Friday, August 5, 2011

Update From Accra

It's been five months since our last posting.  Lots of things have been happening with Hopeful Way Foundation this year.  Byron Merriweather has been with us in Ghana and living in the Oxford House for five months and returns to Richmond on 8 August, Dr. Al Mooney was in Ghana for a three week period in June, Mike Conway came for two weeks from South Africa and led two Big Book Study sessions and Larry Gaines will be coming for two weeks in August.  The Hopeful Way Oxford House had an open house on 18 June and is now also known as the "Bill Moore House".  Three volunteer Hopeful Way Extension Workers were appointed in May, two for a period of six months and one for three months.  They are charged with making an extra effort to make the Oyarifa House a success, to move towards the starting of additional houses and to go to extra lengths to carry the AA message.  A Steering Committee has been put in place to help strengthen the Oyarifa House and to help start new houses.  Dr. Eugene Dordoye will be travelling on 7 August to begin a ten month Humphry Fellowship to study addiction and recovery at John Hopkins University in the U.S.  This committee will be inaugurated on 6 August where Byron and Dr. Eugene will be given a send off party.  Seminars have been held for healthcare workers at hospitals in Accra, Koforidua and Akosombo.  People are again talking about starting Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs).  Mary Bapuuroh and her supporters are doing good work in Way where Byron went for four days in May.  Damien will be coming from Wa to spend a week at the Bill Moore House.  He will learn the Oxford House approaches and perhaps set up a house in Wa.  Visits are being made to Nsuta in the Volta Region where AA meetings are being started.  More will be written about the above in the coming days. 

Monday, February 28, 2011

Hopeful Way House Highlighted on Voice of America News

An article published by Voice of America News discusses the Hopeful Way House and the growing problem of addiction facing Ghana. Click on the link to read the story.

Monday, January 17, 2011

2010 Developments and 2011 Plans

I see that it has been over six months since my last blog entry. Sorry for not being very good at keeping the blog up to date. I will try to do better. Agnes and I are still living in the Washington, DC area but have moved down the street from our apartment in Bethesda, Maryland to 4242 East West Highway #1019, Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815. My cell phone is still 202-255-5886 and my e-mail is The items mentioned below will be covered in more detail in this blog in the coming weeks.

The year 2010 has been a good one for Hopeful Way Foundation and Oxford House in Oyarifa-Accra. Dan and Agnes O'Laughlin spent the entire year in the Washington, DC area dealing with Dan's medical issues. They plan to return to Accra in early April, 2011 for a stay of about five months.

Oxford House - The house was opened in mid-2009 with one resident, and by December, 2010 had seven persons living in a house that provides a safe living environment for recovery from addiction to alcohol or drugs. Under the day to day guidance of Dr. Eugene Dordoye, Hopeful Way Foundation provided the guidance to the house that is normally given by the Oxford House structures for its 1,300 houses in the U.S. The house has experienced some growing pains with regard to democratic control and the lack of a fuller program of activities to foster recovery of the residents. It has been proposed that the house be converted into one with more structure and activities, and that a more traditional Oxford House be rented for use by those who are further along in recovery.

Dr. Joseph Asare – As chairman of Hopeful Way Foundation, Dr. Asare has continued to make himself available to provide guidance and encouragement for our efforts in furthering recovery in Ghana. When needed, Dr. Asare steps in to put us back on the right track.

Dr. Eugene Dordoye - Eugene has taken up the main responsibility for furthering sobriety and the objectives of the house. He has made himself available to assist with the resolution of many issues in the house and has participated in many of the Skype sessions led by Dr. Al Mooney. We all thank Dr. Dordoye for his tireless efforts.

Logosu Amegashie - Each Friday Mr. Amegashie has been going to the house to lead the residents in a study of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. The sessions have been very much appreciated by the residents and others who participate in the sessions. Emphasis is placed on the need to obtain sponsors to work the steps.

The Professionals – In addition to the three professionals mentioned above, thanks goes to the many other professionals who have supported the activities of HWF, particularly the Oxford House. Other persons have made regular visits to the house to support the recovery of the residents.

Alcoholics Anonymous – Keeping in mind that AA, Oxford House and HWF are separate and independent organizations, thanks go to the many personalities in AA who have given of their time and experiences to help carry the message that the many promises listed in the Big Book can be achieved one day at a time.

Back to Basics – Kirt, Byron and Dan have been attending meetings and studying the "Back to Basics" approach to working the twelve steps of AA (see It is a guide to working the steps in four one-hour sessions, as outlined in the Big Book" of AA. The Back to Basics meetings were used with much success in the 1940s and 1950s. An effort will be made to utilize the Twi translation of the Big Book to work the steps.

Byron Merriweather - Byron plans on returning to Accra for a three month stay beginning in mid-February, 2011. He will stay at the Oxford House in Oyarifa and share his experiences as an extension worker for Oxford House, Inc. in the U.S. Byron will share the Oxford House materials and methods used in conflict resolution.

Skype Sessions - Dr. Al Mooney of Willingway Foundation has graciously conducted about six Skype sessions with members of the house and others. The sessions have dealt with medical aspects of addiction and recovery based on the principles used in his Recovery Handbook and by the Willingway Hospital in Statesboro, Georgia (see He has also shared his more than 30 years of experience with helping to carry the message of the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Dr. Al Mooney Visit to Ghana - Dr. Al has agreed to come to Ghana for 2-3 weeks in June, 2011 to share his experiences and expertise with the medical and other aspects of recovery as experienced in various rehabilitation facilities in the U.S., including The Healing Place located in Raleigh, North Carolina. Hopeful Way Foundation will be arranging a program for Dr. Al with the Ministry of Health, the Narcotics Control Board and others.

Willingway Hospital & The Healing Place - Dan and Agnes spent three months at these two recovery facilities in 2010. We were wonderfully received and learned a lot that may be adapted for use in Ghana. Our experiences at Willingway Hospital were described in a blog entry of 6 June.

National Institute of Health - Dan met with the National Institute of Alcohol and Alcoholism (NIAAA) of the NIH to inform them about the activities of Hopeful Way Foundation and to look into areas of possible collaboration. NIAAA expressed an interest in our efforts in Ghana, particularly with respect to training and research.

Dr. Shawn Reynolds - Shawn was ever ready to assist HWF in the areas of research which could lead up to the holding of a seminar on Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). He also published an editorial in the Daily Graphic on local preparations for enacting the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Alcohol Control.  Shawn was also the designer of the web site for HWF ( and helped with the development of this blog. He is working on a proposal for possible submission to NIAAA or others on the establishment of EAPs in Ghana.

Faces and Voices of Recovery - With the view of establishing collaboration, Dan and Agnes met with the executive director of Faces and Voices of Recovery in Washington, DC. The purpose of the organization is to further recovery advocacy and awareness campaigns (see and is "committed to organizing the millions of Americans in long term recovery from alcohol and other drug addiction". They are particularly concerned with fostering more positive public perceptions of recovery. They too are interested in the recovery activities in Ghana.

Kirt and Hilda Bromley - Kirt and Hilda will be traveling to Ghana for about five months in January and would like to establish a recovery house in Kukurantumi based on the Oxford House principles. For a more detailed description of their upcoming visit, see Kirt's posting to the blog dated December 24, 2010. Kirt has been of tremendous benefit to recovery in Ghana and has taken the lead in translating the Big Book into Twi.

DePaul University Evaluation – HWF is fortunate to have DePaul University preparing to conduct an evaluation of OH/Oyarifa. Over the past ten years, DePaul has been studying Oxford Houses in order to better understand the role they play in recovery from addiction to alcohol and drugs.

Recovery Africa – With the assistance of Dr. Al, Kirt and others, Dan is looking into the possibility of establishing an NGO in the U.S. to support the efforts of HWF and others in Ghana and Africa. A possible name for the NGO is “Recovery Africa”.