I first met my Recovery Voices colleague Wulf Livingston in 2000 when Becky Hancock and I were conducting the Drug and Alcohol Treatment Fund (DATF) evaluation in Wales. The local evaluator for North Wales, Anni Stonebridge, used to organise our meetings when we visited the region, and always arranged for us to meet Wulf, as we got on so well and we were learning so much from him.
Wulf was Community Services Manager for the treatment service CAIS at the time. I was always impressed that he used go out and meet service users in their homes or other places of their choice, rather than have them come to visit in the formal surrounds of the treatment service, which was the general practice in the field.
Here is how Wulf openly describes his interactions with drugs and alcohol in his earlier days.
From the age of 14 or 15, Wulf drifted into what turned out to be about 14 years of what he describes as ‘exceptional hedonistic drug and alcohol use’. Drugs were very much part of him being into a heavy metal and rock music scene. He used a variety of different drugs and an inordinate amount of alcohol.Eventually, ‘other things just kick in and calm that down’. Wulf got married, became a parent, and moved house. He hadn’t experienced trauma in his life. He eventually stopped using all illegal drugs when he became a qualified social worker. He then had to get rid of nicotine, ‘as a fit fell runner’. Alcohol was Wulf’s drug of choice, and it was the substance with which he had the biggest problems. However, he ‘managed to get through that’.