Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Recovery Africa Supports Ghana

The future of Recovery Africa was discussed at a meeting held in Bethesda, Maryland on September 28, 2012. At present Recovery Africa is a group of people interested in furthering recovery in Ghana and other parts of Africa. It uses the Willingway Foundation as a way of collecting tax deductable donations. At the Bethesda meeting, about twenty persons gave their ideas about establishing RA as a 501(c)(3), becoming part of an already existing organization or continuing as we are. It was agreed that the collaboration with numerous bodies should continue. 

Oyarifa Oxford House

The Hopeful Way Oxford House located near Accra is maturing and currently has seven residents who run the house pretty much on their own. Over 30 persons have stayed in the House since it was opened June 20, 2009. Most of the residents did not find employment while at the house but worked on their recovery by participating in 12-step based programs in the house and by leading AA meetings in hospitals and the University of Ghana. An evaluation is currently being conducted to see how the House could be adjusted to better meet the recovery needs of Ghanaians who don’t have ready access to 12-step meetings. It is likely that a simplified version of Recovery Dynamics will be taught at the House by clients who have successfully completed three-month stays at the House of St. Francis. Another Big Book Study may also be conducted at the Oxford House in March. 

More from a Resident of House of St. Francis


1.       There’s a road to a river I must cross,

To get from this point of powerlessness

To that yonder point of POWER.

As I move on I may get lost or backtrack,

But there’s a bridge

 With 12 STEPS I must tread,

And step by step, day by day

It would get me there.

Don’t know why, don’t know when

But when I get there,

I will KNOW,

Because I’ll take it day by day,



2.        The road is rough and rugged,

Danger all along the way,

Rabid dogs lying in wait

But I won’t let my spirit fail me

Will strive to get to my destination

I’ll call on my Higher Power,

And take it day by day,



3.       I wont give up,

Keep on moving won’t stop

I may be hurting,

I may be bruised

But I won’t let the bad times get to me,

I’ll take it day by day



4.       I won’t give up,

Holding on to what I found in NA/AA

I’ll get to my destination.

Clinging on to my HIGHER POWER,

I’m going to take it day by day,

And make it there


Byron Merriweather Report

The Ghana Report

This is Byron Merriweather reporting on my third tour of Ghana. My mission is to continue to expand Oxford Houses by establishing a chapter of at least three houses; increase the number of 12 step meetings in Ghana and develop a rehabilitation treatment center to assist in meeting the aforementioned goals. I arrived in Ghana April 16, 2012 to partake in establishing the House of St. Francis in Ashaiman, Ghana (a 40 bed capacity three to six month programed facility). With the help of several Oxford House members including Gustavo Marco from Sweden, in May of 2012, we partook of the task to first do the physical cleanup of the dust ridden facility. This process took one month to complete.  The initial opening was scheduled to be June 1, 2012 but because of delays in finalizing the MOA between HWF and the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra, the House of St. Francis didn’t open until August 1, 2012. On that day we had our first client. By the end of August we had three clients. I was solely responsible for the day to day tasks of performing the administrative duties, doing the interviewing and intake assessments of clients, providing counseling with clients and presenting the Recovery Dynamics curriculum to the clients. Thank God my help came in late September. By the end of 2012, the HSF had received 20 clients. Currently, I have a stipend volunteer staff comprised of 3 cooks, 1 utility workman, 1 security man and 4 Recovery Dynamics presenter/counselors, including myself and volunteer support from graduate students in Clinical Psychology through the Narcotics Control Board Demand Reduction Unit and two volunteer social worker/psychologists affiliated with the Addictive Disease Unit at Korle Bu Hospital that are assisting clients with individual counseling and group counseling needs.

As of February 2013, there had been three clients who successfully completed the 3-6 month program. One (the first client admitted) has stayed on staff to become a peer mentor presenter/counselor; another has been transitioned into the Hopeful Way Oxford House and another is in After Care while living at his family’s home. The Board of Directors for the House of St. Francis has finally been established and there now is a collaborative effort towards adjusting and improving on what has been started at the House of St. Francis.  The Oxford House at Oyarifa is currently at 9 members thanks in part to the House of St. Francis.  More will be revealed.

Back at the ranch in the US, I had the pleasure of visiting the Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery (CSAR) at Texas Tech University in Lubbock TX. I had the opportunity to talk with various faculty members regarding internships, family programs to implement, and ideas regarding the pursuit of funding and donors for our projects in Ghana.  I also had the pleasure of being the quest speaker at the Celebration of Recovery meeting at the center.  

During the next two months in the US, I plan to visit various facilities and persons on the east coast to propagate the recovery movement in Ghana and try to gain some support from these institutions and private individuals in long term treatment of recovery. I plan to return to Ghana mid to end of April 2013 to continue my mission work of recovery with emphasis on establishing a women’s Oxford House and treatment section or center for women.  In closing, I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be of maximum service to God and in position to help other people help themselves.

From House of St. Francis



I was using,

And in my thinking,

All the world was hating.

So I kept hurting

When life had stopped hitting,

Kept running

When no one was chasing,

Kept feeling the pain,

When I should focus on my gain,

Till out of breathe and scared,

I hit a wall and was forced to stop.

Fearfully I turn around and realize in shock,

My Higher Power had been with me all along,

Running with me and calling softly…