fair describes having a disease of obsession—an obsession for certain things, be it food, chocolate or computer games—from the time of his youth. ’Whatever I enjoyed, I kicked the arse out of, until it kicked the arse out of me.’ Marcus went through a progression of substances from alcohol, to gas and solvents, cannabis...
12th September 2023

Nature of Recovery, Part 1

Huseyin Djemil says, in relation to something written in Andy Partington's book Hope in Addiction: ‘The real deal in recovery is being bitten by the spider, is having that internal transformation somehow, that makes you look at everything differently. And it changes you.’ Can you can guess who provides the tools, metaphorically speaking?

Extras


18th September 2023

Relationships, Connection and Healing from Trauma: Bruce Perry

'... recovery from trauma and neglect is also all about relationships—rebuilding trust, regaining confidence, returning to a sense of security and reconnecting to love… healing and recovery are impossible—even with the best medications and therapy in the world—without lasting...'
12th September 2023

‘We Shall Remain’: The StyleHorse Collective

'WE SHALL REMAIN was created to address the effects of historical trauma in our tribal communities. Many times, these untended wounds are at the core of much of the self-inflicted pain experienced in Native America. Much like fire, this pain can either be devastatingly destructive or wisely harnessed harnessed to become fuel that...'
16th September 2023

Recovery, Reintegration, and Anti-Discrimination: Julian Buchanan

The paper highlights ‘the debilitating nature of marginalisation and social exclusion that many long term problem drug users have experienced. It concludes by suggesting a new social model to understand and conceptualise the process of recovery from drug...

About us


Testimonials


  • David’s work across many decades has laid the groundwork for words and practices that today trip off the tongue, such as ‘recovery movement’ and ‘cultural trauma’. The Recovery Voices website brings his insights from the field into one home. It also invites us to the meal table within that house. He and his collaborator Wulf Livingston rightly reserve a special seat for the people and communities whose stories we must hear into full expression to move towards genuine reconciliation. Thank you, David, for your continued groundbreaking work and the wholehearted way you convene us into the heartland of an alternative future. Cormac Russell, Author of Rekindling Democracy and Co-author of The Connected Community.

  • I’m glad that this new website has been launched—it’ll help people share their experience of what it means to be human and help remind them of the simplicity of the recovery journey to wholeness. Congratulations to my friends David, Wulf, and colleagues—their dedication to helping others navigate their humanness is something I’ve long admired. Wynford Ellis Owen, Former CEO at Living Room Cardiff, Wales
  • Congratulations on the new website! Bill White (Addiction Recovery Advocate, Historian and Researcher)
  • The new resource Recovery Voices digs into the lives and experiences of people who, in recovery themselves, spend time with others seeking, or in, recovery from addictions. In identifying themes, it draws out the rich diversity of experiences, showing how there is no single 'grand narrative' of recovery, no single 'recipe', just lots of people living out their own authentic lives in ways that they greatly prefer. The site represents a tonne of voluntary work from David Clark in Australia and Wulf Livingston in Wales. Their collaboration in itself shows how recovery seeds in, and spreads from, the spaces between people in relationships. Professor Wendy Dossett, University of Chester, England
  • I’ve been learning from David’s websites for over 20 years now, and his new Recovery Voices initiative with Wulf Livingston has added a new dimension to my experiences. I love the films and through them I am ‘meeting’ new people, discovering exciting recovery community initiatives, and learning even more about recovery and related matters. It’s a little university… and it’s only just begun! Michael Scott, Australia (45 years in recovery from alcohol addiction, 40 years as a drug and alcohol treatment practitioner)