Stories of Hope: Transforming Our Communities


 (SOLD OUT!) : https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/7th-ukrf-community-event-stories-of-hope-transforming-our-communities-tickets-17606393196

Connecting, Learning & Giving

 Recoverists: Community Building in an Age of Dislocation


Tuesday 1st September 2015

Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) Business School

All Saints Campus, Oxford Road, Manchester M15 6BH

09.30-10.00 Registration/Networking

10.00-10.10 Welcome & Housekeeping –Michaela Jones (GMRF/UKRF) & Helen Darby (MMU)

10.10-10.30 ‘Creating Moments of Empathy’– Alistair Sinclair FRSA (UKRF)

10.30-10.50 ‘Art, Culture & Recoverism’ –Clive Parkinson (MMU)

10.50-11.10 ‘Expression as Creation: Creating Our Recovery’ –Amanda Clayson (VoiceBox Inc/MMU)

11.10-11.40 Break/Networking

11.40-12.30 - 5 Wellbeing Zones & 1 Practice Zone

12.35-13.35 Lunch (Networking/Stalls/Voice Box)

13.00-13.30 Miggy Angel: A Performance Poet

13.35-13.55 ‘Social Justice & Recovery’ – Professor David Best (Sheffield Hallam Uni)

13.55-14.15 ‘Community as Education – A view from Wales’ - Sarah Vaile, Director Recovery Cymru

14.15-14.35 ‘Community as Education – A view from Scotland’ – Rebekah Moore, Programme Officer, See Me Scotland

14.45-15.35 - 5 Wellbeing Zones & 1 Practice Zone

15.45-16.45 A Conversation Café

17.00-17.15 Thanks & Moving Forward (GMRF & UKRF)

*During the day: Using a range of portraiture techniques The Poly-Technic will work to create a point of reflection. Interested in collaborative working; text, photography and drawing will be utilised to create works with delegates that provoke questions when shared back to all at the end of the day. & VoiceBox, a multimedia installation (Community Research in Practice) will be here with their roving reporters. Curious, Connected, Co-Creation.

* * The UKRF would like to thank Lifeline for their sponsorship of the Delegate Pack/Bag.



Practice Zone: ‘Facilitating access to Mutual Aid: You do the MAF’s’ – Jon Roberts (Director, Dear Albert) & ‘The ACT Model’ – Mark Webster (Psychotherapist & developer of the ACT Model)


Wellbeing Zones:

Being Active (Sponsored by In2Recovery): ‘Doing as Community Building’ - Michaela Jones (Director In2Recovery), Deb Drinkwater (Director The Dry Umbrella) & David Ryan (Emerging Futures CIC)


Connecting (Sponsored by the UKRF) : ‘Story Telling & Creative Writing in Recovery Communities’ (A Story Circle) – Lisa Rossetti (Impact CIC)


Taking Notice (sponsored by CRI) : ‘Recovery in post-industrial society: new formations of politics, culture & identity’ – Peter McDermott, Peter Sheath (Senior Associate Emerging Horizons) & Mark Gilman (Managing Director Discovering Health)


Learning from Wales (Sponsored by GMW) : ‘Mutual Aid & Peer Support’ – Leigh Proctor (Wales Coordinator UK SMART) & Tony Ormond (Wrexham Recovery Community)


Giving: ‘Families, Mediation & Recovery’ – Melody Treasure (Director UKRF), David Batchelor (Family Mediator Oldham Reconnect DepaulUK)



Practice Zone: ‘Recovery Standards for Services - Joining the UKRF' -Nigel Tedbury, (Development Manager Cranstoun) & Alistair Sinclair (Director UKRF)


Wellbeing Zones:

Being Active (Sponsored by In2Recovery) : ‘SU Activism & Recovery: Austerity & Opportunity’ – Tim Sampey (CEO Building on Belief)


Connecting (Sponsored by the UKRF) : ‘We are Recoverists…’ – Mark Prest (Director Portraits of Recovery Manchester) & The Poly-Technic (Steve Pool & Paul Digby)


Taking Notice (Sponsored by CRI) : ‘Mindfulness & Recoverism: changing the world from the inside out’ – Simon Morgan (Coventry Recovery Community CRC),Russell Johnson (CRC)& Jaqueline Bennett (Director Beyond Recovery)


Learning from Scotland (Sponsored by GMW) : ‘Mutual Aid for Methadone Recovery’ – Patricia Compston (ORT & Me Network) & colleagues


Giving: ‘Connecting with Spirituality’? – Dr Wendy Dossett (University of Chester) & Dr Stefanie Sinclair (Open University)

Some speaker bios:

VoiceBox We are EXCITED!

JOIN US at the launch of our month long GMRF ‘RVinA Roadshow’.

HANG OUT with the Multi Media Magician

CATCH UP with the VoiceBox INCredibles

FIND OUT when we’re in your ‘neck of the woods’

Be PART OF the Roadshow CREW

For more info contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07734204564


The Poly-Technic is the collaborative arts practice of Steve Pool and Kate Genever (inc Paul Digby). It is grown from a set of key principles, is not buildings based, geographically specific or funding reliant. It aims to provide a melting pot for ideas, exploring how knowledge is found in places and people as well as books and the internet. The ambition is to bring people together to think around the intersection between art, places, research & in doing so build what we call a “Generative Space”.

Michaela Jones: began her recovery journey in June 2008 and took over as the Content Editor for the Wired In To Recovery Online Community in late 2009. She and then took charge of running all aspects as Community Director until March 2013. Alongside this Michaela became involved in a range of recovery related activities across the UK. She is interested in all aspects of the Recovery Movement but gravitates particularly towards building and strengthening Recovery Communities and increasing the visibility of people in long-term recovery. Michaela is currently working on a number of projects including in2recovery, a online recovery community which aims to connect people in recovery across the UK to share their experience, strength and hope and to highlight the growing number of recovery initiatives and activities within our communities.

Rich Maunders: My recovery journey began over 21 years following 15 years of addiction and mental health problems.  At that time it’s fair to say I was pretty broken.  However with the support of professionals, friends and mutual aid I was able to come through and have now been abstinent from all substances for 19 years.  Although I still have periods of extreme low moods my life is immeasurably better than it was all those years ago. My recovery journey has opened up amazing opportunities and experiences for me.  Highlights have been having the honour of chairing the organising group for the 5th UK Recovery Walk in Birmingham.  I have also spoken at many conferences and have even been invited to the Houses of Parliament.  In 2012 I was fortunate enough to be able to take part in Phoenix Future’s Voyage of Recovery where over 100 individuals in recovery took part in sailing an 80 foot boat around the coast of the UK. Currently, as well as being a Locality Manager for Phoenix Futures in Leicester and HMP Onley, I also have the pleasure of being a Director for the UK Recovery Federation and the Coventry Recovery Community.

Alistair Sinclair is a founder Director of the UK Recovery Federation (UKRF). In the past 31 years he has been: a trainee journalist, student of literature, residential social worker, disabilities support worker, alcohol rehab worker, drug user, road protestor, political activist, homelessness worker & manager, drug worker, drug service manager, consumer of mental health services and general manager of a drugs charity. He is a qualified person-centred counsellor and community worker and is currently focused on strength-based community building and recovery-orientation within services and the wider world. Alistair is a member of the ACMD Recovery Committee. Apart from the UKRF he is passionate about his family & the support of any paths toward a fair & equal strength-based world.


Clive Parkinson is the Director of Arts for Health at Manchester Metropolitan University, a specialist research unit that explores the relationship between creativity, culture, the arts and public health. He is collaborating with international partners on a broad range of projects and research. With funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council he is working with colleagues across the UK on an interdisciplinary ‘Connected Communities’ research project, exploring the relationship between the visual arts and dementia friendly communities. He has worked for the NHS and volutary sector supporting people from diverse backgrounds, where possible putting culture and the arts at the forefront of his work, which focuses on people and their possibilities - not illness and deficits. He regularly blogs at http://artsforhealthmmu.blogspot.co.uk


Amanda Clayson: has a personal investment in Recovery based research. She is exploring her own Recovery journey and working closely with others to explore theirs. She is the founder of VoiceBox Inc and is deeply committed to her core values of ‘curious connected co-creation’; She is colourful and ‘textured’, adoring all forms of expression, particularly harnessing the potential of creative arts, digital media and evidence based interpersonal and learning techniques.

Her passion is around motivating and mobilizing people to explore, discover, develop, express, share and USE their voice. Making a difference and positive change are part of her very being. She knows first hand the power of creativity and connection, developing a rich toolbox of approaches, tools and processes to create social action through individual, organisational and community development.

She is a Community Research Partner with Manchester Metropolitan University on a number of social action projects including Voices from the Brink and ongoing research, impact and evaluation within the Greater Manchester Recovery Federation (GMRF).

Jon Roberts: BACP member. Recovery practitioner and substance misuse counsellor. Founder of Dear Albert, a Midland based social enterprise promoting positive change in communities by communicating recovery as a viable and attractive option. Encourages abstinence based approaches via: building and harnessing recovery capital, generating contagion, utilising community assets, facilitating service users into positive social networks and providing work opportunities. Dear Albert delivers a range of interventions including the most popular ‘You do the MAFs’ (Mutual Aid Facilitation) an effective peer-led programme utilising a range of USP’s including use of the new UK recovery documentary ‘Dear Albert’ by Nick Hamer.


Mark Webster is a UKCP registered psychotherapist, who is passionate about making therapeutic work extremely simple, accessible and effective. This is achieved via his innovations with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). He is co-creator of the ACT Matrix that is now used widely around the globe in many different mutual aid settings. Over 5 years from 2007- 2012 he introduced the ACT Matrix in Portsmouth to transform the addiction services onto an ACT platform across the whole city. In 2013 he founded ACT Peer Recovery (APR), a new form of mutual aid in the UK based on the Matrix, which is now supported by Public Health England along with SMART and the 12 Step fellowships. Mark has worked with addictions since 1992 and has been practicing Mindfulness for over 27 years.

Deb Drinkwater is a long term member of Greater Manchester Recovery Federation and Founder director of The Dry Umbrella CIC an organisation with an innovative approach to bringing Alcohol Free spaces to the region. With bucket loads of enthusiasm and a very limited budget, the organisation prides itself on using community development skills to achieve solutions where others see problems.

With a career in Substance use spanning 20 + years Deb has always put her professional Youth & Community skills at the heart of the projects she has managed. From setting up the first Young People’s Substance Use service for Stockport back in 1997 to delivering Workforce Development solutions for Salford DAAT and Safeguarding Children Boards, participation has been the key element in her work with communities & families. With an academic background including a BA Hons in Youth & Community, Counselling & Training, Deb believes her essential learning has come from her lived experience. Dealing with addiction in close relations and finally finding Recovery for herself 8 years ago Deb has developed a passion for working and building relationships with our growing Recovery Community here in the UK.

David Ryan has over 14 years history of working in Community & Quasi Residential Rehab/ Structured Day Care and recovery communities, working with clients from various backgrounds including criminal justice sector and mental health. Today, David is The Northwest Regional Services Manager of Emerging Futuresworking across GM & Cheshire on The Gateways project (Previously ‘through the gate’). For the last 18 months David and his team have been working with 7 prisons across The NW with people seeking recovery whilst inside prison, who wish to become part of wider recovery communities David and his team are also responsible for setting up recovery housing across City Manchester and thus developing even more recovering communities where people connect/grow and thrive.

David was the chair of GMRF (Greater Manchester Recovery Federation) and also chaired the GMUKRW (Greater Manchester UK Recovery Walk) when the GMRF hosted the Manchester UK Recovery Walk in 2014. David has been instrumental in raising the profile of recovery from addiction across the North West. David’s approach to life is based integrity, connection, being of service, sameness, inclusion, authenticity, creativity, adventure, passion and citizenship. A keen Asset Based Community Development practitioner and community member. He takes the approach that our communities are rich in resources and that we should be the co-producers of our own health and well-being, rather than the recipients of services, promoting connection through community networks, relationships and friendships that provide caring, mutual help and empowerment. Together we can make what’s strong stronger and we can build our communities from the inside out.

Lisa Rossetti is a coach, creative writer and biblio-poetry therapy practitioner working mostly in the Community and in Recovery settings through her work with Impact CIC, and passionate about using Creativity as a wellbeing intervention. She is an approved provider for Recovery College, and a member of UKRF, Time to Change, Rethink, NAWE and Lapidus. In 2014, she carried out a research study into the Wellbeing impacts of creative writing in Recovery settings for Cheshire Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. She is excited to be participating in Cheshire Recovery Federations’ 2015 Recovery Walk programme.

Lisa is also a published writer, including a contributing chapter for Cumbria NHS Trust’s “Words for Wellbeing”. Lisa has “told tales” at the Chester Literature Festival (2012), to University of Chester students and graduates, adult mental health community centres, health and social care teams, NHS staff and service users. She holds a Masters in Applied Storytelling for Health and Social Care.


“Stories connect us and inspire us at a profound level. Through stories we can renew our connection with ourselves and others.”

Peter McDermott has a long history with drug treatment services. He first entered treatment in 1975 and forty years on, he's still there. During that time, he's had an on-again, off-again work record in the field, beginning as a researcher working on needle exchange and sex work in Liverpool, one of the UK's first needle exchange programmes. Since then, he's worked in a wide range of roles and capacities -- mostly freelance. During the early 90's, you could find him freelancing for Lifeline, writing the McDermott's Guides -- a range of Harm Reduction oriented drug education materials., More recently, he was the Policy Officer for The Alliance, a now defunct treatment advocacy charity, and was seconded to Sefton Drug Action Team where he was consulting on Systems Change. He currently describes himself as 'semi-retired', which means he's not actively looking for work, but if you had a really interesting or exciting project proposal. he'd still find it hard to say no.

Peter Sheath has worked in mental health care since 1975. He first worked as a nursing auxiliary on various mental health wards, at Winwick Hospital, which then had the infamous record as being the largest hospital in Europe. He started registered mental health nurse training in 1975 and qualified in 1980. Since then he has worked in every field of mental health including community and nurse training. He has always nurtured a very skeptical and, in many ways, uncompromisingly critical outlook around psychiatry and the way we deal with mental health in general. He is also qualified to diploma level in person centred counselling, has a BSc in nurse education and an NVQ level 4 in residential care home management. Peter has also had more than his fair share of mental health issues resulting in many years of self medication and subsequent addiction. He fervently believes in healing through community, social networks and personal responsibility taking and, for the past fourteen years, has been focusing his energies on making the user experience of mental health and substance misuse treatment better for everyone. He is very passionate about addiction/ mental health and neurology and is growing to believe that they are all intrinsically linked but are still seen, somehow, as very different. He also tries to live his life as an embodiment of assets based community development principles, fully believing that the answers to many of the problems we face lie embedded within our local communities.

Mark Gilman was the Strategic Recovery Lead for the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA) and Public Health England (PHE). He also assisted NHS England and the Ministry of Justice in the implementation of the substance misuse elements of the North West Through the [Prison] Gate programme. Mark has left PHE and the NHS and set up Discovering Health (www.discoveringhealth.co.uk) and will continue to develop ideas drawn from Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) and link them to the social processes of recovering from addiction. One of the biggest ‘assets’ that we have are the experts by experience found in the rooms of AA, NA, CA, SMART and ACT Peer Recovery. Recovery is about jobs, friends and homes. If you already have something to do, somewhere to live and someone to love and you still have substance misuse problems you might need to think about paying for some therapy.

Leigh Proctor is currently the National Co-ordinator for SMART Recovery in Wales. Prior to this Leigh worked as a community substance misuse worker for CAIS in Pembrokeshire. Since over-coming a substance misuse problem herself 6 years ago, Leigh has always been passionate about recovery and more so choice in recovery. Leigh together with Tony Ormond and Kevin Fisher, founded MAPS Events (Mutual aid/peer support). These Events where taken across the 7 APB areas of Wales - the aim was to raise awareness and give information in regards to mutual aid and peer support, the different pathways and what each of those pathways offer - Leigh says " Recovery is an individual journey, with no right or wrong way - there is not a one size that fits all so it is important to make people aware of all that is out there to help support those who need it - the best gift you can give another is hope"


Tony Ormond grew up in Birkenhead but now lives and works in Wrexham North Wales.  In his day Job he is a Service User Involvement Co Ordinator for AVOW http://avow.org/ .  Tony considers himself to be in long term Recovery, something he never really achieved through the 12 detox centres and 7 residential rehabs he completed during 20 year period to free himself from the drug fuelled madness.  Tony is a deeply passionate and loving person who works well beyond the 40 hours he gets payed for and is totally committed to building Recovery and communities in Wales. Tony has for the past 4 years regarded himself as a loving father – even though his son is 15!  Tony says his biggest and most proudest achieving of his life was in 2014 when North Wales Police nominated Tony for an award to the Police and Crime Commissioner -  http://www.northwales-pcc.gov.uk/en/News/News/2014/Ex-addictTonyhonouredaftertriumphoverdrugsadversity.aspx       

Melody Treasure I am a proud parent to 3 boys and one girl and a grandparent to 4 wonderful girls. I am a qualified social worker and Director of the UKRF. I believe passionately that there are many paths to recovery and each of us tread our own paths but that our connectedness enhances our journeys. I am committed to the values and principles of the UKRF and look forward to a day when our shared views of the environments in which we exist are asset-based and deficit thinking and acting becomes a concept of the past. The ‘5 ways to Wellbeing’, that we will focus on in today's event are, in their simplest meaning, about happiness! Surely there is no greater goal than that. I hope everyone enjoys today as much as I hope to. 

David Batchelor, a former boat builder from Devon. I have worked in the homeless sector for the last 14 years, initially in hostels for the street homeless and then with young people. I have been a mediator for 8 years in Oldham working with families to improve communication, rebuild relationships and prevent homelessness. I now also have a unique role in Oldham's pilot Through The Gate project (Release From Addiction) offering mediation between people leaving prison and their families.   


Miggy Angel is the author of the poetry collection, Grime Kerbstone Psalms, published by Celandor books. He organises and comperes the monthly poetry event, Speech Therapy, and also facilitates a weekly writer’s workshop for writers accessing the addiction project he works in as a drugs worker. As well as his first published collection, he has poems published in 3am Magazine, Kill Author, Zouch Magazine, and elsewhere. Miggy Angel was born and raised in South London and lived to tell the tale. He is now resident of Nottingham, England.

David Best is Professor of Criminology in the Department of Law and Criminology at Sheffield Hallam University and Adjunct Associate Professor of Addictions at Turning Point, Melbourne. He has an under-graduate degree in psychology and philosophy, a masters in criminology and a PhD in the psychology of addictions. He has authored three books on addiction recovery and has written more than 130 peer-reviewed publications and a number of book chapters and technical reports. He has worked in academic and policy research and his primary research interests are around recovery and desistance, social networks and recovery capital. 


Sarah Vaille is Founder and Director of Recovery Cymru, a peer-led, self-help and mutual-aid recovery community in Cardiff. Recovery Cymru has evolved from a single support group in Cardiff and is now a thriving member-led community in South Wales. Recovery Cymru is a partner in an innovative collaboration between the recovery community and treatment / volunteer organisations in the delivery of aftercare and recovery support in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. Sarah is a 2011 Winston Churchill Fellow during which she travelled the USA visiting recovery projects and system transformation leaders. She is an UnLtd Social entrepreneur award winner (2010), a Vodafone World of Difference UK award winner (2011). Recovery Cymru won a 2010 WCVA Network Wales Award. Committed to training and ongoing personal development, Sarah is a PRINCE 2 Practitioner and has completed a Postgraduate Certificate (PGC) in Leadership, Level 5 NVQ Diploma in Management, CMI Level 3 Award in Coaching and Mentoring (QCF) and CG7303 qualification (PTTLS). Sarah is delighted to support the recovery movement in Wales in her role as Chair of the Welsh Recovery Group and is also a Trustee of a small Ugandan-UK charity, Blossom Africa.


Rebekah Moore: I am a programme officer in the Communities Team for See Me. See Me is Scotland’s national programme to end stigma and discrimination against mental health. Most of my time is spent doing community engagement across Scotland in a variety of ways, whether this is through working with local organisations and community groups, or with individual volunteers or training our champions to lead projects in their community to end stigma. My background includes a psychology degree, forensic mental health and community development settings. I am also a trainee integrative counsellor. I have lived experience of anxiety, self-harm and depression. I want to see attitudes and behaviours towards people with mental health problems improved. I want to see communities working together to help one another and supporting and empowering the most vulnerable and isolated in their communities. Everyone has the right to lead a fulfilled life without fear of stigma and discrimination, and I believe communities are key in making these rights a reality.

Nigel Tedbury: has worked in the health and social care field for 23 years within mental health, learning difficulties and substance misuse, the last 14 years at Cranstoun – a charity working with people with drug and alcohol problems. He is also a Shiatsu Practitioner and practices Qi Gong and meditation to keep himself balanced and connected. He is passionate about music, and enjoys playing the guitar and occasional DJ’ing. He likes to think that he goes running to keep fit, just don’t ask him the last time he actually did a run!’

Tim Sampey: is the founder and Chief Operating Officer for the charity Build on Belief, which runs four weekend services and two recovery cafes in London. On leaving treatment in 2004 bored, divorced and unemployed, he accidentally fell into the service user pond, and with a lot of help from his friends built the first independent weekend service in London that was designed, implemented and run by service users and not abstinent based. Working on the simple premise that recovery means little more than ‘getting a life’, and with the idealistic belief that being part of a community solves way more problems that it creates, he teamed up with as many local service users as possible and set about doing exactly that. If pushed, he would describe his hobbies as collecting countries, avoiding shopping, and the preservation of his father’s goldfish who existence is permanently threatened by his daughter’s delight at dropping rocks into their pond.

Mark Prest is a curator, recovery activist and a man in recovery; an experience which instigated a shift in his curatorial practice to working within a social context. He has 24 years experience as an art’s professional, developing a nationally recognised visual arts/exhibitions programme during his time at The City Gallery, Leicester His personal insight into addiction & recovery combined with his arts background, brings with it a unique perspective. In 2011 he founded Portraits of Recovery, a UK based international visual arts and education charity. The organisations work supports people and communities, affected by and in recovery from substance misuse to open up new ways of knowing and looking at the subject by working with contemporary visual art and artists. PORe believes that the arts & culture can be transformational in and of themselves. Its vision and intent is to improve the lives of people and communities in recovery by increasing access to cultural opportunity. A central aim is to facilitate contribution to an emergent cultural identity. http://portraitsofrecovery.org.uk


Jacqueline (Bennett) Hollows is a passionate about helping people in recovery from addictions and from time in prison, to unleash their full potential and create their desired future. She founded Beyond Recovery, a social enterprise that challenges existing attitudes and stereotypes to addiction and mental health by providing bespoke services that enable people to find peace of mind, realise wellbeing and achieve their potential. When people recognise their innate health they pursue their visions and life goals and create fulfilling lives based on positive self-regard, self-responsibility and social participation. Beyond Recovery CIC works in a community setting helping people rebuild their lives as well as, more recently in a prison setting, providing workshops and coaching both to inmates and to the staff of Phoenix Futures who are responsible for the care of inmates in recovery. Future ventures include an innovative programme to help people released from prison to rehabilitate back into their communities with a more positive future and a housing project for vulnerable people.

Twitter @beyond_recovery FB Page https://www.facebook.com/WILLBeyondRecovery LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacquelinebennett

Simon Morgan: Recoverist . . . in active recovery since 2010. Registered social worker, working as a Practitioner for Aquarius Action Projects, at Aquarius CIAS, Coventry. Director and founding member member of the Coventry Recovery Community (CRC CIC). Passionate about holistic/progressive approaches to sustaining, maintaining and developing active pan-recovery in the community. Other areas of interest include HCV and FASD. 

Practice maxim: “Not why the addiction but why the pain.” ― Gabor Maté

Conclusion: “Spirit/is life/it flows thru/the death of me/endlessly/like a river/unafraid/of becoming/the sea” - Gregory Corso

Russell Johnson: I am a UKRF member, a director of Coventry Recovery Community CIC and Beyond Recovery CIC as well as managing a practical support service for a Midlands charity. As well as experiencing personal and family drug and alcohol problems I have worked in a various roles (volunteer to senior management) for almost 25-years within harm reduction, treatment and recovery services across England and Wales. Trained as a counsellor and manager with a background insociology I believe in the power of communities to effect change. In recent years I’ve seen the rise of groups of people in recovery coming together to support one and other, to challenge the stigma and stereotypes of addiction, and to create new and inspiring opportunities to further individual journeys of recovery.

Patricia Compston: My recovery journey from methadone began over 4 years ago. On the 19th of August 2014 I really started living and my recovery began all over again when I eventually became ORT free. I stayed on methadone for 14 and a half years because I was terrified of the myths of a methadone detox, green bones, not sleeping for months , pain and imaginary friends to name a few. Becoming ORT free was something I thought I would never achieve. I wanted to help others, I wanted people to see and hear for themselves the lived experience of recovery from ORT. To dispel those myths and prove that ORT recovery was possible. With the help of the Scottish Recovery Consortium and recovery communities across Scotland, I have helped set up mutual aid meetings for people seeking recovery and wanting to know more about recovery from opiate replacement therapies. These are ORT Recovery and ME meetings. We now have a total of 13 meetings in Scotland, 6 months ago there were none and they are continuing to grow. We are being called the missing link fellowship. I hit the ground running every day because this work has given me a reason to get up in the morning again.

Dr Wendy Dossett is principal investigator of the Higher Power Project and a director of the Chester Studies of Addiction, Recovery and Spirituality Group (csarsg.org). As an academic in Religious Studies, she is interested in the ways members of twelve-step mutual aid groups construct meaning around the concept of higher power, and how that meaning contributes to recovery and quality of life. She’s passionate about (much, not all, of!) the music of Bob Dylan, and likes spending time with a bunch of like-minded people staring at a wall, also known as meditation. Being in recovery, she reckons the present moment is a very good place to be, and is grateful for any help to get there.


Dr Stefanie Sinclair: is a Lecturer in Religious Studies at the Open University. She’s fascinated by how people make sense of their lives in different cultural and historical contexts and has a special research interest in religion, identity, social change and notions of social justice.