Thought: ‘Never forget that to some you know you are a role model.’

Addictions UK uses Twitter to share inspirational Thoughts every day. This article is based on one of them. Follow us at @addictionsuk.

illustrationIt’s a humbling Thought that people might look up to us.

In fact almost always someone does admire you – whoever you are and whatever you have done.

It’s a wonderful but painful fact that the children of parents addicted to drugs or alcohol still love them and turn to them for advice and guidance and support.

The people you work with know your limitations (even if you have managed to conceal the reasons). But they still admire and respect your qualities and achievements.

Less obviously, in any group of similar people there is are leaders and followers and even those who are not at the top find people turning to them from time to time. All this is as true of a community of addicts, cut off from much of society as it is of a first-class football team – and many of those have embraced talented and admired addicts.

Whoever you are and whatever your condition there are certainly some who look up to you. For those coming to terms with addiction, that realisation is a two-edged sword. The knowledge that you are not all that people want you to be is certainly a burden but the understanding that you have never lost the chance to inspire and bring on others can encourage and lift you too.

No-one should ever seek out failure but when people realise that you are not perfect then your good qualities seem more real. They can be the more inspired by understanding that you are not so different, that you have problems and face challenges just as they do. And because you and they are not so different, they know they too can achieve whatever it is they admire in you.

And take a moment to turn this around. There are people in your life, in your present and in your past, who you admired and respected. Whatever you Thought, actually they weren’t perfect either. At least some of what they achieved is still within your grasp too.

Please contact us now if you need help with recovery from any addiction and especially if you are seeking home-based treatment.

AUK’s recent visit to India

Addictions UK’s managing director has recently visited India with a view to establishing India-based Spiritual Learning Journeys and Training Programmes. Here is the full blog of his visit.

To be kept up to date with our developing plans for Spiritual and Learning Journeys or Recovery and Training Courses in India in 2015 please contact us now

Day One

3rd September 2014

Hyderabad

Hyderabad

I flew from Newcastle International Airport today to Hyderabad via Dubai on an eleven year old 777 Emirates flight which was full in both the Business and Standard class cabins. I have rarely seen so many people drinking so heavily – How many people were heavy drinkers of alcohol and how many people could have benefitted from addiction treatment and support!

A taxi was waiting to take me to my hotel and I soon settled in to the comfortable surroundings of one of the five Taj Hotels in the City of Hyderabad. After a quick shower I travelled to The Hope Trust rehabilitation centre where we had a constructive discussion about recovery from addiction through a residential treatment service including detox services and how our partnership can continue to involve our respective former clients in ongoing addiction recovery. India is the crucible of the world’s spirituality and one of the “test beds of the world” in a variety of social, economic and scientific advances.

The Hope Trust and Addictions UK will be researching during this week whether we can offer further Indian based training for people who have achieved significant progress in recovery in the United Kingdom. The best way to maintain sobriety and clean time is to follow a programme of continuous and day to day study. Hopefully we will be able to publish soon a series of courses in 2015 that will permit more opportunities of examining in depth further details of different recovery programmes all of which will be based on abstinence.

See more about our work in India letter this week. The opportunities for people to examine issues relating to recovery and spirituality are immense.

Day Two

4th September 2014

Hotel Staff

A member of the Hotel Staff

Friday is a beautiful morning here in Hyderabad and the day starts well with a good breakfast. It will be another busy day programme of events most of which will focus on the positive aspects of addictions recovery, good mental health with an even better understanding of how I am powerless within this massive Indian City.

My first visit was to the Hyderabad Social Care Centre – a multi purpose charitable mission. I met Fr. Charles who has experience at working in both India and the United States and who is very aware of the challenges facing people with drug and alcohol problems many of whom receive no treatment or support for their illness. It is the view of many that alcoholics deserve so special assistance. I was grateful to Fr.Charles for sharing information with me and providing me further contacts with people in recovery and medical doctors/hospitals and other rehabs and De-addiction Centres.

Thanks to being introduced by Charles, I met a wonderful man who was 15 years sober and clean who worked as a professional in the city of Hyderabad. He has arranged for me to meet the staff and patients of three hospitals/rehab centres in different parts of the city. These treatment agencies treat people on very low incomes and I look forward to learning from their experiences.

The day concluded with a visit to the well known Historian, Author and Retired Civil Service Mandarin, Mr. Narendra Luther, who has written extensively on he history and culture of Hyderabad. Mr Luther is the Chairman of The Hope Trust Rehabilitation Centre and enjoys a great deal of understanding about addiction within the family as the proud parent of a long tern addict in recovery. I was ultra affixed by the anecdotes he shared with me during the evening session and I cannot wait to read his latest book Legendotes of Hyderabad on my return to the United Kingdom.

Day Three

5th September 2014

Chowmahalla Palace

Chowmahalla Palace Watchtower
Bernard Gagnon – CC BY-SA 3.0

Day Three started on a warm but rainy Saturday – my diary presented a healthy mixture of visits to recovery related social projects or cultural centres of importance including The Chowmahalla Palace – once regarded as the centre of Hyderabad.

The palace was the seat of the Asafoetida Jahi Dynasty where the Nizams entertained Royal visitors. It was built over 200 years ago and is renowned for its unique style and elegance. The Palace has recently been restored and was an amazing site to see with a mix of architectural styles and influences.

I visited The Laad Bazaar – a massive market that was crammed full of people, stalls and shops. I was able to buy most of my souvenirs here and remembered the void advice to sharpen up on my bartering skills. Often Englishmen abroad are spotted from many yards off and receive high pressure sales tactics! The shops sell fabrics, saris, local scents, jewellery and food.

My last visit for retail therapy was FabIndia which is India’s largest private platform for products that are made from traditional techniques, skills and hand-based processes. No bartering is required here as all prices are fair and clearly labelled.

My last meeting was with Dr Vijay Seshadri, Consultant Psychiatrist, who specialised in addictive disorders including addiction treatment. He advises the The Hope Trust in Hyderabad on alcohol addiction treatment and a variety of drug addiction treatment issues including medical detoxing. He is part of a group practice operating from both community locations and hospital settings. Dr Seshadri talked fluently about his role in offering treatment through traditional medical models whilst incorporating spiritual and eclectic methodology.

Day Four

6th September 2014

Small Temple

Small Temple

Meditation is for some people an extremely beneficial part of pursuing recovery from addiction. Our brain sometimes becomes so full of day to day tasks that we cannot function efficiently without resorting to our old behaviours.

Today we visited a spiritual community that teaches meditation and helps people with their own spirituality. Their members come from all over the world and this group have absolutely no interest in converting people from their religion or changing the God of their understanding. It is uncanny how much synergy there is between some spiritual recovery programmes and the main aims and objects of this particular organisation.

A second meeting was arranged today with another highly experienced person in spirituality and recovery from addictions who liaises closely with The Hope Trust in Hyderabad who will be advising Addictions UK on various aspects of our Training on addictive disorder and Spiritual Journeys. She will be able to provide a joined-up analysis of the different choices regarding meditation and other kinds of Spirituality. We plan to visit Ashrams and Meditation Centres. It is hoped that we will be able to incorporate some of the problem areas and taboos which may be identified in some therapeutic methodologies and practices in the addiction treatment organisations.

Today was a National Day of Celebration with major festivities and country wide activities so it was difficult to navigate through the local streets to attend meetings. We were disappointed that some of our meetings had to be cancelled because of the impossible logistics of navigating through the streets.

There will be more to say about our work in India later this week. The opportunities for people to examine issues relating to recovery and spirituality are immense.

Falaknuma Palace

Falaknuma Palace
Bernard Gagnon – CC BY-SA 3.0

Day Five

7th September 2014

My day began with breakfast with a charming Narcotics Anonymous member from London – a pleasant start for the day. International hotels attract some amazing people. Yesterday I had breakfast with two international citizens with homes in the USA, Philippines and India. They too had a child who was in recovery from addiction.

Later that morning we met a small group of men and women who had a great deal of knowledge about alcohol treatment and support in Hyderabad at the Falaknuma Palace – now a luxury hotel managed by the Taj Group. The Palace has extensive grounds and is a stunning example of the best of Hyderabad. Hopefully this Centre of Excellence might be used to host some sessions in the forthcoming Spiritual Learning Journeys and Addiction Treatment Training sessions.

Not far Way from the Palace lies the Salarjung Museum, India’s third largest museum housing a very significant and substantial collection of antiques from all around the world.

After lunch we visited a major Gandhi Organisation and I was thoroughly impressed at the educational materials, digital records and overall structure of the centre. It was interesting that we were given a list of the qualities attributed to the great man and I could not help but think that these were all very good for people in recovery: The list includes Courage, Truth, Peace, Non Violence, Conscience, Integrity, Compassion, Equality, and Service.

The rest of the day was spent shopping, meeting with the staff group at The Hope Trust and enjoying a good evening meal with my fellow hotel companion, the Narcotics Anonymous member from good old London Town. We were able to share some excellent information on supporting addicts with drug and alcohol treatment including detox, and general issues about recovery from addiction.

Day Six

8th September 2014

Staff at the Roman Catholic Rehab

Staff at the Roman Catholic Rehab

I still cannot believe the richness of India’s Spiritual life. There is so much to see here and surely India must be the crucible of the world”s spirituality. Addictions UK has been allowed to see just a few glimpses during the last few days but it has been enough to know that many people in recovery from addiction within this vast country have found not only sobriety and clean time but true serenity. Importantly, we have seen little evidence of evangelism but people can exercise a pick and mix concept to believe in anything they want.

One of India’s richest Buddhist sites is Nagarjunakonda, a historic Buddhist town, now an island 150 km away from Hyderabad. It lies under the Nagarjunasagar Dam. But once was the location of many Universities and Monasteries. The archaeological sites there were dug up and transferred to higher higher ground on the hill which had become an Island. This morning I met a Buddhist follower and enjoyed hearing her stories.

This meeting was followed by a visit to three rehabs in the City of Hyderabad. The first was The Hope Trust, an International Rehab Centre of excellent standard. Addictions UK has been liaising with Rahul Luther and his team now for several months.

The second was at a private hospitalin the city that mainly dealt with detoxification but also manages a de-addiction ward and rooms.

Finally, we visited a rehab managed through the Catholic Church. Sadly, the RC Rehab lacked resources and training for their staff and I was deeply concerned at the plight of the residents and the (very) small staff group.

In the evening, I went to a Fellowship Meeting in Hyderabad and had fantastic meeting in the Anonymous Group.

Day Seven

9th September 2014

Taj Banjara Hotel

Hotel Taj Banjara

This is my last day in Hyderabad during this trip. It has been highly successful and I have deeply appreciated the friendship and hospitality of my hosts. The Hotel Taj Banjara has been an ideal location to set up an office and the suite of rooms that I have rented has been an ideal location in the city for people to come and meet me in the comfort of my office base. All the staff members have been very friendly and I have no hesitation of coming back to this Hotel when we return in 2015.

My first trip of the day was to LV Prassad, an established Social Enterprise specialising in medical/health for people with eye problems. It is a comprehensive eye health facility with its flagship campus in Hyderabad leading a network of 107 tertiary secondary and primary care centres across India. It has assisted 15 million (50 percent free of charge with complex medical help and surgery. It is one of the largest social enterprises in Hyderabad and was a great inspiration to Addictions UK, a very much smaller social enterprise in the UK and which seeks great inspiration from projects such as LV Prassad and the Aravind Eye Hospital – India and the World’s largest social enterprise.

The next visit was to The Hope Trust where we were able to sign an agreement together to continue to work together and to seek to provide even better drug and alcohol support to people in both India and the United Kingdom based on a professional addiction medical intervention and treatment. We discussed in great length the programme for our new 2015 India based Spiritual Learning Journeys and Training Programme which we will be announcing shortly.

The rest of the day was spent with general house-keeping tasks, some last minute shopping and packing. My flight to Dubai left at 10.00 pm and then onto the UK arriving the next day at lunch time. Coming home always seems to take longer because of the time difference and it does not help having a seven hour wait in Dubai.

I was grateful to all the kind friends who made my week in Hyderabad so successful. I cannot wait to return – but next time with other people in recovery from the United Kingdom.

Reflections

I am Gandhi Exhibition

I am Gandhi Exhibition

I have now safely returned home in the United Kingdom after an amazing Learning Journey to India. I was totally inspired by some many of the people whom I was able to meet who shared their strength, experience and hope with me. I met people from all walks of life involved in diverse subjects but the common factor of the journey was “recovery”

Our visit to the major Gandhi exhibition was one of the beacons of my journey. Some people who practice abstinence based recovery believe in powerlessness. For some people they interpret that concept as being totally passive and avoid world changing attempts. The Serenity Prayer teaches me that I should have “the Courage to change the things I can” and that is what Gandhi practiced. His qualities enabled him to live in the moment, not hold resentments and live a life that was an example to us all. Interestingly Gandhi’s son was an alcoholic and eventually died through this illness.

Another great influence during my visit was to look at one of the examples of spiritual communities that practice meditation. I spent half of one day holding meetings with a spiritual Yoga Community that practiced Meditation. There were so much synergy between the 12 Step Programme and this particular spiritual community that we thought it would really very helpful if we could incorporate a visit here during our next Learning Journey to India. For those people who would like to live in the moment, practice their meditation, then India is the place for you!

The Addictions UK website is getting a facelift

Responsive Web Design

We have been delighted over the years at the number of visitors to the Addictions UK website who have commented on how welcoming it looks and how easy it is to find your way to information about home-based addictions and detox treatments and all the other services we offer.

So if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

We have been monitoring a trend which shows people using their mobile phones and tablets to access the Internet. Traditional wide-screen websites are hard to view on some devices – either the font is too small to read or you have to swipe right and left as well as up and down to follow the text and find links to more information.

The old-fashioned, “better than nothing” fix, which we and most others used, was to offer a separate “mobile website” which at least gave a tiny bit of basic information and some contact details.

But we have long been aware that is not the best solution, especially for a website to which addicts and their friends and families may turn in desperation, grabbing whatever Internet-connected device is nearest at hand.

Twitter was one of a few organisations that really faced up to the challenge of making websites work on all sorts of devices. They invited the whole web community to share in the development and deployment of a new system for “Responsive Web Design” which they called “Bootstrap” – a collection of stylesheets and bits of code that would adjust the elements of a web page to flow gracefully into any width of screen.

Addictions UK has been planning for some months to bring this technology to our website and, by happy coincidence, just at the moment we began to deploy the upgrade, the press was reporting the tipping-point when more visits to websites everywhere are coming from phones and tablets than from desktop computers.

So, starting with this Blog we have begun to roll out our new design across the site.

The old, wide menu bar has to go – that’s not adaptable to a little mobile phone screen. But click (or tap on) the drop down menus above for the main sections of the site and you will still find all the familiar links to the information you need about home-based addictions recovery and everything else we offer. For a while, our pages will be a mixture of old and new as we check and revise their contents and update the layout.

We aim to keep our bright and interesting illustrations, so far as is compatible with fitting the pages to every size of screen. So we hope you will see your old friend in a change of clothing rather than a complete new fashion!

If you see anything here that prompts you to comment or to ask for our help, please contact us now on line (using the button at the bottom of every new-design page) or telephone 0300 330 30 40.

Thought: ‘You can never run away from your past but if you run towards your future the past can never hold you back.’

Addictions UK uses Twitter to share inspirational Thoughts every day. This article is based on one of them. Follow us at @addictionsuk.

illustrationIs there anyone whose closet is free of skeletons?

We’ve all done things we regret. Sometimes we hope our mistakes have been forgotten but too often their effects linger and are inescapable.

The past is established and immutable. There’s nothing we can do about it … well, except to keep it behind us and move on.

This is not to belittle consequence. We and, maybe more importantly, others have to live with what we have done. But the future is all about possibility and potential and need not be crippled by the past.

Who you were need not define who you are, still less who you can be.

We all know how important it is that someone who has been addicted to drugs or alcohol or anything else is ever alert to the danger of relapse. Addiction is an incurable disease. But here’s a controversial Thought: maybe calling ourselves “recovering addicts” can sometimes focus too much on where we were, not where we are or where we are going.

We should not deny the past but neither should we be enslaved by it.

Move on. Look to the future. Strive to become. Let the daemons gnaw on their own memories, not on your potential.

Those who are blind to the past are doomed to repeat it but those whose eyes are fixed on it are doomed to stumble and never move forward.

You messed up. Move on.

Please contact us now if you need help with recovery from any addiction and especially if you are seeking home-based treatment.