On 16th January 2014 I attended a conference hosted by the Recovery Group UK, (RGUK) its strap line Creating Recovery, certainly instilled this element of hope, for those that want a future without drugs and alcohol.
The fact is I’m an old timer; a recovering substance abuser, a one time residential treatment centre owner and Equine assisted therapy charity founder, I’ve been around a bit !! Admittedly for the last 7 yrs I have been mainly supporting my wellingtons in a field with my horses, dedicating my passion for recovery firmly in the belief that Equine assisted Psychotherapy offers many solutions for creating a strong abstinence based recovery. That said I have stayed firmly rooted as a professional in the belief that we must all work together, united in abstinence based recovery goal. From afar I have seen facilities & incentives flourish, Shamefully I have seen others flounder; SHARP, Phoenix etc. due to funding cuts but positively these adverse financial conditions have seen renewed determination and motivation from an ever strengthening Oak tree of professionals.
This was never more present or obvious than at this the 1st ever 1 day conference on ‘Creating Recovery Communities,’ a joint incentive brought to us by RGUK, Russell Brands GIVE IT UP and COMIC RELIEF and heavily supported by RAPt and many others. I tip my hat in respect towards the general direction of Noreen Oliver and Chip Somers for delivering a really comprehensive, reactive event,that offered immediate solutions for those of us that want to continue to provide a safe and sound foundation for abstinence based recovery. The fact that grants are available immediately for community based recovery incentives is progress indeed and really how profound that the name given to this event had an ethos of; delivering exactly what it said it would. That with the added bonus; that the format of the application process and the steering committee has been developed in such a way that they are understanding and compassionate towards Recovery needs. Comic Reliefs, Gilly Green and Russell Brand I salute you, this really is inspiring.
The One40 Alumni Recovery Community are focused on an Abstinence based Recovery Community, passionate about providing opportunities for their graduates of rehab, with community incentives on the up, like the Creating Recovery Grant funding, one can only hope that continued abstinence based Recovery in the UK is really beginning to be noticed and building in strength.
I have tracked Noreen Oliver and her inspiring progressive approach towards a nationally inclusive abstinence based Recovery Community, I can see how her dedication, motivates those around her and I am grateful that those individuals happen to be influential people that really are making a difference.
We heard from Lord Benjamin Mancroft, Christian Guy from the Centre for Social Justice and from the Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP. They delivered a message of positivity and yet they were obvious with their statements that there is much more to be done. For the sobering fact (pardon the pun) is there remains over 300 million addicts in the UK, that Government has cut treatment services in half.
(On reflection I am impressed by how in this climate treatment centres have managed to remain open. In the case of One40 with whom I am working, they have maintained 9 of their One40 clinics across the UK with a centralised day clinic at 140 Harley Street. They have extended into the Private Sector with David Smallwood now implementing the A.C.T (Addiction . Cross addiction . Trauma) Treatment Model across all facilities.)
Lord Mancroft went on to confirm a general belief in our field that many important and influential people responsible for leading this nation forward do not entirely believe in this recovery movement. Christian Guy also promoted our need to focus attention on the ageing nature of addiction that over 1/3 of our countries drug addicts are over 35, with a similar percentage having been on script medication for extreme lengths of time.
On speaking about our burgeoning alcoholic nation Christian Guy suggests … ‘a much larger group of people – 1.6 million in England – are trapped by alcohol.
Alcohol-related deaths have doubled since 1991 and liver disease is now one of the ‘Big Five Killers’…and it’s the only one on the increase. Serious drinking is up; alcohol-related admissions to hospital have doubled in a decade and continue to go up.’
All were unanimous in their acknowledgement that in relation to maintenance V abstinence, the political practical direction of this country is far from settled.
Areas of intrigue for me personally included the mention of Jim Dobbin and his continued emphasis on Involuntary Tranquillisers, here the UK we can ‘boast’ a figure of 1.5 million people are unintentionally addicted, it is no wonder that the NHS are regarded by some as the most powerful drug dealers in the UK.
Spontaneously we were audience to a remarkable presentation given by Camila Batmanghelidjh founder of the Kids Company, apparently a recent visit from Russell Brand to the organisation sparked an enthusiasm which is totally deserved, for this lady and all she has achieved is breath taking. She acknowledges that she is suitably title-less, well I think she rocks just for the record.
Her ability to soar straight to the heart of the matter, ‘the treatment of all of our societies vulnerable is inadequate,’ that we are in a boiling melting pot and unless we stop curtailing to the authoritarian dictatorship of business funding organisations and collectively stand up and provide the care, help and treatment needed for the Vulnerable, we are in serious trouble.
Is it not enough for these funding masters to know that statistically amongst these vulnerable communities that 1 in 5 of all children witness a shooting, stabbing or heinously traumatic event. Camilla showed us the proof, pictures of brain scans that confirm these traumatic experiences have the power to significantly damage the brain.
This is the painful truth and the powerful evidence is being produced through research, millions is being spent on evidence based analysis; brain scans & psychological tests. Yet Camilla expressed with powerful furore,….it can’t come soon enough, funding is threadbare but right now we desperately need it for immediate solutions and therapeutic experiences that would lead to ‘Creating Recovery’ for the young and their families, dulling the trauma with mood altering substances or behaviours could be immediately reduced.
By 5pm, the time I left this eventful experience, I felt blessed to have been there, I could have stayed all-night! On reflection I felt slightly remorse that I haven’t played a larger part in this movement over the past few years, that said my horses and I have made a difference…. I do however feel hopeful that this gust of powerful energy in my sails, will set me on course to join forces with my fellow ‘doers’ in a stand that cannot be rocked.. Creating Recovery IS Abstinence based Recovery.
Thank you to a beautiful bunch that is proof of the principle … ‘together we can.’