Thursday, 24 July 2008

Lifeline's Film Project

I spent all day yesterday catching up with Wired In things and planning for the future with Lucie, so there wasn’t a great chance for me to catch up with what has been happening in the wider field.

I did take the opportunity to look at the Lifeline Project film offering with Ian Wardle interviewing three professionals in the field - Dr David Best, Mike Ashton and Tim Leighton. I really enjoyed these film clips and I strongly recommend that you watch them. Well done, Ian, Maggie, and your interviewees! You certainly deserve to be the subject of my first post-Oz Blog!!

I was very interested in Ian’s selection of interviewees, because they are three of my favourite individuals in the field. They are leading the way in the quality of their research, thinking and writing – and they are not frightened to speak out and challenge others. This is so important in a field where there is so much spin, poor quality research, misleadings, amateurish efforts, poor level of understanding, top-down meddling, etc. 

By speaking out regularly, as they do, Ian’s three interviewees are helping protect the rights of people affected by substance use problems, helping ensure they get better treatment, and helping those practitioners who are trying to make a positive difference in the field.

Strangely, I have never met David Best, although this will soon change. I have been to so many places where people have said, ‘You and David Best must get together, you are so alike, in your passion, your caring and in what you are trying to do.’ I have to say I could see that passion full-on in the Lifeline film clips – and David also has a wicked gleam in his eyes. Well, David and have been doing a good bit of talking together recently and we will soon meet. We are also planning a research project with some other leading researchers, assuming we get the funding. Exciting times ahead!

The other two interviewees are the two most knowledgeable people I have met in the substance use field - the ‘fonts of all knowledge’. Mike Ashton, Editor of that great magazine (and website) Drug and Alcohol Findings, is also a member of the Wired In Advisory Board. I am often on the phone to ask Mike whether he knows of any research on so-and-so subject, or to get his opinion on such-and-such issue. He is such a thoughtful person (in both ways) and I really enjoy our discussions. I’ve changed some of my thinking following challenging discussions with Mike.

I’ve known Tim Leighton since I first became involved with the education programme at Clouds (now part of Action of Addiction). I played an external role in assessing the quality of the degree course they were setting up, and then acted as External Examiner for four years. During my periods of reading many exam scripts, Tim would bring in piles of new books and papers to see if I had read them. We would then get involved in wonderful discussions about a variety of topics before I would have to drag myself back to looking at the exam scripts. Tim recently came to my house for the afternoon for me to finish off some exam work and we spent some hours discussing recovery. We decided we must now have regular get-togethers to discuss key issues.

There are two other great things about these three guys. One is that we don’t always agree, and may even finish a discussion without agreement, but they always respect my opinion  (I think), as I do theirs. There is a humbleness about them. And secondly, these three guys have big hearts and they care passionately about the people who are affected by substance use problems. I’ve learnt in this field that there is a very good correlation between how well I get along with someone – and the size of their heart.

Please go watch these film clips. There’s some straight and important talking there.  

No comments: