Sunday, 27 March 2011
UKRF Conference: Tameside, 7th May 2010
We are really pleased (and I mean really, really and thrice really) to announce that our own Professor Clark (even though he is based in Australia he is still ours!), Mark Gilman and Phil Valentine will be speaking at the above conference. For those of you who may not know about Phil, he is Executive Director for the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) and has been an integral component in this Recovery Community Organization since January 1999.
So what is CCAR and why is it relevant for the UKRF? One of the distinctive characteristics of recovery-oriented systems of care is the elevated role of peer-based recovery support services within such systems and the importance of post-treatment monitoring, sustained support, and early re-intervention. Such systems are pioneering new volunteer and paid roles under such titles as recovery coaches, recovery support specialists, personal recovery assistants, peer helpers, etc.
CCAR is one of the most successful grassroots recovery support organisations, Phil Valentine envisions a world where the power, hope, and healing of recovery from alcohol and other drug addiction are thoroughly understood and embraced. CCAR’s mission is to put a positive face on recovery through advocacy, education, and service in order to end the discrimination surrounding addiction and recovery, open new doors and remove barriers to recovery and ensure that all people in recovery and people seeking recovery are treated with dignity and respect. Sounds familiar eh?
So what do they do and how does it work? Well, CCAR has a central office and four recovery community centers that are recovery-oriented anchors in the hearts of their communities, a place where local communities of recovery can design and deliver the supports they need to initiate and maintain their recoveries. Their staff members constitute an inner circle, and their task is to support, empower, and train the volunteers who form the next circle.
Their ‘target audience’ is the volunteers, people in all stages of recovery, family members, students, friends, and allies. One of their ‘ideal’ volunteers is a retired person in long-term recovery. Their target audience is not people still actively using, or even those seeking recovery or those in early recovery. They are their secondary target audience, and they reach them through the volunteer force.
Staff interact with people at all stages of need, but they gradually work to have volunteers handle most of the direct peer support. CCAR currently have 10 staff and 150 trained volunteers. They use this model to multiply their efforts and get the most value for the government and local government funding they receive.
Their first ‘Recovery Walks!’ were held in 2000 with 700 people turning up. Last September 70 thousand people turned up for walks for recovery that were held coast to coast across the USA. In a few short years that’s an incredible breakthrough. Recovery is truly becoming more visible. They just held their third legislative day, and a few legislators revealed for the first time publicly their own personal recoveries.
CCAR wrote the ‘Recovery Core Values’in collaboration with mental health recovery advocates that became the cornerstone of Tom Kirk’s (DMHASCommissioner) policy on a Recovery-Oriented System of Care, which has become a national model in the USA.
CCAR has developed a very close relationship with the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), their state addiction agency. This relationship evolved over time because it places a high emphasis on integrity, honesty and trust.
The DMHAS staff trusts that CCAR will tell them the truth, even if it might mean some temporary ‘loss’ for CCAR. This is because the DMHAS know that CCAR have the best interests of the recovery community at heart. That they will not inflate their numbers or exaggerate what they are doing or minimise their struggles to make themseves look good. Now wouldn’t that be something worth striving for!
So be there,or be square!