Sunday, 5 October 2008

Carers' conference in Gloucester: 'Who Cares?'

It seems a very long time since I was last on the blog, having just had three weeks vacation. Lots to talk about over the coming weeks, I'm sure.

During my vacation, I gave a talk at a carers' conference, 'Who Cares?' in Gloucester. The day's event was organised by Andrea Wilson, with the assistance of Irene and Ian MacDonald, and the financial support of the Gloucester DAT. 
I was really pleased to participate in such a meeting, not just because the focus was on families and carers, but because I wanted to meet Ian and Irene MacDonald. Ian first contacted me over five years ago to tell me about their work, but whilst we had met periodically we had never managed to spend some good time together. And I wanted to meet his wife.
Now this was no ordinary presentation, since I was given a 90 minute slot to talk about recovery. Now, I do not usually practice talks - and therefore do not time them - so with such a long talk, it was difficult working out how many slides to use. So I set up 72 and thought I'd leave some out as I go along, which is what happened. I attach all 72 slides here! [Please note, the file takes time to load. Let me know if you have problems]
I spent a very interesting morning listening to the other speakers. All the talks were of a high quality and there were some moving moments. I was very touched by a talk given by Laura, who reflected on the harm that her alcohol misuse had caused to her mother.
I was thrilled by the response to my 70 minute talk. Yes, 70 minutes (broken up by an 8-minute film) and the audience managed to stay awake! Talk about staying power!!
I felt genuine interest (and excitement!) in the room during and after the talk. The feedback since the event has been great. I've received many positive responses, my favourite being that I (or my message) should be bottled and passed around services (treatment agencies and generic) in the area.   
Now, I know this can be viewed as blowing my own trumpet, but it is very important for people to realise that audiences get excited about the recovery agenda. I spoke about things that mattered to people in the room, things that they could understand and desire. If someone wants to 'bottle me' to get the recovery message out there and improve matters for those people affected directly or indirectly by substance use problems, then so be it! Bottled DC. Mmm!
The one disappointing aspect from the conference was whilst I received positive compliments from many sources, this did not include the NTA representative. I guess you cannot win them all.
I really enjoyed the conference and the organisers and participants should receive a big pat on the back. Andrea, you did a great job! Ian and Irene, you've done so much you should be proud of. All three of you, a real pleasure to spend time with you.
Let's keep the agenda moving forward.


Anonymous said...

Good to have you back David.

Loved your presentation, even though I prefer the Betty Ford definition of recovery.

David Clark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Clark said...

Good to be back, very busy now putting content on new site. We'll have to agree to disagree on the definition, I'm afraid.
Hope you are well.

tim1leg said...

Yes a hearty welcome Back prof, my days haven’t been the same without my fix of the blog.

Enjoyed the presentation and it was easy to see why your audience didn’t fall asleep, some of the things you point out are great to see in print at last and whilst we may differ on semantics at the end of the day, opinions are like Ass wholes, everybody’s got one.

I believe that essentially our common goal is enough to keep us all in the field working together, it would be great to see the field united within the recovery movement, currently trying to take place, especially here in Scotland.

In the words of Mel Gibson in brave heart and a little artistic licence I wish someone would "unite the clans" i.e. "unite the field?
anyway one can dream, welcome back.

Anonymous said...


I admire your passion and energy and you are clearly motivated by genuine compassion. However, looking at your 72 slides filled me with despaire. This is empty vacuous self-puffery. What does 'recovery' really mean? Where is the evidence? It is all so vague. When you start talking about 'focusing on the solution, not the problem', it sounds like laughable David Brent-speak. Please don't tell me to read William White either. Can you summarise in 100 precise words what recovery is and how it represents anything different. It all sounds like a half-baked rehash of some very old temperance ideas.