Thursday, 3 July 2008

The Coming Revolution: But First, Holiday Time for DC

'Recovery is the experience (a process and a sustained status) through which individuals, families, and communities impacted by severe alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems utilize internal and external resources to voluntarily resolve these problems, heal the wounds inflicted by AOD-related problems, actively manage their continued vulnerability to such problems, and develop a healthy, productive, and meaningful life.' William L White, 'Addiction recovery: Its definition and conceptual boundaries' in Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 33: 229-241, 2007.

It has been an interesting, but sometimes frustrating, past few years working in this field. It has been rewarding, but sometimes annoying. Pleasurable, but often tiring. Challenging, no doubt.
There needs to be a revolution in the drug and alcohol treatment field, in the UK and further afield. A revolution that will markedly increase the number of people who find their path to recovery. One that will help professionals, recovering addicts, family members and many others become much better at helping others find recovery from addiction. 
I know that Wired In can help instigate the major changes in the field that will see so many more people find their path to recovery. We can facilitate that revolution and maintain its momentum in a wide variety of ways.
However, I also know that what we are trying to do is a massive challenge, particularly as Wired In is a small team with minimal funding. I know that it will draw upon much of my and other peoples' energies to create and maintain the necessary changes. We need people to join up and help us - which is already occurring - and we must attract significant funding.
I know that the vision my colleagues and I have is attainable. The Recovery Movement will impact significantly. It will gain momentum, reach a tipping point and flourish in our communities. However, I also know that it will be a long and often hard journey, with many pitfalls ahead in the coming years. Have no illusions, the changes needed in society will take a long time to achieve - so we need to start now! 
One of the significant obstacles to be faced is summed up by William L White: "... the greatest obstacle may well turn out to be the tendency for treatment professionals to declare they are already "recovery-oriented" or to mask treatment as usual behind a new recovery-focused rhetoric.' This is already happening in the UK. So it will be important to continually promote the true recovery cause. 
If you are committed to seeing the changes I have been proposing over the past two months in my Blog, please contact us at If you want to help in any way, let us know. Remember, we are trying to develop an initial network of people who are committed to the recovery agenda. And we want to hear your recovery stories.
If you want to read more about recovery from addiction, then please take a look at my Background Briefings from Drink and Drugs News, beginning with the 'Helping People Towards Recovery' article and continuing through the articles above on this Blog. Also look at the extensive literature of William L White.  
I'm on holiday in Perth, West Australia, my old home town. It has been so good to renew old acquaintances, relationships - 40 years on from when I left as a youngster. And now I am building new friendships, relationships and networks ... that will also facilitate the Wired In agenda, to help people overcome substance use problems.
But for now, I am focusing on my holiday within a holiday, starting tomorrow. I am flying to Broome, in the North West of Australia. Sun, sea, rest and peace.
So I am handing the Blog over to Lucie and Kevin...
Byeee and see you soon. David.


Pavel Nepustil said...

Hi David and Lucie and Kev,

I have just finished my holiday in Mexico, have been talking there about possible changes in the field with students, teachers and guests of Kanankil Institute in Merida - they will be opening new Masters in "Addictions" in September - and they want to capture the issue from postmodern perspective which is the leading concept in Kanankil... I have pretty good feeling about them and whole Mexico was fine and fun... SO I think that what you are trying to do will have a worldwide support - and I am glad that you do not want to create any hierarchical organisation... I think that we need global social movement that will have difuse organisation, many intertwined levels and will come together in particular actions or activities! David, have good time in Australia. I met two wonderful people from Australia in Mexico, it must be amazing country!

Anonymous said...

You are right about the rhetoric coming out of treatment professionals on recovery. Some of it is welcome, but in my area there are a series of alarming (sometimes in my more positive moments I see them as amusing) things happening. People who have been staunch harm reductionists and critical of drug-free recovery are now presenting at seminars and conferences on 'Recovery', or rather their version of it. Essentially this translates as recovery is continuing to work with clients in the way we have been doing for years.

Thus, someone on MMT who is not moving on in life and has barely a spark of fulfilled potential is designated 'in recovery'. This is not about equality or preventing those on methadone from being stigmatised. This is about a self-given mandate to carry on with what the treatment field has been doing for years, with no changes and calling it 'recovery'.

The NTA's most recent survey on User Satisfaction showed that the majority of people in treatment want to be drug free. It then goes on in a masterful piece of twisted interpretation to rationalise this away by saying, essentially, 'but that's not really what they want after all'.

If we keep doing what we're doing we'll keep getting what we've got! You are right to say we need a revolution. Bring it on.

Have a great trip.

tim1leg said...

Peapod I have started to see those faces at conferences too, how easy it is to swing when you want to advance your career. Worrying and sickening! Yes the spin from the NTA is a my 5 year old son would say "DISPICABILLL"! lol.
Viva La Revolucion!

Mark Gilman said...

I hope this is not happening in the North West of England?