Hopeful Way is a nongovernmental organisation that was registered in September 2008. The organisation established a house which serves as a protective environment for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. Hopeful Way also seeks to raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. This blog serves as a forum where interested individuals can share information about alcohol and drug addiction. Visit our website at http://hopefulway.webs.com.
"The author uses a six-point method of teaching to reinforce learning and to increase comprehension and promote awareness of the steps to its fullest extent. I find this approach refreshing and challenging, and an exciting way to learn, and then to turn around and teach, the 12 steps!
At first I was skeptical, as it seemed it all might be busywork But after investigating and indulging in the exercises and grids for a full chapter, I found myself to be a true believer and hooked on the educational system presented herein. The book had me searching within myself to define my terms, to come up with my own answers to common phrases.
I have not yet finished this workbook, but I am taking my time in getting through this work. A work of this caliber deserves honest effort. I was very glad to find this book and add it to my recovery book collection."
I believe that the workbooks could be a valuable asset in the development of cost effective recovery tools in Ghana and a simple and effective way to formalise the teaching of the 12 Steps. I will do my best to support the great work already started in Africa.
Dr Mooney and I met when I spent a month in Kentucky last year exploring the range of treatment facilities and approaches to 12 Step Recovery. I was working with Chris Fajardo, my host for the month, on promoting and developing the models that I use and apply to teaching the Steps.
As my work has developed I have had the privilege of becoming friends with Dr Mooney and recently had the opportunity to promote recovery and the Willingway Foundation here in the UK. We spent time visiting the addiction professionals of Durham County and had the opportunity to visit the many treatment facilities emerging in this area. Time was spent promoting the science behind recovery and the importance of abstinence. You can read more about the details of this on my blog at getintorecovery.com . As a result of this visit there are developments happening across the Atlantic with Durham and the Willingway Foundation and myself and Southampton University.
Further to this visit there are three prisons now starting to use the Sponsor Manuals in their 12 Step programs and the recovery ambassadors are rolling out an outreach program to the community incorporating the workbooks into this.
Further groups and organisations are starting to spring up around the world that are applying the workbooks to teaching the 12 Steps. It is an exciting time for me and the development of a simple yet effective way of teaching the 12 Steps.
“The 12-step drug/alcohol rehabilitation program of the Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital, Cape Coast was started by Dr. Kojo Sagoe, Clinical Psychologist, PhD and the head of the counseling unit of the hospital. Assistance was provided by Miss Diana Ahiabor and Mrs. Rejoice Danso (Registered Mental Nurses).
The program which was started as an outpatient based department in 2009, and gradually moved into an in-house program in 2010. Clients are housed and fed while they undergo treatment programs which last from three months to one year.
For the past three years, over 100 clients (addicts and alcoholics) have been helped with a success rate of 60%. And for the past one year, free workshops organized by the Hopeful Way Foundation have improved the knowledge of the staff in the treatment of addiction.”
Dan has tirelessly sought funding and support from various sources to keep HSF going. He divides his time between the United States and Ghana. There is expectation among Hopeful Way board members, HSF staff, and their supporters that, at the end of the three years, the house will be registered as an NGO whose board of directors will set policies for facility to be run by volunteers and recovery professionals. Helping to promote and support recovery in Ghana has been a labor of love for Dan and many, many others over the last several years.
When I was preparing to come to Ghana I was under the impression that I would be working with women who have substance abuse issues. Indeed, HSF launched a women’s outpatient treatment facility on 16 July, 2013. I was there for the “big” day. No one showed up. The women’s center has been open for a couple of weeks now and we are still waiting for our first client. I did not have a clue the extent of stigma placed on alcohol and drug use and abuse in this country. It’s bad for men but it is even worse for the women. Even the male clients I work with are, in general, very negative about women using, let alone abusing, drugs and alcohol. In this culture, heavy into denial, “women just do not drink, smoke, or use drugs.” Professionals say that there is a “conspiracy of silence” about the prevalence of substance abuse among women and the problem is firmly behind closed doors. It will take a very courageous woman to step out of the doors of her isolation and through the doors of the treatment facility. Once she does, I believe others will follow in quick succession.
I have been sharing my experience in this area and answering the rapid fire questions that each of these three women have about the disease. Often my answer is “I don’t know” and I have been doing a lot of research to try and find answers. Other times I think I offer valuable insight into the biology and psychology of the disease and offer the idea that addicts are not “hopeless” and, given the chance at recovery, will become useful and productive members of society.
Stella, Jennifer and I have also been doing some brainstorming to try to identify barriers to reaching women addicts and identifying ways to overcome these barriers. We have been talking to doctors in clinics, religious leaders in churches, social service agencies, youth groups,
The current curriculum used at HSF is called Recovery Dynamics; a 12-Step based recovery program. Although it is very good it does not contain a Relapse Prevention segment. I have been doing a lot of research in this area and have put together a 4-hour training session on recognizing stages and signs of relapse and understanding how to turn a potential relapse around. I have facilitated an education and discussion training session based on my research and existing knowledge of the subject. I will be delivering this training one more time before I leave Ghana and staff members at HSF are working with me to further develop this training material and turn it into a regular part of client education.
I have also been given the opportunity to do some one-on-one “counseling” with the men at HSF. What this actually amounts to is my listening to them talk about their experience and nodding my head empathetically. Since there is so little “long-term” recovery in Ghana I have also been given the chance to do some 12-Step work with individual men. Although AA is alive and kicking in Ghana, meetings are not always easy to get to and sponsorship is not always easy to find. I have some knowledge in this area and have been helping to guide a couple of men at HSF through Steps One, Two, and Three.
From July 17 – 25, 2013 Dr. Mooney was in Ghana to help spread the message of addiction treatment and recovery and to conduct training sessions for interested Ghanaians. I was fortunate enough to be in Ghana at the same time as Dr. Mooney and was able to benefit from his extensive knowledge in the field of recovery.
One of his training sessionswas billed as a “Peer Counselor Training Course”. This was anything but “peer” training. Most of the attendants were not addicts which meant, to me, that they were not “peers”. I was getting a little incensed that the training was not “going my way”. Then I started paying attention to what was really happening. I realized that there are pockets of recovery all over Ghana. Most of these are run by caring individuals who fight for funding and resources. They are dedicated to the ideas of education, treatment, and recovery, that addiction is a disease that can be managed, and that addicts in recovery can benefit society and are “worth the effort”.
I started to realize that Dr. Mooney’s training was the first time that these isolated pockets of individuals and groups working in recovery had the opportunity to get together as “peers” in the field of treatment and recovery. They exchanged ideas and contact information. People who felt they were alone in their efforts were shown that there are many throughout Ghana dedicated to the same principles of recovery – though they may go about it in different ways. I began to realize that I may have been witness to a giant step for recovery in Ghana; the beginning of a collaborative process between different social service agencies working towards the same goal. I felt grateful to be witness to something of this potential magnitude.
Change is a process not an event. Recovery is definitely in its infancy here. I would love to be able to transport into the future to see what recovery, for women and men, looks like in Ghana in five or ten years.