Alumni Cathryn Kemp has been working tirelessly to get better help and understanding for people who become addicted to painkillers after revealing her own experience of dependence and subsequent detoxification at PROMIS in her book
“Coming Clean: Diary Of A Painkiller Addict by Cathryn Kemp (Little Brown, £10.99)”
Cathryn has also founded a charity “Painkiller Addiction Information Network”
With the recent news of TV’s Ant McPartlin’s brave steps to seek help for his own painkiller addiction, Cathryn has spoken to the Daily Mail today to share her own experiences and to offer encouragement to others with a similar plight.
You can read her inspirational story here:
Check back here for a link to an interview Cathryn recently gave me for another website providing help and advice….
I was proud as punch to read of the brave and tireless work that PROMIS alumni, Michael McDowell, is doing in getting help and support for addicts on the streets of Belfast
In a piece today in The Irish News, Michael was quoted as saying:
Michael McDowell, of drug outreach group Belfast Experts By Experience, described the waiting list as an “absolute disgrace”.
“These people have gone through hell just getting to a point where they actually ask for help,” he said.
“To then be told they have to continue risking their lives taking drugs for over a year and a half is unacceptable. This inequitable treatment in comparison to other health trusts must stop before it’s too late for many of them.
“These people are on their knees desperate for help and are quite literally dying for treatment.”
“Support, not punish”
Michael has been working tirelessly to reduce the shame and stigma that addicts experience, and to promote harm reduction methods in helping addicts.
When you see people on the streets with addiction problems, you witness how futile the concept of addicts needing to hit rock bottom really is. At this point it is critical that this damaging idea is abandoned and instead a practical approach is adopted that allows a relationship to be developed with the addicts and then a bridge offered, to help them back into health and wellbeing.
In the past, there has been an unnecessary oppositional attitude between the harm minimisation approach and those promoting abstinence. I believe instead that these opportunities exist on a continuum offering different help to people at different stages of their recovery.
I have asked Michael if he would be prepared to be interviewed about the work that he does now and I am pleased to report that he has agreed so more to follow shortly!
Robin Lefever’s Interview with Clare Kennedy, founder of Kennedy St & Co
For many of us in recovery, the idea of going out to a bar is a terrifying prospect. Will I be laughed at for ordering an orange juice? Will the shelves stacked with spirit bottles be too tempting to resist?
But Brighton based entrepreneur Clare Kennedy has found a solution in Kennedy St, a meeting point where the message of recovery can be shared over a non-alcoholic drink, as Robin Lefever found out when he visited.
Edited by Laura Cox
ROBIN: Thank you so much for the invitation to your meeting at Kennedy St & Co CiC
Clare. Can you please tell me a bit about how you got it going and what the evenings are like?
CLARE: At Kennedy St we aim to address a variety of needs, whilst also contributing to positively de-stigmatising recovery & impacting our social culture blueprint. We will offer community, healthy lifestyle information, a safe space to be yourself, involvement, retraining, employment, and self-employment opportunities, showing that recovery and wellbeing are fun, real and attainable. After all, not drinking and using doesn’t stop us living, loving and thriving).
We currently have no funding, bid writing is not my area of expertise, but people achieving their very best, is. So we run our drybar party nights 4 times a year and are so very blessed at the moment to have [Brighton restaurant] Skyfall as our sponsors. They allow us to run our drybar party nights without charging us a rental, but of course, there are still costs we have to cover, so we are currently looking for sponsors or partners to work with so we can grow our community ideas. Of which we have many.
The idea of dry bars began in the United States where there is a long tradition of sobriety clubhouses and hangouts, often associated with 12-step programs. People gather to share soft drinks, food, play games and enjoy each other’s company. Dry bars have popped up all over the States, such as The Other Side in Illinois, The Counterfeit Bar in Arizona and The Shine in LA and New York which regularly sells out on alcohol-free events involving live music, meditation and film. Read the rest of this entry »
Lou Lebentz is a well-known addiction and eating disorders psychotherapist who worked for 10 years at the Priory. In this time Lou has developed a programme for people with eating disorders that is practical and simple to follow, but which integrates the best practice from the worlds of nutrition, coaching and psychotherapy.
For the moment Lou is making a book available for free on her website here which acts as a simple guide to her programme.
Lou fills the book with really helpful metaphors, she explains that by using metaphors we are better able to imagine our goals and thereby embed the knowledge most quickly. As a sailor myself I love the sailing analogies that Lou uses throughout the book and she has also peppered it with some really lovely illustrations.
There are 7 main steps to Lou’s programme:
1. Examine our beliefs about food.
2. Understand the effect that food has on us.
3. Visualise a clear goal.
4. Develop new skills.
5. Make the switch from unhealthy to healthy food
6. Take action and put the plan into practice.
7. Keep checking our progress against our goals and keep those goals in mind.
As I mentioned before, the best thing about Lou’s book is the way it draws from the different worlds of nutrition, psychotherapy, coaching and so on, and does so in such an accessible and common-sensical way.
The other great thing about this book is the organisation behind it. On the website, http://sweetenough.online/, you will also find recipes, an online show and a blog, all interweaving support.
This is quite a new service from Lou but I really look forward to seeing it develop.
Introduction to EMDR
The precise neural mechanism for how eye movements affect emotional status is unclear, but the fact is they do. It is almost as though a broad view of the horizon from left to right, and right to left also helps the mind to place events within the broader context, or for both hemispheres of the brain to work together.
In some respects this is nothing new. We have all experienced the calming effects on a stressful day of going for a stroll in the countryside, enjoying the view from a hill-top or from looking out over the sea. However, in some instances such as child abuse, sexual assault, physical assault or other severe traumatic events the experience can become mentally ‘blocked’, and unless worked through – or ‘processed’ can become utterly debilitating.
EMDR now has an excellent evidence-base for demonstrating its effectiveness, in the right safe, therapeutic environment for treating patients who have suffered from these forms of trauma. Some senior psychologists have explained the therapeutic effect of eye movement in technical terms such as, “tasks, such as eye movements, that tax working memory during recollection of stressful memories attenuate their vividness and emotionality during subsequent recollection”. In plain English this means that EMDR therapists can help their patients to re-visit the situation without causing undue stress.
Is EMDR really different from CBT?
The World Health Organization (WHO) describes the difference between Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and EMDR. As EMDR is based on the idea that negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours are the result of unprocessed memories, treatment involves focusing simultaneously on the following:
- Spontaneous associations of traumatic images, thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations and,
- Bilateral eye stimulation.
In this way EMDR reduces distress whilst also strengthening positive attributes that are related to the traumatic event. However, unlike CBT, EMDR does not involve detailed descriptions of the event, direct challenging of beliefs or extended exposure, or even the need for homework. Read the rest of this entry »
Genius! Although the initiative is meant to draw attention to the serious homelessness problems in wealthy nations like Australia, there is also, within it, a timely acknowledgement of the value of getting out there and helping someone.
This is something we weave into the very essence and grammar of our work with our patients at PROMIS: meaningful, rewarding connection with others as the sunlight ready to break through the clouds of isolation and a sense of worthlessness.
We are delighted to hear that the organiser’s behind the Movember movement are turning their focus this year to men’s Mental Health. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29841063
It is our considerable experience that physical and mental health are not separate matters but two aspects of well-being and resilience that overlap and have a clear cause and effect relationship; they affect and contribute to each other.
In building resilience to mental health, and in treatment for Mental Disorders, we need to accept that both areas of our lives need focus and attention. Poor physical health increases the risk of people developing mental health problems, while poor mental health is associated with an increased risk of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes.
Hence our enthusiastic support of Movember’s excellent decision to include men’s mental health within the focus of a charity dedicated to men’s health. Read the rest of this entry »
It has been impossible, today, to ignore the important findings of a recent Home Office report, which compared the UK’s approach to drug misuse with that of 13 other countries and concluded that there is no evidence that the criminalisation of drug use leads to a reduction in the problem. See, for example, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-29824764.
In simple terms, there is no evidence that punishing people for having a drug problem will actually stop them using. Those of us who work in this field have a responsibility to those who suffer from addiction, and their loved ones and our communities, to focus the debate on what does work.
Awareness, understanding, tackling the grass roots of addiction in our homes, schools and towns must not be derailed, and works, but, as we all know, so does treatment.
An experienced Recovery Coach from the States paid our Hay Farm clinic a visit and gave us an account of his observations that we are happy to share with you. We thank Dr. Ronald W. Hill for his kind and insightful thoughts.