What is recovery?

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A stumbling block to moving forward with recovery in the UK and elsewhere is lack of agreement about what recovery actually is. Highly specific definitions (e.g. recovery = abstinence) can lead to exclusion and fierce disagreement while non-specific definitions are too woolly to measure in services which are being asked to deliver measurable outcomes. Professionals and recovering people […]

Methadone and 12-step

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This blog is a re-run but I’ve published it again because of recent comments it has attracted (at end of blog) Methadone and 12-step Given the dearth of research on NA populations this study from Bill White and colleagues is welcome. Knowing what we do already from the research on mutual aid groups, the researchers made the […]

CA, AA, NA and SMART – differences and similarities

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In the next part of my interview with Tom, a doctor in recovery, he explores the relationships between different sorts of mutual aid. What’s the overlap between CA, AA, NA and SMART? My experience is that there can sometimes be some friction between the different fellowships. I’m not entirely sure why this happens but I […]

AA or NA for drug dependent clients?

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In addiction treatment, study after study has shown a link between attending mutual aid and better outcomes for substance user disorders. These better outcomes include abstinence and there is consistent evidence of health cost savings. In Scotland we are fortunate to have around 1000 mutual aid meetings running weekly in our cities, towns and villages. […]

What do clinicians make of addiction recovery?

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Which teachers were the best when you were at school? Likely the ones who believed in you, connected with you, who had a vision for where you could go and who enthusiastically helped you get there. The same characteristics are likely to define the best clinicians too. In a study, published a few days ago, […]

Recovery in Scotland – mutual aid at the heart

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In the fifth part of my interview with Tom, a doctor in recovery, he discusses the growth of Cocaine Anonymous in Scotland, its impact on those seeking recovery and what the fellowship has to offer women. How has CA changed in Lothian since you first started going? CA has expanded locally from 3 to 12 […]

“We have a responsibility to share how we recovered”

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In the fourth part of my interview with Tom, a doctor in recovery, he explores the ‘full-on’ nature of the CA programme, the interface between his professional approach and his experience and is clear that recovering people ‘have a responsibility to share how we recovered’. What’s the approach to the programme in CA? More than […]

Do we disable people by calling addiction a disease?

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I spotted a tweet a few weeks back vigorously opposing calling addiction a disease. A few weeks before this, someone I follow on Twitter was advocating for the terms “addict” and “alcoholic” to be abandoned because they are stigmatising. I thought of the tens of thousands of recovering people meeting weekly in Britain’s six and a […]

Power and powerlessness in addiction and recovery

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In the third part of my interview with Tom, a doctor in recovery, he explains how the 12-step programme is at the heart of his recovery. You’ve said a bit about the things that made sense for you when you started going to Cocaine Anonymous meetings, but were there any down sides? There wasn’t much […]