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


12th April 2024

Catching Up With Wendy Dossett

'Wendy has so much to offer to, and insight on, the process of recovery. She is honest and thoughtful in reflections on her own recovery journey. Rich and insightful in her understanding of the 12-Step Fellowship and particularly the role that spirituality plays in recovery. Finally, Wendy has an abundance of wisdom...' Wulf
11th April 2024

Pain Into Power: Gary Rutherford’s Pain

Gary’s drinking spiralled out of control, so by the age of 30 he had a failed marriage, had lost jobs, and accumulated criminal convictions. He had broken his back and lost parts of his hand in various alcohol-related accidents. He had experienced a number of hospitalisations and clinical detoxes and been in various residential rehabilitation...
10th April 2024

Michael Scott’s 46th Recovery Birthday

‘… Recovering people need empathy and TLC (Tender Loving Care). Rapport with the patient is key to helping them recover. In my opinion, good rapport should be a given working in this field—it is what I experienced in rehab and what helped me get better, and it is what I aim for with my clients. I chat with them about...

People


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 community.
20th September 2023

Wulf Livingston, Part 2

Wulf Livingston initially describes the national addiction recovery movement which grew up in the UK between 2008-12, and then how this initiative faded at a national level over later years. What we see today in terms of recovery is very different to what occurred at this earlier time. Wulf goes on to talk about North Wales Recovery...
21st September 2023

James Deakin, Part 3

James Deakin covers a range of topics relating to the functioning of North Wales Recovery Communities (NWRC). These topics included NWRC trying to create as many recovery pathways as possible, involving various mutual aid groups holding meetings at NWRC's Penrhyn House; the power of 'the group' in helping individuals...

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

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...
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...

Stories


5th April 2024

My Drinking Problem: Gary Rutherford

Gary didn't suffer any major trauma growing up. He just came from Northern Ireland: ‘… we have a lot of anxiety and trauma in our society. I was afraid of everything, and I just found something that worked for me at that age. But the problem for me is that it was that immediate connection with alcohol was so destructive… it was so passionate. And I chased it, and I looked after it...'
3rd November 2023

Prison Detox Unit: Huseyin Djemil

When he worked as Drug Strategy Co-ordinator for the seven London Prisons, Huseyin was asked to review the detox unit at Wormwood Scrubs prison. He found awful conditions in the unit and made a number of recommendations for improvement which were taken up by the prison. Huseyin describes the resulting 55-bed...
14th September 2023

A Family Trauma: Huseyin Djemil

Huseyin’s earliest memory, from when he was three or four years old, was being terrified whilst he stood in his pyjamas in a hallway with lots of commotion going on around him. Someone picks him up and whisks him away. Later, he learns that his father had just killed someone in their house. As he grows up, he hears stories of that day...

Themes


21st September 2023

Shame

Shame often plays an important role when a person is developing and/or has developed a drinking problem. In the first clip here, David McCartney describes how shame was part of a major epiphany in his life. He was asked by a woman if he would see her brother and talk about his drinking problem. On the way home after seeing her...
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...
18th September 2023

12-Step Fellowship, Part 1

Wendy Dossett has been researching the 12-Step Fellowship for a number of years. She points out that those groups that use the 12-step approach start with the concept of powerlessness, and argue that if the experience of the substance use or the behaviour is beyond a person’s willpower, then there has to be some...

Extras


13th September 2023

The Healing Power of Country

I began to realise the healing power of Country, something that I’ve known about, but not experienced in this way. My experiences made me reflect on how Aboriginal people are connected to their Country and how they treat it with the utmost respect. They know that this connection is central to their wellbeing and facilitates...
21st September 2023

Senior Australian of the Year 2021: Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann

‘Miriam Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann (AO) is an Aboriginal Elder from Nauiyu (Daly River), where she served for many years as the principal of the local Catholic primary school. She is a renowned artist, writer, activist and public speaker, a remarkable spirit-filled woman known for her reflections on Dadirri (inner deep listening and quiet...
21st September 2023

Michael’s Recovery Story: ‘The Power of Empathy and Compassion’

I needed to interact with other people and I believe that this is a key element of recovery. Connecting with people and engaging in meaningful activities, interacting with others and communicating. I’d love to see more recovery-related activities in my hometown...

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)