Saturday, December 8, 2012

Thank You Del Ray!!!

Hopeful Way Foundation, Oxford Houses and the House of St. Francis are being supported by numerous groups in the U.S., including members of the Del Ray Club.  Located in Bethesda, Maryland, two groups at Del Ray, Sunrise and Back to Basics, are taking the lead in supporting our work and “carrying the message” to Ghana.  Books and materials are donated, networking is facilitated, expertise is provided and financial donations are made.  Personalities at Del Ray have introduced us to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism(NIAAA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) and the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).  Over 20 persons from Del Ray came to our Embassy of Ghana event on September 27.  We met a professional fundraiser at Del Ray who comes to our fundraising meetings at Oxford House, Inc.  He also helps us with proposal writing and has expressed a willingness to come to Accra in 2013 to help set up a fundraising committee in support of the House of St. Francis.  The president of the Maryland Chapter of ASAM gives us great advice and may even come to Ghana for a visit.  On behalf of the recovery community in Ghana, Thank You Del Ray Club. 


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Internet Radio Show with House of St. Francis on Nov. 10, 2012

It has been over a month since our momentous event at the Embassy of the Republic of Ghana. Among our distinguished guest speakers that evening was Mr. Lee Manley. Mr. Manley hosts a local radio show called “Lee’s Happy Hour” on Rock the Flow’s website at The show airs from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. (EST) each Saturday. The show’s themes center on treatment and recovery, with an emphasis on living happy and productive lives without alcohol or drugs. On Saturday November 10th, Byron Merriweather and some of the residents from the House of St. Francis will call into the show from Ghana!! We encourage you to tune in if you can! Dan called into the show last week.

The direct link to Lee Manley’s show (please scroll to the bottom of the page):


Monday, October 8, 2012

Byron Report for Sept. 27 Ghana Embassy Event

Report from Byron in Ghana
September 22, 2012

I arrived in Accra, Ghana on April 16, 2012.  After months of collaboration with the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra; planning with Hopeful Way Foundation board members (along with key people in the recovery community of Ghana); and physical preparation with help from Hopeful Way Oxford House – Oyarifa members (along with Gustavo Aguilar Marco, a volunteer worker from Sweden), the 40-bed rehabilitation center named House of St. Francis opened August 1, 2012.  This treatment facility utilizes Recovery Dynamics as a curriculum for 12 step recovery along with the Healing Place social model of Therapeutic Community and concept of non-medical detoxification. It is initially designed to provide a needy client with 3 to 6 months of inpatient care. Our first two resident clients were relapses from Oxford House – Oyarifa.  Currently, there are five resident male clients. As a result of many serious inquiries about the house by potential women prospects, a decision will be been made regarding the accommodation of women in the House of St. Francis as well as men. We have envisioned the challenges of having women and men in the same facility and determined that if we could obtain the staff necessary to handle both genders, it could be done successfully. We may also set up a separate Oxford House for women.

 I am now beginning to receive some needed help in running the facility. Two resident nurses from Accra Psychiatric Hospital (one male and one female) are on board to assist in providing individual counseling for both male and female clients.  The two extension workers from the Oxford House – Oyarifa are in training to assist in presenting the Recovery Dynamics curriculum to the clients. Hopeful Way Foundation board members Dr. Joseph Asare president, Dr. Eugene Dordoye and Mr. Logosu Amegashie (Korle-Bu Hospital Addictive Disease Unit head) are also ready to assist in family and individual counseling when they can be available.  Araba Sefa-Dedeh (Accra Psychiatric Hospital & Korle Bu Hospital Women’s Psychiatric Unit Counselor/Professor) has come on board to assist in providing counseling for the potential women clients. Meanwhile, the search for a separate facility for women clients is a work in progress.

 We envision House of St. Francis to ‘pipeline’ the human resources needed to establish more Oxford Houses in the near future. Each of the five current resident clients has agreed to transition into an Oxford House either in Oyarifa or a planned new house in Tema.  More will be revealed.  The existing two Oxford Houses, one in Oyarifa, Ghana has six members currently and efforts are being made to reopen the Oxford House - Came to Believe in Kukurantumi. Currently, through much patience and perseverance, Pantang Hospital TC Unit (REHAB) is now fully supporting our Oxford Houses with clients from their six-month in-patient treatment program.  I am still working towards establishing a woman/woman with children Oxford House. This I believe will happen sooner than later. There may be a need for a woman from OHI to come to assist in this project soon.

 There currently exist, 13 AA/NA 12-step meetings in the Accra Metropolitan area. Three new venues for AA/NA meetings in the Tema/Ashiaman area have been identified to start having meetings.  The Brain Clinic and Tema Sleep Centre, which will open its first meeting Saturday September 29, 2012, Tema General Hospital and Blessed Clementina Catholic Church in Ashiaman, are expected to open soon.

 Public Information talks via the press, radio and television have been established more this year than any of the previous years combined.  These platforms, I believe, are needed to help reduce the stigma of the disease of addiction. The PI talks can expedite the process of embracing the viable solutions available to help eradicate the problem of alcoholism and drug addiction in Ghanaian society today.

 The collaborative efforts from Dr. Al Mooney of Willingway Foundation and Mr. Larry Gaines of Kelly Foundation spent a combined five weeks in Ghana helping us.  In May/June of this year 12 students and staff visited Ghana from Georgia Southern University and Texas Tech University to inspire and encourage Ghanaians to embrace the concepts and methods used in understanding and treating the disease of addiction.

 In closing, there are many challenges ahead for Ghanaians with regards to embracing and developing methods of treating the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction from using proven recovery models and concepts used around the world today. Daniel O’Laughlin and Hopeful Way Foundation/Recovery Africa have begun the task of establishing a solid foundation for a long term partnership between the U.S and Ghana in meeting these challenges head on.  I’m truly blessed to have the opportunity to be of maximum service to God and to my fellow mankind in this endeavor. Thank you, May God Bless You All, and please have an enjoyable and successful fundraiser.

Byron A. Merriweather

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Oxford House World Convention

Ghana's Oxford Houses in Oyarifa and Kukurantumi (at present, the Came to Believe Oxford House in Kukurantumi has no residents) were mentioned in The City of Oklahoma City Proclamation honoring the 14th Annual World Convention of Oxford Houses, saying "WHEREAS, there are now over 1,500 Oxford Houses across the United States, including 60 in Oklahoma, 32 in Canada, 6 in Australia, and 2 in Ghana and 1 in the United Kingdom" . . . "Oxford Houses have demonstrated for 37 years that alcoholics and drug addicts can successfully remain sober without relapse". Over 700 mainly Oxford House members participated in the Conference held from September 13 - 16, 2012. A fifteen minute presentation on Oxford Houses and the House of St. Francis in Ghana was made by Dan O'Laughlin in a breakout session on "International Expansion". Hundreds of friends of Byron Merriweather asked about his work in Ghana in opening Houses and carrying the 12-step message. Next year's meeting will be held in Washington, DC, and it is hoped that an Oxford House for women may be opened by that time in Ghana. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

HSF by September 1, 2012

The House of St. Francis (HSF) opened on August 1 with one person in recovery and by September 1 had five residents.  Several more people may be joining the Ashaiman House in September.  There’s only one problem.  It seems that Byron is being overworked because he is the only staff person at the House.  He is looking for someone with the proper background and motivation to join him.  Several people have been approached.  Byron reports that he is receiving excellent support from the professionals, particularly from the Narcotics Control Board, Addictive Diseases Unit and Pantang Hospital.  Efforts are being made to start AA and NA meetings in Ashaiman and Tema.  Groundwork is also being done for the establishment of additional Oxford Houses.  Women who visit the HSF want specifically to do something for women in recovery and for their families through Al-Anon.  Byron is also in touch with Larry Gaines who is likely to go to Ghana in January, 2013 to do staff training in Recovery Dynamics.  This is the 29 lesson curriculum which is being used by over 200 rehab facilities in the U.S. and other countries; and now by HSF. The Catholic Archdiocese of Accra is also spreading the word about HSF to Catholic Churches in Accra.  We express our specific thanks to Oxford House, Inc. who has made it possible for Byron to be in Accra. 


Friday, August 31, 2012

Meet Ghanaians Living in Virginia

On Sunday, August 26, 2012, Dan & Agnes O’Laughlin attended a mass for Ghanaians living in the Northern Virginia area, near Washington, DC.  The service was in Twi and was a two-hour service conducted much the same as in Ghana. Ghanaian Catholic priest, Fr. Anthony Appiah, said the mass and spoke to the parishioners about the House of St. Francis and the Hopeful Way Foundation’s work with the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra. The Ghanaian group was invited to send ten representatives to the gathering to be held at the Embassy of Ghana on Sept. 27. Dr. Asare’s letter announcing the opening of the House of St. Francis was distributed.  On September 2 a similar mass will be held for the Ghanaian community living in Silver Spring, Maryland.  Ghanaians living in the U.S. are given information on addiction and recovery that could be usefully shared with friends and relatives living back home in Ghana. 

House of St. Francis Announcement



Dear Colleagues,                                                                                 23 August, 2012

 An Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation facility has been opened at Ashiaman near Tema called House of St. Francis. The facility is close to the roundabout from the Tema motorway leading to Ashiaman turning left some 800 meters from the Tema- Ashiaman roundabout and driving on the rough road for about three minutes.

This residential facility has a 40 bed capacity and is initially accommodating men with alcohol and substance use disorders.

The facility is being established by the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra and the Hopeful Way Foundation.  The Archdiocese has the overall ownership and legal responsibility for the House of St Francis, and Hopeful Way is responsible for the day to day running of the facility.

The House is part of the overall effort by the Archdiocese to educate and raise awareness among the youth and other members of society about the destructive nature of addiction;

 The treatment approach models being used are:  the 12 steps recovery approach using Recovery Dynamics program curriculum and Therapeutic Community approach concepts.

Partnerships developed by interested experts from Ghana and USA in recovery are currently assisting in establishing a solid foundation, lead by Oxford House, Inc. of the USA, to help rehabilitate persons with alcohol and drug addiction disorders.

 Detoxification facilities, hospitals, clinics, organizations and professionals involved in the management of Alcohol and Drug Addiction and any related fields in Ghana are being encouraged to send clients for assessment and admission to this facility. Each client should be sponsored as they will benefit from both the boarding and services provided.

 For more information and admission assessment of clients, kindly contact the following telephone numbers: 0205 695 903 and 0278 878 299.

 Efforts are being made to establish relationships between the House of St. Francis and the Ghanaian communities in the U.S.

Prof. J.B. Asare
Chairman, Hopeful Way Foundation

Thursday, August 16, 2012



Recovery in Ghana  --  The House of St. Francis
Sponsored by Recovery Africa
Hopeful Way Foundation

September 27, 2012
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Embassy of Ghana
3512 International Drive, Washington, D.C. (Van Ness-UDC Metro Stop)

Dan O’LaughlinTel: 202-255-5886                                                        

(Donations Welcomed)

6:00 to 6:30     Refreshments

6:30                 Welcome by Ambassador of Ghana or his Representative

                        Kofi Afful – Chairman of the Council of Ghanaian Associations

6:40                 Hopeful Way Foundation & The House of St. Francis – Dan O’Laughlin

6:45                 Funding Needs – Matt Brown

6:50                 Three Minute Talks

-          Emily Eisenhart – Georgia Southern University
-          Paul Molloy – Oxford House, Inc., Silver Spring, Maryland
-          Debbie Dungee – Oxford House, Inc. - Report from Ghana
-          Pat Taylor – Faces and Voices of Recovery, Washington, DC
-          Al Mooney – Willingway Foundation, Statesboro, Georgia

7:10                 Larry Gaines – Recovery – Miracles in Ghana and Around the World

7:20                 Archbishop Palmer-Buckle – Catholic Archdiocese of Accra (or his rep.)

7:25                 Additional Three Minute Talks
-          Chris Budnick – The Healing Place, Wake County, North Carolina
-     Peggy Murray – National Institutes of Health - NIAAA
-          Lee Manley – Live Talk Show Host, “RECOVERY a Universal Experience”
-          Representative of the Ghanaian Community –

7:45     -     Closing Remarks by Gerald Marti – National Institute of Health

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dr. Dordoye Speaks on Addiction in Ghana

Dr. Dordoye’s Interview with William L White – In May, 2012 Dr. Dordoye answered Bill’s questions saying “It was my passion to help young people in Ghana that got me into the area of addiction. What kept me going later was my realization of the enormity of the problem and my recognition that those addicted to alcohol and drugs are not bad people but people suffering from a condition of the mind that made them unable to quit drinking or using drugs. Speaking about the nature of alcohol and drug problems in Ghana at the present time, Dr. Eugene continued saying “At present, alcohol addiction is the foremost problem because of the availability of alcohol, the sheer numbers of people who drink and the resulting health problems. For teenagers and people in their early twenties, drugs like marijuana are more of a problem. For them, it’s a problem of peer influence. They get into these drugs because they want to belong. For those who develop a problem the public and some professionals tend to see it as a spiritual problem that needs a spiritual intervention. There is a tendency to see addiction in terms of vice rather than a disease that requires treatment and that addicted people should be prayed for to help them stop.”

University Students to Ghana

Thoughts from Texas and Georgia - On his return to Accra from Wa, Walker said “it is more different than I thought. We seem to be American first and people in recovery second”. Another student added that “my stay at the Oxford House in Accra gave me the best opportunity to make an impact, to illustrate to Ghanaians in recovery that sobriety can be a fun thing”. Beth, a student from Texas Tech, said that “I feel like a fire has been lit under me and my passion to work with high school students and women”. Ahmed said that “I feel so angry to see a huge problem, a lack of resources and not know what to do. What more can I do in Ghana?” Julia from Georgia Southern University adds that “there are so many addicted women in Ghana suffering in silence”. Dr. Tomas Kimbal adds that “in the U.S. we have spent so much time  talking about the causes of alcoholism and addiction and we miss the real message­--recovery. Ghana has the real potential to get the message of recovery out from the very beginning which would jump start the recovery movement in Ghana and Africa.   

Fundraising in the U.S.

Fundraising is an important challenge for Hopeful Way Foundation in Ghana and the U.S.  A fundraising committee was established at a meeting held in November, 2011 in the conference room of the Faces and Voices of Recovery. Current work is focused on preparations for the September 27 gathering at the Embassy of Ghana. Discussions are also being held on useful work after September and the possibility of establishing a 501(c)(3) to further recovery work in Ghana and possibly other African countries. 

Miracle Not Magic

Miracle Not Magic is the theme of a Hopeful Way Foundation sponsored event to take place on September 27, 2012 at the Embassy of Ghana in Washington, DC. The purpose of the event is to expand the networking of the HWF and to raise funds for the House of St. Francis.  Dr. Al Mooney and Larry Gains are among the speakers. 

Archbishop Palmer-Buckle

Archbishop Palmer-Buckle of the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra met with partners of the Hopeful Way Foundation on June 20 in the Bronx, New York. Representatives of Oxford House Inc. and Texas Tech University spoke about longer term support for the House of St. Francis and recovery in Ghana. The meeting was also attended by Msgr. Stephen Adu-Kwaning who recently completed the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education, Fordham University, with masters of art in pastoral counseling and spiritual care. Msgr. says that “ I believe I will be resourceful at the House of St. Francis, upon my return to Ghana”.

Meeting in The Bronx, New York

Archbishop Palmer-Buckle of the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra met with partners of the Hopeful Way Foundation on June 20 in the Bronx, New York. Representatives of Oxford House Inc. and Texas Tech University spoke about longer term support for the House of St. Francis and recovery in Ghana. The meeting was also attended by Msgr. Stephen Adu-Kwaning who recently completed the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education, Fordham University, with masters of arts in pastoral counseling and spiritual care. Msgr. says that “ I believe I will be resourceful at the House of St. Francis, upon my return to Ghana”.

Dr. Al Mooney in Ghana

Dr. Al Mooney of Willingway Foundation has been of tremendous assistance to recovery in Ghana and to the Hopeful Way Foundation.  He spent three weeks in Ghana in 2011 when he met with numerous people including the Minister of Heath, the Executive Secretary of the Narcotics Control Board, the heads of the Accra Psychiatric Hospital and the board members of the Hopeful Way Foundation.  Dr. Al plans on returning to Ghana in about May, 2012 and is prepared to whatever we ask him to do with regard to furthering recovery, including the training of health care workers and peer counselors.

Mr. Sylvester

Mr. Sylvester Adu of Ghana’s Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) spent five weeks in the U.S.  in early 2012 and visited several treatment centers where he studied the potential long-term benefits of formal recovery programs. He studied the Recovery Dynamics curriculum at the Kelly Foundation in Little Rock, Arkansas, and met personalities at the Embassy of Ghana.  

Dr. Eugene Dordoye

Dr. Eugene Dordoye completed his ten-month course on Drug Abuse Treatment and Prevention at Johns Hopkins under a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship U.S. State Department. In June he returned to Ghana to play an important role as a board member of Hopeful Way Foundation. Dr. Dordoye traveled to several treatment centers where he learned first-hand the treatment philosophies of facilities such as The Healing Place (Raleigh, North Carolina), Martha Education Fund, The Extension and Willingway Hospital (Georgia). At Ghana’s 55th Independence Anniversary Dinner Dance in Washington, D.C., he spoke on the role of the House of St. Francis as one of the long-term solutions to addiction in Ghana.  

Recovery Dynamics’®

Recovery Dynamics’® will be used as the treatment model at the House of St. Francis. Recovery Dynamics® is an in depth study of the book Alcoholics Anonymous as a treatment program consisting of 28 classes and 32 assignments. The Therapeutic Community approach will be incorporated for peer-support where more experienced persons in recovery assist newcomers. The house will additionally use peer counseling and community meetings.

The Texas Tech and Georgia Southern Universities

The Texas Tech and Georgia Southern Universities sent ten students and four faculty members to Ghana form May 17 to June 3, 2012. The Hopeful Way Foundation hosted the group. They went to secondary schools, churches, the Addictive Diseases Unit, hospitals, recovery facilities and spent time at the House of St. Francis. The visit was simply a great one and created the basis for a continued relationship between young people in recovery in Ghana and the U.S. Emily Eisenhart of Georgia Southern University said that ”everything went so well in Ghana, and we all agreed that this was an incredible and life-altering journey for all involved. I feel so blessed to have been a part of it!” The 12 visitors stayed with four Ghanaian families in Accra and at the Oyarifa Oxford House.  Kristen Harper says that The Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery of Texas Tech is “excited and humbled to work with the Hopeful Way Foundation and their faith and devotion to provide service.  The benefits to our students who moved throughout the country with them is immeasurable. We are looking forward to the next stages of our relationship.