COALITION FOR ADDICTION RECOVERY CHOICES
What is “recovery” from addiction? It affects millions of people in the UK, but most cannot answer the question.
“People in recovery and those who have power over their lives have a right to be consulted about how recovery is perceived,” urged Addiction Recovery Foundation CEO Deirdre Boyd, who is also editor of Addiction Today journal.
“This is not as simplistic as whether they are alcohol- and drug-free but also whether the underlying reasons have been addressed adequately so that they stay healthy, rebuild healthy family and other relationships – for example, how can an employer or potential employer assess if they can be trusted with sensitive jobs? When is an impaired lawyer ‘recovered enough’ to get their licence back? – right through to gaining the right to fill in a mortgage-application form truthfully without being penalised, to get health and life insurance cover without being penalised, to be accepted by their GP, to be reinstated at university. All the people involved have different views on what recovery is – and they are not all accurate or helpful.”
“For people affected by addiction to receive better treatment, ongoing support and assistance with reintegration into society, it is vital that the recovering community, treatment providers, healthcare and insurance services, educational bodies, commercial organisations and government work together in order to improve the lives of both addicts and their families,” confirmed The Recovery Network CEO Dan Butcher. “Improvements can be achieved only with continued dialogue and input between these key organisations and groups.”
The unanswered questions are why representatives from a range of stakeholders – including the Addiction Recovery Foundation, The Recovery Network and the Unity Group – have called for a consensus-driven, open dialogue to evolve common language about the continuum of recovery, and what recovery means to those whose work decisions, family members or lives are connected to it.
These stakeholders – too long neglected in this crucial issue – range from people in recovery themselves to insurance actuaries to business HR departments to the DVLA to university admissions departments to treatment providers and commissioners as well as healthcare professionals. Just as their needs are different, so is their understanding and application of “ recovery”. No one definition can fill the needs of all; but a common language could enable flexible, efficient practices to better address the needs of all stakeholders.
“It is high time that drug- and alcohol-treatment providers started communicating more with each other – and educating non-professionals – to benefit the client,” commented Brian Dudley, chair of the Unity group of multi-approach treatment organisations, and CEO of Broadway Lodge, the UK’s longest-established abstinence-based addiction-treatment centre. “Within this specialist treatment field, addictive illness is understood, even if we do not always agree on the different types of treatment. But outside the field, preconceived ideas dominate: education is needed.”
All stakeholders must be involved in creating a new lexicon. The Foundation has long campaigned for this. Now, as part of the Coalition for Addiction Choices group, it and others will start at the UKESAD symposium 8-10 May, to reach out to as more stakeholders for thoughts and feedback on how best to effect this process.
If you have an interest in participating, please click here.
Click here for the Addiction Recovery Foundation’s details.
Click here for The Recovery Network’s details.
Click here for Unity Group details (to be updated).
Click here for UKESAD details.
Click here for Advocacy with Anonymity.