Recovery Ramblings

Thoughts and reflections on mental health addictions recovery.

Growing SMART Lessons from SMART Recovery UK – 2010 to 2014

It is approaching a year since I left SMART Recovery here in the UK. The four years I spent with the organisation were some of the most exciting and rewarding of the 25+ years I have worked in the field of addictions and the thousands of people involved with the organisation achieved something very special. SMART Recovery is now a firmly established part of the recovery infrastructure in the UK, having gone from 40 weekly meetings to 500 meetings in just four years. Read more →

ACMD Prevention Paper

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs Recovery Committee has published a useful review of the evidence around Prevention. This matters because prevention is often grossly misunderstood, sometimes by policy makers but especially by the media. The assumption is often made that substance misuse and addiction can be prevented if only more information was made available - if we ‘educate’ young people about drugs they will not take them. Read more →

Addictions Mutual Aid in the UK – an overview of the evidence

In 2014 I carried out a detailed review of the evidence for addictions mutual aid, which you can download from that link. Proffessor John F. Kelly, PhD. and William White added supportive commentaries to the document and Proffessor Keith Humphreys blogged supportively about the paper as well. ###Extracts Mutual Aid is the process of giving and receiving non-clinical and non-professional help to achieve long-term recovery from addiction. Mutual Aid groups are composed of people who share the same problem, give and receive support as part of the group, are organised by members, value experiential knowledge and charge no fees. Read more →

Interview with Bill White

“Addiction recovery mutual aid organizations have a long and rich international history, but the rate of growth and diversification of philosophy and methods of these organizations in recent decades is without historical precedent. What is emerging is an ever-growing network of secular, spiritual, and religious recovery mutual aid groups adapted to diverse cultural, political,and religious contexts yet increasingly connected into a larger global community of recovery via the power of the Internet. Read more →

Recovery from Addictions

Filmed at the Liverpool Addictions conference on 22nd March 2012, this lecture was entitled “Recovery from addictions”. A broad sweep look at how innovation has emerged ahead of the evidence in this sector, and what this means for the new recovery movement. Dang I talk too fast.. Read more →

Social Contingencies and Recovery

Last year, I watched an intriguing television programme about a radical educational experiment in a deprived neighbourhood of New York. A black professor of economics explained his own journey from the ghetto to academic success at Harvard and also his radical experiment in educational rescue. For the schools he was working with, the statistics were as depressing as they were familiar, with only a small proportion of students actually completing school and boys landing in the morgue more often than college. Read more →

Beyond the rainbow

(Originally presented at the Drugscope conference 2009 and published in DDN) When we look back at 2009, I doubt we will remember this as the point when the ‘recovery movement’ transformed the drugs field. We will remember it instead as the start of tough times after a decade of plenty. Our world will change because the world out there has changed. The global financial crisis took us to the brink of calamity, with people well above our grade seriously believing that the entire financial system might collapse. Read more →

Residential Rehabilitation and the national drug strategy

Back in 2007 the residential rehab sector was really struggling, even though the financial crisis was over the horizon. The recovery agenda had yet to take hold and incentives on treatment providers and commissioners were more about retention in treatment than sustained abstinent outcomes. At the time I was working at Phoenix at the time, which included oversight of their ten, struggling residential rehabs. At the time Phoenix was by some margin the largest not for profit provider of residential treatment, so we took something of a lead in coordinating the sector. Read more →