Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Gosh, it’s been a funny old day

Felt really burnt out this morning. Dazed when I woke up, and never really got going. But lots happened during the day.

Probably a combination of a number of factors have contributed to my mental and physical state: recovering from being a single dad with three kiddies for a week; too much work to catch up with; long-term worrying about funding; having to face a couple of days doing admin (which I hate) and probably some dehydration. Potent mix!

Soon stopped feeling sorry for myself when I read ‘In The Flesh’ from the Druglink Blog, which portrayed a day in the life of a treatment agency worker. You must read this well-written article. It reminded me yet again how tough it is in the front lines of this field. And how divorced the ‘top’ is from the ‘bottom’. More of that in a later Blog, when I return to the issue of stigmatisation.

The article charged me up and made me feel good about what I am trying to do. At the same time, it made me reflect on the size of the mountain we’re trying to climb.

After an admin session, I had a good chat with Mike Ashton, a fellow information junkie. I thoroughly enjoy my chats with Mike as he is so knowledgeable. I love bashing issues through with him – he is very perceptive and his heart is in the right place (something which I have found to be essential in this field if you’re going to relate to me).

I then had the most invigorating discussion with Mark Gilman of the NTA who described various recovery related projects in the North West of England.  In fact, he really WOW-ed me and I now cannot wait to meet him in a couple of weeks time. Yesterday, Dr Dave McCartney in Edinburgh told me he thought there was definitely something in the air re: recovery. Today, it was further confirmed to me.

Finished on phone and, 'ping', an email from Lucie arrived - 'had a wicked morning catching up with volunteers', she said before describing events. Sounded fantastic, this small and growing group getting really excited about their Cardiff recovery community and future community pages. 

Brian looked at the questions we had given him to facilitate his community page and thought about the five words 'that best describe you'. He started and ... wrote an 11 page personal story, which really touched Lucie with what he had been through. How could any decent person stigmatise Brian because he used heroin to help him deal with problems that would have broken the vast majority of people?

Just as I started writing this Blog, Shari Allwood from SMART Recovery in the States popped back into my life via e-mail. Shari and I met when I attended a SMART conference a couple of years ago but we had lost touch recently. Shari had seen the new Blog and just wanted to congratulate me – which meant a lot. And now Chris Ford has popped up to say thanks for the comments I made about her latest article in DDN – which again you must read. Her article made me stop and think again about stigma and prejudice.

You know, there’s some really great people out there doing some really wonderful work. We’ve got to shout loud about it, because it’s ultimately going to help more people overcome their problems. And it’s going to give recognition to those wonderful people who are making the difference. And help fight prejudice and stigmatisation.

For now though, I’m totally bushed (if this Blog is unclear, you know why) – but contented. I might treat myself to an Indian takeaway. I live on a farm, across the road from a high quality India restaurant – believe it or not. A few of you will know it as you’ve eaten there!


Anonymous said...

In my experience, any conversation with Mark Gilman leaves me wowed and, atypically, optimistic about the development of drug treatment in the UK.
He's better than prozac and should be available free on the NHS, which, in a way, he is.

Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure of booking him for a Grimsby drug conference several years ago, and his wit and oratory were a real tonic, laced with a sardonic mancunian tone.
He's agreat guy