Daily Archives: 21/08/2014

Addiction to Recovery

The quote I used in the post about Living Sober (here) by Russell Brand was taken from this programme.

This is a fascinating documentary that was filmed back in 2012.  It does focus on drug more than alcohol addiction and features the well-known rehab centre, Focus 12, which is very close to where I live and where he got clean and sober in 2002.  So it was surreal seeing the town that I have worked in for many years and a building that I have driven past countless times on the screen!

He is so good at challenging perceived wisdom and current drug policy within this country which is as out of whack as the alcohol policy is to be honest.  Here in the UK methadone is the gold standard treatment for heroin addiction not rehab and abstinence based programmes.  Cynically, probably because it’s easier and cheaper.

They visit prisoners and talk to those on the abstinence and rehab programme run by the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners trust (RAPt) which has a 50% success rate of abstinence on release from prison.  80% of the prison population have a substance misuse issue so the potential to improve personal outcomes and reduce crime are huge.    The show also visits Brighton, the drugs death capital of the UK, where 80% of the crime is acquisitive – so things are stolen to fund a substance addiction.   Here they use the Crime Reduction Initiative (CRI) to treat addicted criminals rather than sending them to prison.  This is also another place that I used to live and work – hmm there’s a bit of a theme developing here 😉

Only 10% of the population with addiction are able to access rehab in this country and there are 10% of the population with a substance abuse issue.   So population of 63 million, minus 10 million children, means 530,000 have an addiction issue that require rehab and only 53,000 can access it.   So only 0.1%.  Shocking.

He talks eloquently about the need to escape ‘A life defined by acquiring and using drugs’.  That sums up how it feels to give up alcohol, even if my drug was legal and freely available at every corner shop and village store.  Oh and peddled in the media as something that everyone is doing and would only add to the quality of my life.  Which is what makes it so much more dangerous and drives my frustration at our lead public health agencies apparent lack of interest and inaction on the matter.

Russell believes in those with an addiction being shown ‘pragmatism, altruism and compassion in all areas of the condition’.  He discusses with a person considering rehab, the impact of reducing their methadone script and that they would experience an escalation in their feelings.  He acknowledges that there is a direct relationship between taking drugs and not feeling emotions and not taking drugs and feeling emotions and this drive is why so many of us use substances.   He espouses that this makes love and compassion the only appropriate response to addiction.

If only Russell could talk to Public Health England and them listen.  We would have a whole different world and a whole different conversation and future ahead of us in this country when looking at the issue of addiction.  I can’t wait for A Royal Hangover to premier!

1 month to go!!

PS If you have found my blog helpful and would like to say thank you my sponsorship page is still open at  http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/ahangoverfreelife and will be until my one year hangover free birthday on the 21st September.  All monies raised is going directly to  Alcohol Concern, the leading UK national charity working on alcohol issues. Their goal is to improve people’s lives through reducing the harm caused by alcohol. They have an ambitious long-term aim to change the drinking culture in this country.:)