Friday, 1 July 2011

Recovery in the UK

In response to our Swedish friends who are trying to create support for a movment in their country, where Peapod from the UK  Guest Blogged on Recovery Genisis, evolution, and revolution?  UK - Part 1 and Part 2

Please see

Hi Magnus, Jimmy and everyone else reading, an interesting take from Mr. Peapod indeed on the still conceptual movement here in the UK.

As we know social change happens only when the majority of citizens are alerted, educated, and motivated to be concerned about a problem, and are only as powerful as the power of their grassroots support. One of the key tasks for the UK Recovery Federation is to focus on and to win over the public, not to change the minds and policies of official power holders. As we have seen already here in the UK when power holders fail to respond to initial movement demands, many activists become depressed and angry. This can lead to burnout, dropout, unnecessary compromises, or aimless rebelliousness.

Pace yourself it’s a marathon.

The process of putting social problems on society’s agenda, winning a large majority, and subsequently achieving long-range movement goals occurs over many years. This lengthy process includes reaching many sub-goals along the way. WE should evaluate our movement by how well it is moving along the road of success, not by whether it has achieved its long-term goals. Activists can develop strategies and tactics that advance their movement along the next segment of the road, instead of trying to achieve the long-range goals immediately & directly. The quotes mentioned from 2 of the individuals took place around two years ago now, and believe me there has been major progress since then. I am reminded of a quote a friend put on face book yesterday he said Tell me and I MIGHT listen....Show me and I MIGHT pay attention....Involve me and I WILL learn.

This is exactly one of the reasons why we think the UKRF principles are so important to a framework to build a movement around, at their very basic we are talking about equality, security, preservation, justice, democracy, love, forgiveness, caring, honesty, compassion, and understanding.

Of course without adherence to these fine principles there is always the possibility of agent provocateurs to disrupt or discredit movements by promoting internal violence, hostility, dissension, dishonesty and confusion.

In approaching any injustice that we want to transform, we need to know the facts and factors of the situation. We need to understand the policy or condition “in the round” — from every angle.

This means carefully describing this policy and its consequences both accurately and honestly, taking a fearless inventory perhaps?

We have to ask ourselves what are the cultural attitudes or assumption that keep the status quo in place? In other words, how is this status quo sustained?

I believe that the status quo/power is not a magical substance invested in policy-makers; in fact, policy-makers rely on the consent of the people. We need to analyze and question our response (strategically and in a coordinated way) to the ways the population has given its tacit or overt support to the status quo.

In other words the Gandhian process of identifying the truth of the situation: the truth and untruth of our position, and the truth and untruth of the status quos position.

It is the UKRFs belief based on our analysis and that we must address injustice that violates central human and cultural values if we are to have a movement of any kind.

■We hope by using humility, intelligence and persistence, to communicate to those that are skeptical that there really is a bigger issue here and that we have to build a co-ordinated and inclusive plan for addressing and resolving these injustices. We believe in looking for what is positive in the actions and statements those who are opposed make and we never seek to humiliate but to find creative ways to call forth the similarities in our goals rather than the difference, looking always for ways that through unity we can all gain strength and win.

One of the aims of the recovery walks and celbratory events is to secure public support for change. We hope as these events grow, we will be educating the public, and at the same time, building alliances with key organizations.

We have much to gain by working with those who traditionally would have been polarized perhaps even entrenched to resolve the injustices of the people we are supposed to serve. Our actions as a movement must be designed to give the largest number of people possible the opportunity to participate, own and belong.

Of course at times direct action introduces a “creative tension” that may look like conflict but it will be these tensions that will highlight and be most effective when to illustrate the injustice we seek to correct.

The UKRF believes that education, dialogue and action can create the conditions for a strong diverse and vibrant movement to emerge. The UKRF seeks friendship and understanding with those who are unsure, question or even oppose as we believe we have much more similarities in our common opponents of inadequate systems, outdated policies, and unjust acts, against vulnerable people.

The UKRF believes that Reconciliation includes the opponent being able to “save face.” Each act of genuine reconciliation is one step closer to the goal of human life, which Martin Luther King, Jr. called the “Beloved Community.”

Both the individuals and the entire community are empowered. With this come new struggles for justice and a new beginning.

UKRF Principle 11. Honesty, self-awareness and openness lie at the heart of Recovery.

Alistairs response to part 1

June 30 2011

Alistair Sinclair

I think it useful it's useful to Consider what is happening in the UK as two 'movements'. A 'movement' (Contested and Confused) Toward a 'recovery-orientation' Within 'treatment' increasingly grounded Within a public health arena and a (Developing) social / civil movement at the grassroots level. This Reflects some of the experience in the United States.

"There is accumulating evidence of two new emerging and Potentially complimentary movements:

1) a recovery movement That is affirming the very real potential for permanent

staff resolution of Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) problems, and

2) A Public Health Movement That ice Offering solutions to AOD problems at the

community and cultural levels. "

William White 'Toward a New Recovery Movement: Historical Reflections on Recovery, Treatment and Advocacy', Recovery Community Support Program Conference, "Working Together for Recovery", April 3-5, 2000

I think it's interesting to note That Many organizational and Individual Cited as 'voices' Within the recovery arena are situated Within treatment or Have very close links with it. Clearly this is relevant When We Consider recovery-orientation Within treatment. However I think we Need to hear from a lot more from new 'Voices' Within the community, People Who are Engaged at a grassroots level in Political Advocacy.

The UK Recovery Federation (UKRF) speed made this engagement ITS principal focus, Supporting the development of community-led Recovery Networks Developed around strong Recovery Principles and Values ​​and Embracing Strengths / Asset-Based Approach. We believe this is elsewhere a Recovery Movement Will Grow, shaped and articulated by communities and not by treatment. We've found Many Within the harm reduction activist WHO World Have embraced this vision Alongside Those Who traditionally havebeen located Within abstinence-oriented communities. Two are mentioned in Peapod's blog, Pat O'Hare and Alan Joyce. It Should be noted That Their comments were made Within a context, a critique of a 'Politically driven agenda That framed' recovery 'as' abstinence' and little else. Have things moved on and Both Pat and Alan Have expressed considerable support for a 'progressive' recovery movement. It's very early days but the signs are looking good.

Many people from Mutual Aid tradition are looking to commit in a Wider Sense Within Their communities and Have found common Cause with 'harm reductionists', starting to form the Beginnings of a 'movement' with strong social justice Principles at its center. It's the view of Many That Addressing the Issue of Inequality and Discrimination is Key to the development and sustaining of this new civil rights movement. It's Certainly what Seems to excite a lot of interest at the grassroots level along

My response to part 2

We Have to be careful we do not try to influence our own role in the movement by prematurely attempting to write history as we see it.

Alistairs Response to Part 2

Alistair Sinclair

Just for Clarification; the UKRF Does not Claim to Represent the Recovery Movement nationally. We were set up to support the Recovery Walks (and There Will Be Extensive coverage of the Walk this year in trade journals) Promote the UKRF Recovery Principles ( ) And support the development of various UK-Wide Recovery Networks. We believe it Will Be These Networks coming together That Will Represent the Recovery Movement. We do not feel there is a group as yet That Can make this claim, Certainly not That groups are rooted in 'Treatment'. We're even quite a way off Having a representative group Within Treatment That Can realistically claim to Have A Coherent mandates of practitioners although the new "Recovery Partnership '(DrugScope, the National Skills Con consortium and Recovery Group UK) is heading in this direction.

We make the path by walking it.

Big hug Annemarie x

To see the other UKRF principles please go to

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