All Posts

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...
10th June 2024

Developing and Managing Services: Rhoda Emlyn Jones

Rhoda’s view on personal responsibility is that you start with the most meaningful things for people—help them understand and articulate their own hopes for the future. Together, unpick the things that are going to help get them to a positive outcome. The personal responsibility...
6th June 2024

Crumbs Off the Table: Wulf Livingston

It felt highly excluding. It was London, medical problem, and deficit-based eccentric exploration, with a tokenism towards Wales and then Cardiff tokenism towards the north, and a non-existent tokenism towards the Lived Experience Voice. I can only imagine the same story happens in numerous other parts of the alcohol and...
5th June 2024

Path to a Drinking Problem: Gary Rutherford

Gary had various issues when he was younger, namely a lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem, and he experienced a great deal of anxiety. He was bullied at school. He used various substances to manage these problems and his social landscape, and to feel accepted.
4th June 2024

Treatment and Recovery

James Deakin and Wulf agree that treatment services should focus on what they do best, which is helping people get off drugs and/or alcohol, but they should then pass their clients on to people in recovery who help them stay off. James emphasises that people who work in the medical model still don’t understand that.
3rd June 2024

Most Visited Blog Posts: May & April

I got a really good feeling meeting all the [ARC Fitness] team members—they were incredibly passionate about what they do. They say that recovery is contagious, and I have no doubts that there is a massive recovery contagion in the ARC gym and offices. You could feel the healing ‘atmosphere’. It was really good chatting with...
29th May 2024

Snowdonia Recovery Shares

I really felt the power of community during the walk. Not just the making of friendships, and the conversation and sharing of past experiences, but the sharing of the stunning views in Snowdonia.... I recorded my new friends talking about how they felt about being on the walk and how it it impacted on their recovery and life...
28th May 2024

Higher Power & Powerlessness: Wendy Dossett

'I think if you were to try and understand 12-step culture just by looking at what was written in the 1930s, you’re not going to really understand what 12-step culture is. You need contemporary ethnographic data to understand how people take up ideas, reject ideas...'
27th May 2024

Back Home & Thank You

My visits to North Wales Recovery Communities (NWRC) in Bangor, Eternal Media in Wrexham, BAC O'Connor in Burton-on-Trent, and ARC Fitness in Derry/Londonderry were each very special. The work going on in each of these peer-led recovery communities is amazing and so inspirational! The people I met were fantastic.
21st May 2024

Becky, Angie & Jeff

It was so good to see Angie and Becky. We reminisced about old friends such as Keith Morgan, Dave Watkins, Lawrence Mylan (RIP), Fred Touhy (RIP), Esther Mead, and WGCADA's CEO at the time, Norman Preddy.  I learnt so much about addiction and recovery whilst interacting with the WGCADA team and the people who accessed...
18th May 2024

Visiting ARC Fitness Recovery Community, Part 2

On the morning of Wednesday, 8 May, I presented two talks to an audience of around 30 people, which included the ARC Fitness team and some of the people attending their organisation's activities, as well as invited guests from the North-West of Ireland who were working in...
15th May 2024

Visiting ARC Fitness Recovery Community, Part 1

I've detailed the roles and qualifications of the ARC team to give you a feel for the variety of skills on tap for people who access services provided by the organisation. I got a really good feel meeting all the team members—they were incredibly passionate about what they do....
14th May 2024

Visiting BAC O’Connor

I was thrilled to see and hear how well BAC O'Connor was doing at the moment. There is something so special in this recovery community. I felt it all those years ago, and I felt it again during this visit. The passion, the enthusiasm, and the caring about people on their recovery journey. The hope and sense of belonging was palpable.