Sunday, June 6, 2010

Dan & Agnes Visit to Willingway Hospital and The Healing Place

From 3 March, 2010 to the present, June 6, we have been on the road studying a variety of approaches to help deal with recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction.  We expect to arrive back in Bethesda/Washington, DC on June 15.
On March 3 we drove from Bethesda to Richmond, Virginia where we met Byron Merriweather the Oxford House representative who spent six weeks in 2009 with Hopeful Way Foundation in Ghana.  Byron brought us up to date on his work in Virginia and gave us a tour of an Oxford House in Richmond.  We were impressed by the emphasis that residents placed on attending AA meetings, working the 12 steps and participating in activites of the Fellowships of AA and NA. 

From Richmond we drove to Raleigh, North Carolina and spent a week in the area with Dr. Al Mooney of the Willingway Foundation.  Through mutual contacts in Egypt, Dr. Al made our three month study visit possible.  We first had a brief look at The Healing Place in Raleigh, a halfway house in the area and a continuing care group for former patients of Willingway Hospital. We then drove to Willingway Hospital, located 370 miles to the south in Statesboro, Georgia ( where we spent two months.  The hospital was established in 1971, has 40 hospital beds and has treated over 20,000 patients and family members. A highly dedicated staff provides excellent care including detoxification, inpatient, outpatient and extended care for both men and women.  The treatment and group sessions at Willingway are based on the approaches of AA, NA and Al-Anon.  Former patients of Willingway Hospital attend weekly "continuing care" meetings in about fifteen cities, mainly in the southern part of the U.S.  The entire staff of the hospital treated us like royalty.  We were most fortunate to attend the homecoming celebration of Willingway Hospital where over 400 former patients and friends came to Statesboro on the weekend of April 23.  In my next blog entry I will describe some of the activities of Willingway Foundation and how they could benefit our efforts in Ghana.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Six Month Report

Hopeful Way Foundation
c/o Social Advance Institute
P.O. Box AN 5547
Tel: 024-355-8412

Fourth Report to Oversight Committee

20 March, 2010

This document is the fourth written report to the members of the informal “Oversight Committee” of the Hopeful Way Foundation (H.W.F.) and other interested persons. The purpose of the Committee is to give guidance to H.W.F. and its Hopeful Way/Oxford House. The report covers the period 1st September, 2009 to 28 February, 2010. Persons who have agreed to serve on the Oversight Committee (others may be added) of the H.W.F. are as follows:

1) Archbishop Dominic Andoh
2) Dr. J.J. Lamptey
4) Dr. Akwasi Osei
5) Dr. Anna Puklo-Dzadey
6) Rev. David Obli
7) Mr. Logosu Amegashie

Copies to:

1. Dr. Joseph Asare (Chairman of the Board)
2. Dr. Eugene Dordoye (Board Member)
3. Dan O’Laughlin (Board Member)
4. Mrs. Agnes O’Laughlin (Board Member)
5. Ms. Theresa O’Laughlin (Board Member)
6. Dr. Araba Sefa-Dedeh
7. Dr. Sammy Ohene
8. Dr. Eric Nsiah Boakye
9. Dr. Shawn Reynolds
10. Pastor Henry Augustt
11. Mr. Nortey Dua
12. Rev. Ray Lartey
13. Mr. Sampson Yenu
14. Mr. Kirt Bromley & Mrs. Hilda Bromley
15. Dr. Helga Kleinkowski
16. Dr. Howard K. Gershenfeld
17. Nurse Mary Bapuuroh

Members of the informal Oversight Committee are personalities who have agreed to provide guidance to Hopeful Way and its efforts to overcome addiction to drugs and alcohol. Members of the Committee will continue to be provided with periodic information and reports, and will be approached for guidance on an individual basis by members of the Hopeful Way board. Subject to the availability of the members of the Committee, meetings will be held from time to time. As reported previously to the Oversight Committee, the Hopeful Way Foundation was set up as follows:



Board Members

The H. W. F. was registered on 17 September, 2008 under the Companies Code of Ghana 1963

1) To assist in providing housing and a protective environment for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts;

2) To provide information, awareness and training on the dangers of alcohol and drug use;

3) To promote positive approaches to living, particularly among the youth and families of alcoholics and drug addicts;

4) To make use of creative approaches for personal development.

Board members are Dr. Joseph Asare, Dr. Eugene Dordoye, Agnes O’Laughlin and Daniel O’Laughlin, Theresa O’Laughlin.

Dr. Shawn Reynolds, Ph.D. is a consultant to H.W.F.

1) Hopeful Way/ Oxford House – Focus in 2009 was on the opening up and development of H.W.H. located in Oyarifa/Pantang, Accra . Residents began to move into the house on 20 June, and a staff member of Oxford House International began a six week stay in the house in July. Initially there were five residents in the house, and by March, 2010 there were six residents, each paying monthly rent of GHC75.00. The house gained temporary registration with O.H. International in September, 2009. Beginning in January, 2010 the landlords agreed to pay on a temporary basis the electricity and gas expenses. A key principle in the operation of the house is financial self-sufficiency. The Hopeful Way board believes that this principle is important if additional Oxford Houses are to be opened in Ghana .

2) Oxford House International – A representative of Oxford House International, Byron Merriweather, was in Ghana from 21 July, to 31 August, 2009. He is a staff member of OH and has extensive experience in starting and operating recovery houses in the U.S. Byron stayed in Oxford House in Accra and helped set up operating procedures. Residents were trained in methods used by OH International. He may be able to return to Accra for a couple of months later in 2010. As a contribution to this report, Byron emphasized the importance of maintaining a safe, stable and sober environment in Oxford Houses by having: 1) Zero tolerance for use of alcohol or drugs; 2) No disruptive behavior; and 3) Non-payment of shared expenses (rent and fines) unacceptable. The Oxford House web site is

3) Hopeful Way Website - With the assistance of Dr. Shawn Reynolds, the Hopeful Way Foundation website has been relocated to a new address. Visit the website at to download papers and materials presented at the last training for counselors and organizations. You will also find access to assessment tools, educational papers, handouts and posters. A notice of the new website address was placed on the Blog, which is accessible from the website or directly at .

4) Paper on Ghana 's National Alcohol Policy - Dr. Shawn Reynolds, adviser to H.W.F., wrote a paper on Ghana 's efforts to draft a policy to reduce the harm caused by alcohol use in the country. Ghana ’s Ministry of Health has begun drafting a policy that is in line with the World Health Organization’s Global Policy to reduce harmful alcohol use. The article encourages citizens to support and promote the development of WHO policies, such as licensing and taxing the current informal aktepeshie and palm wine sales. The article also suggests limiting alcohol advertising to only print media and only displays of the product and labeling – no smiling faces enjoying themselves.

5) Twelve Step Training – In conjunction with the Addictive Diseases Unit, H.W.F. conducted a residential training program from 23-28 August for six members of the house and others. Mr. Amegashie and Byron Merriweagther took the lead in conducting the sessions which took place at the house and at the ADU. As part of the training, the participants attended several regularly scheduled AA and NA meetings at hospitals and other venues in Accra .

6) Scholarship/Financial Assistance Fund – For persons who are fully qualified to enter into the HWH but do not have the finances to pay all of the rent, a fund has been created under the care of Dr. Helga. The fund was started with a donation of GHC1,000 (One Thousand) and is to be used only in exceptional cases. The modalities for using the fund have not yet been finalized but use of the fund will be for short term residents.

7) Activities for Residents – A major challenge for the house and H.W.F. is to assist the residents to keep busy with useful activities, including income generating efforts. Oxford Houses themselves do not traditionally take on this responsibility but H.W.F. would like to help in this area. Dr. Eugene, Dr. Helga and the Bromleys have assisted the residents make plans to develop a vegetable garden, rabbit raising and other activities in the compound of the house. Kirt and Hilda have also agreed to assist in starting a library in the house. (See the attachment to this report for details)

8) Addictive Diseases Unit – H.W.F. supported some activities of the Addictive Diseases Unit during the past six months, including an end of year gathering in December, 2009. Some AA literature was provided to the A.D.U. and Mr. Amegashie provided his technical support, experience and guidance in return.

9) Funding for H.W.F. – Currently, funding for the Foundation comes from the O’Laughlin family. While limited funding is available, it is enabling the H.W.F to pursue some of its basic objectives. Consideration is being given to raising additional funds from organisations and the general public. The O’Laughlins own the house currently being rented by the residents. Rent paid by the residents go into the general fund of H.W.F. It is expected that the house will be used for a limited period of time until another house is rented. It has been proposed that a fundraising effort be made in order to secure a vehicle to deliver better services,

10) Other Activities Related to HWF – In addition to overseeing H.W.H., during the past six months, Hopeful Way Foundation (H.W.F.), developed relationships with organizations, participated in several meetings and conducted a variety of sessions on addiction and recovery, including following:

a) De Paul University - In January, 2010 Dr. Jason Leonard, head of the Center for Community Research at DePaul University in Chicago contacted HWF to see if they could collect information from residents of the Oxford House in Accra. The survey would be used to help strengthen the Accra house and to describe the development of Oxford Houses outside of the U.S. DePaul has been evaluating Oxford House for the past 20 years. The HWH board agreed that a questionnaire could be developed with the involvement of Dr. Reynolds but it should be kept in mind that the house in Ghana has been established only recently.

b) Willingway Foundation – In March, 2010 Dan and Agnes O’Laughlin began participating in a three month “fellowship” with Willingway Foundation located in North Carolina and Georgia . The Foundation was established in 1977 as a non-profit charitable extension of Willingway Hospital in Statesboro , Georgia . The hospital and foundation specialize in the treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction. The Hospital opened in 1971 and has provided inpatient treatment for over fifteen thousand patients. Dr. Al Mooney is a key personality at Willingway. He has 35 years experience in addiction and family medicine, and co-authored the Recovery Book which is widely read in the United States . Their web site is

c) Activities in Wa - A relationship has been maintained during the past six months with Mrs. Mary Bapuuroh who is actively involved with recovery efforts in Wa, Upper West. H.W. F. sponsored two visits to Wa to support Mary’s efforts. Some chairs were also purchased for use by Mary in her counseling sessions. Mary is a retired nurse who is seeking resources to further her work in the Upper West Region of Ghana.

d) Oxford House Convention – Oxford House U.S.A. holds its annual meeting this year in Chicago from 2-4 September. Dan will make an effort to attend the meeting to learn more about the workings of Oxford Houses in the U.S and in other countries.

e) Proposed Recovery House in Kukurantumi – Kirt and Hilda Bromley constructed a house near Kukurantumi which they intend to use as a recovery house. To assist in making the house operational, they have been in contact with H.W.F. and Oxford House International. They have also been instrumental in assisting the house in Oyarifa in various ways.

11) Travel of the O’Laughlin – Dan and Agnes traveled to the U.S. on 1st September and, due to medical and personal reasons, and are not expected return to Ghana until early 2011.

Prepared by

Dan O’Laughlin
Hopeful Way Foundation
(Temporary Address)
4400 East West Highway Apt. No. 425
Bethesda, Maryland 20814
U.S. A.

Tel: 1-202-255-5886

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hopeful Way Website

The Hopeful Way Foundation website has been relocated to a new address. Visit the website at to download papers and materials presented at the last training for counselors and organizations. You will also find access to assessment tools, educational papers, handouts and posters.

Please also return to this blog and post your comments about the website using the forms below.  Tell us what you do not like about the website, and suggest changes or additions that will make the website better.