Wulf Livingston has spent the last eight years working alongside James Deakin, Founder of North Wales Recovery Communities (NWRC), and his colleagues. This multi-faceted interaction has given Wulf insights how a particular type of successful recovery community can be developed and maintained. There is much that other communities can learn from NWRC.
James Deakin started to set up challenges for NWRC members, such as a 100-mile in a week challenge, in order to make recovery visible in recovery month, and to challenge the stigmatisation of people who are addicted, or have been addicted, to drugs and alcohol. One year, he got 12 people into a mini-bus and they walked Hadrian’s Wall in a week. [Some of these NWRC week-long challenges have been filmed by Eternal Media – DC]
Wulf provides an example of the ‘permeability’ of NWRC in that community members participate in a local Park Run once a week, running in their recovery t-shirts.
He goes on to talk about being involved with NWRC in taking eight members on a trek that involved climbing the 15 peaks in Snowdonia that are over 3,000 feet—27 hours of non-stop walking including two nights on the mountain!
In the final clip, Wulf points out that at NWRC, and other recovery communities like LEAP (Lothians and Edinburgh Abstinence Recovery Programme) and the Basement Recovery Project in Halifax, there is an element of taking risks. ‘At its most simplistic level, growth doesn’t come without risk-taking.’ Wulf and David agree that the system stifles risk, and government agencies don’t take risks.