Sunday, July 6, 2014

Georgia Southern University in Ghana 2014

Georgia Southern University is sending nine students and a staff person to do recovery work in Accra beginning today, July 6.  This will be their third trip to Ghana where lots has been done to help carry the message of recovery, particularly in Cape Coast. The Director of the GSU Center for Addiction recovery, Ms. Emily Eisenhart, says that “I have fallen in love forever with the country, people, and culture and never wants to stop trying to help people in Ghana and all over Africa to find ways into recovery”.   Led by Christina Beslin, a group of seven from GSU are currently in Accra where they have a full program at the House of St. Francis, at the Oyarifa Oxford House, Pantang Hospital, Addictive Diseases Unit and more. 

Texas Tech University in Ghana Again


In 2012/13 the Texas Tech Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery sent over 15 staff and students to help RA carry the message of recovery to Ghana.  The impact has been huge on everyone concerned.  Thomas Kimball, Ph.D., the director of the center has decided not to send large groups to Ghana but to do something more sustainable over the long run.  The vision “is to have two Texas Tech graduate students spend a semester in Ghana working with the House of St. Francis and other RA programs.  Ideally, there would be TTU students in Ghana for the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters.”  Dr. Kimball adds: “Everyone so far that I have talked to is excited about this. I think it will be very beneficial for these students and your work in Ghana.” To begin the new collaboration, Ladd Hight is currently in Ghana for a two month stay assisting and learning about a variety of treatment and recovery programs.  He said: “Since arriving in Ghana my life has been changed. It’s unlike anything I could have imagined.  The staff at the HSF is amazing. They are really invested in their clients’ recovery and well-being.  The clients are passionate about their recovery and the twelve steps. They’ve also taught me about the food and the proper Ghanaian way to eat it. It’s been fun and refreshing learning about another culture firsthand.”

Jerry Moe Visits Ghana


Jerry Moe of the Hazelden Betty Ford Center visited Ghana from May 30 to June 8 to do training at Recovery Africa/Hopeful Way Foundation programs.  His training methods and materials have changed the way Ghana’s recovery movement looks at the “disease concept” of addiction.  In his report to RA, Jerry said:  “Thanks for an amazing experience during my recent visit. Many, many really good things are happening in Ghana when it comes to treatment and recovery”.  In his trip report, Jerry suggested that the House of St. Francis make more systematic use of professionals, provide additional support for HSF staff and team up with a local university to develop outcome studies.  Regarding the Oyarifa Oxford House, he called for a much more structured approach with residents involved with work/volunteer programs.  He urged RA to “make the house shine so prospective residents would want to live there”.  Based on a National Commission on Civic Education arranged visit to Jamestown in Accra, Jerry suggests that the youth in the area go to the House of St. Francis to be trained by the residents to “carry a strong anti-drug message.  I see this as a huge WIN/WIN possibility.” 

Jerry also did a group with young children, coordinated by the National Commission on Civic Education, in Jamestown. In describing the experience, Jerry said, “Halfway through the group, you could see the emotions so clearly etched on the children’s beautiful faces. At the appropriate moment, I asked these courageous youth if they were growing up in a family like mine. Five immediately raised their hands in the air while others contemplated what to do. Thirty seconds passed, and now everyone’s hand was raised. While they looked around the group, I said ‘You are not alone, and it’s not your fault.’ A few of the children started to cry while others nodded affirmatively.”

Saturday, June 14, 2014

We Lost Delali

Today, June 14, 2014, the 39 year old Delali S. was laid to rest at a service held at City God Church in Accra, Ghana.  The hundreds of mourners included seven from the House of St. Francis (HSF) family.  Delali had been a much loved resident and alumni of the HSF for over a year; he passed away on May 3 after an illness which got the best of him.  A generous and gifted person “with a high IQ, exceptional talents and excellent human relation skills”, Delali will be greatly missed.  The pastor at today’s service said: “This is the most honest funeral that I have ever attended. The family asked for forgiveness for the shortcomings of Delali; The Lord says ‘I like that’”.   
 
The program for the funeral paid tribute to Delali’s many achievements and went on to say: “The last 15 years of his life, Delali battled with dependence on Pethidine, a painkiller belonging to the Opiate family.  This very powerful painkiller was used in treating the pain of sickle cell borne pain crisis from is teens.  He struggled with this dependence for about five years before it came to the family’s notice.  Over the past ten years he gave a good fight.  Those of us who cared about him felt he should have fought harder but alas we don’t understand the hold of addiction over a person’s life.  The last two years of his life, he found a new family in the House of St. Francis, a rehab house for people with drug dependency problems.  They were a superb family!  They accepted him as one of their own and their rehab programme brought Delali a renewed sense of dignity and self-worth.  He also drew closer to God while there.”  For more information see tributes at “rememberingdela.com”. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Dr. Gerald Marti Visits Ghana


Dr. Gerald Marti Visits Ghana

 

Hopeful Way Foundation/Recovery Africa was privileged to host Dr. Gerald Marti to Ghana from 10 – 23 May, 2014.  Dr. Marti has a long career of working with various forms of addiction and the organizations in the U.S. which are involved with prevention, treatment and recovery.  His visit did much to enrich recovery work and to carry the message of recovery in Ghana.  As detailed in his report, Dr. Marti participated in over 10 meetings and training sessions during his visit.  He often said that “I came to Ghana to learn, to find out how lesions learned in the U.S. could benefit Ghana; how recovery in North America could benefit experiences in Ghana”.  He believes that lessons learned from the long time use of marijuana in Ghana could be of use in seeing how the legalization of Marijuana in the U.S. may have unexpected results.  He believes that the recovery movements in Ghana and the U.S. could benefit from closer collaboration. 

 

At a meeting with the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), officials expressed a particular interest in obtaining research findings on the effectiveness of drug courts in the U.S.  They explained to Dr. Marti their interest in examining the feasibility of establishing such courts in Ghana.  Dr. Marti also conducted four training sessions for the staff of Pantang Psychiatric Hospital and their drug and alcohol Treatment Center.  Various aspects of treatment and recovery were discussed, with emphasis on the need for after care follow-up programs.  Meetings at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital and Valley View Clinic provided opportunities for explaining about the House of St. Francis and Oxford House.  In his presentation at the University of Ghana’s Psychiatric Department, Dr. Marti expressed his wish that Ghana and the U.S. could learn by exchanging recovery experiences. 

 

An important part of Dr. Marti’s visit to Ghana consisted of three Back to Basics training sessions conduced for the staff and clients of the House of St. Francis.  He also shared his experiences at a HSF family meeting with over 50 clients and family members present.  Counseling and the hearing of 5th steps was well received.  In a visit to the Kuo Tufo Oxford House and treatment center in Kukurantuim, Dr. Gerald provided valuable information on the medical and twelve-step aspects of treatment and recovery. 

 

Reflecting on his visit to Ghana, Dr. Gerald said that he “liked the people, their culture, their food and the market places”.  On a more important note he was impressed by the grasp of the 12th step in their recovery programs.  Ghanaians I recovery seemed to intuitively know that they had to give it away in order to keep it.  To that end, several individuals are planning on returning to their home areas to start 12 step meetings in order to maintain their sobriety and to carry the massage.  Very impressive.   

Monday, March 17, 2014

Lonnetta Albright Supports Recovery in Africa

Great Lakes ATTC – Great Lakes ATTC – Lonnetta Albright is Executive Director of the Great Lakes Addiction Technology Transfer Center at the University of Illinois /Jane Addams College of Social Work. Her regional ATTC leads the ATTC Network in Recovery-Oriented System Transformation efforts. She led the 2008 NIATx-ATTC pilot with the Detroit ROSC provider network as well as other county, state, regional and national ROSC transformation efforts. Under a PEPFAR sub-grant she led her ATTC’s ROSC efforts in Tanzania, Africa to train and build capacity within the substance use disorders systems and recovery community. During her 15 year tenure with the ATTC she chaired the National ATTC Criminal Justice committee; NIDA/SAMHSA-ATTC Blending Team to disseminate research results from the Motivational Incentives for Enhanced Drug Abuse Recovery, and is past co-chair of the ATTC Recovery Committee. “What I believe really helps people, families and communities achieve recovery-health-wellness is essentially what they tell us works. Recovery is personal, transformative and it depends on the entire community (formal and informal networks). I personally witnessed this as the daughter of a recovering alcoholic father who in partnership with his family, friends, employer and community enjoyed over 30 years in recovery prior to his passing at 92 years of age. Rather than focusing solely on evidence based clinical practices that revolve exclusively around treatment, government, health care and research entities our ATTC broadens its mission to include dissemination of emerging models and promising practices for designing and delivering recovery support services; leadership development and capacity building within the recovery community; and developing recovery community organizations.”

Friday, February 28, 2014

Janis is part of the Recovery Africa Family

Janis Omide says that I am a person who was “called” to help people recover from the disease of addiction.  I was introduced to the alcohol/drug treatment “field” in the 90’s and witnessed it grow into a profession.  I have a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling for addiction, and I am a certified substance abuse counselor.  However, my most valued accomplishment has been learning and living the 12-steps of recovery.  My greatest reward comes from witnessing the transformation of others in body, mind and spirit.  I am interested in Recovery Africa because I witnessed Byron Merriweather struggle in his addiction and grow in his recovery—and he invited me to the team.  I support the late Father Martin’s goal:  to ease the suffering of individuals and families, around the world, affected by addiction. I see Recovery Africa (RA) as the pioneer for providing leadership and resources for addiction treatment, prevention and recovery for African stakeholders wanting to address problems faced by people in need of treatment for addiction. 
Using a network of professionals and evidence-based resources from The United States, RA will be able to share proven programs, policies, information, data and funding to help implement effective programs in Africa—while acting on the disease-model and knowledge that treatment is effective, prevention works, and people recover.