Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Byron Mereiweather Carrying the Message in Ghana

Mr. Byron Merriweather is currently spending one year in Ghana. (Until late April 2014).  He is working towards the development of a chapter of Oxford Houses in Ghana, establishing a Women's with Children house in Ashaiman, looking at establishing an Oxford House in Kumasi, taking the lead role in the development of a high quality of care treatment program at the House of St. Francis in Ashaiman and continuing to startup more 12-step support group/recovery meetings in Ghana.  He says, "I am still staying on the path of planting and watering the seeds of recovery throughout Ghana. Doing the grass-roots things for the recovery movement in Ghana. Developing workshops on "Recovery Dynamics" and "How to establish and facilitate 12-step support group meetings". He continues to develop more AA/NA/MA/Al-Anon 12 step fellowship meetings. He furthers recovery "sponsorship" and peer mentoring networks utilizing state of the art technology and social networking (I.e. Twitter, Facebook) to assist in this process. Byron adds, "I am continuing on the path towards reaching the goal of establishing transitional recovery housing, treatment centers and 12-step support groups in each of the ten regions in Ghana".

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mark Webb Coming to Ghana

My introduction to the addiction needs in Ghana happened on the busy noisy streets of Jamestown-Accra in February 2009. I had grown used to our group getting lots of attention so I thought little of the man yelling as he quickly approached us. My attention however was changed when it turned out the man was seeking prayer because of his abuse of alcohol. I had been around people desperate for change before as I have worked in addictions for many years in Canada. This time however, something was different. Maybe it was the desperation in his voice or the hopelessness in his eyes but something was different. As I talked with my Ghanaian friends about alcohol and drug treatment in Ghana I quickly discovered what the difference was.  Unlike in North America, where people with substance abuse issues have numerous options for help, My Ghanaian friends told me that very little is done in Ghana to help "those people". The more I learned about addiction and recovery in Ghana the more I knew that I had to do my small part in making people aware that recovery from alcohol and drug abuse is possible.


When I had the chance to return in 2010 I was excited to do so. I was given a 45 minute slot to discuss Addiction Recovery Ministry to a group of pastors. Questions and discussions were flowing with excitement as my 45 minutes was stretched to 90 until the schedule finally forced us to bring the discussion to an end. The highlight for me happened at the end when one of the men in attendance stood and said " I do not talk about this publicly but what this man says is true. We need to help those  around us who drink and drug. I know it is true because I once drank too much and know how important it was for me to have people that were willing to help".


Some connections with an international group of addictions counselors led to an opportunity to return in 2011 to speak at an addictions conference that a couple of men in Teshie were organizing. It was a wonderful three days with people from throughout Ghana and neighbouring Togo joining together with the shared goal of discovering how to bring change to the lives of those around them. People reported feeling encouraged and equipped, and feedback since my return to Canada suggests part of what I shared is being used to start a few small support groups.


In 2012 I was interested to read an interview with Dr. Eugene Dordoye, a Ghanaian psychiatrist who was in the States studying addiction recovery. To read of a professional of this calibre who was interested in and dedicated to addiction and recovery in Ghana was very exciting! Even more exciting was when after a series of emails Dr. Dordoye and I were able to arrange for me to visit Ghana where I can meet some of the people and see firsthand some of the work that is being done. I am very much looking forward to this visit in September, 2013 and discovering how I can support people like Dr. Dordoye and organizations such as Hopeful Way in bringing real and lasting change in Ghana to lives impacted by addictions.


Mark Webb

Monday, August 26, 2013

Dr. Al Moony Facilitates Basic Seminar in Ashaiman

On 17 July, 2013 a seminar on addiction and recovery was held at St. Augustine Catholic Church for over 100 participants.  About 50 of the participants came from Chosen Rehab where about 30 percent of their 90 or so residents come from Ashaiman.  The training was a basic examination of addiction and recovery; where assistance can be found in Ghana.  The seminar was opened by Fr. Quaye-Foli and was facilitated by Dr. Al Mooney and Mr. Logosu Amegashie. Sponsors of the seminar were the House of St. Francis and the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra.  Sr. Brigid spoke on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and the HSF.  Funding and administration were provided by Hopeful Way Foundation.  Mr. Logosu of the Addictive Diseases Unit provided his usual professional inputs and motivation for the participants. 
Our Lady of Lourdes Donations are Cost Effective - On August 26, 2013 Dan met the person who made donations to purchase and install a water tank and six bunk beds at the House of St. Francis (HSF).  While he makes a number of small donations to fund developmental projects, the donor in Maryland, U.S.A. believes that funds going to Hopeful Way Foundation/ House of St. Francis reach the largest number of people for the amount donated. This is so because all of the people working at the two institutions are dedicated volunteers. They reach both rich and poor who need assistance to restore good lives being negatively affected by addiction.  The large number of poor people being assisted live largely outside of the HSF. They benefit from training programs, 12-step meetings, assistance to facilities which fight addiction, recovery literature, family gatherings and related efforts.  The core cost for food and lodging of each of the fourteen residents plus seven volunteer staff residing at the HSF is under $5.00 per day.

Hopeful Way Foundation 2013 Update

Dan & Agnes spent eight months in Ghana before returning to Maryland in August 2013. Dan has the intention of making a number of short blog entries as follows in the coming weeks:

1. Our Lady of Lourdes donations are cost effective -
2. Oyarifa "Bill Moore" Oxford House -
3. The House of St. Francis one year later -
4. An Oxford House for Women -
5. Edwin in the U.S. -
6. Larry Gaines training in Recovery Dynamics -
7. Dr. Al Mooney in Ghana -
8. Texas Tech 2013 Visit to Ghana -
9. Georgia Southern University to Ghana 2013 -
10. Kukurantumi Information Center -
11. Chosen Generation -
12. St. Augustine 17 July seminar by Dr. Al -
13. Peer Training by Dr. Al - 18 -19 July -
14. Sr. Mary Brigid comes to the House of St. Francis -
15. Lord Kenya and Ahaiman Federation of Youth Groups -
16. Cape Coast 12-Step Progress -
17. Addictive Diseases Unit Korle Bu Hospital -
18. Narcotics Control Board -
19. Bolgatanga and Recovery -
20. Kumasi AA & NA -
21. "Super Oxford Houses" in Ghana?
22. House of St. Francis Women's Outpatient -
23. "Recovery Africa" and Hopeful Way Foundation -
24. FASD in Ghana -
25. Children of the Addicted -
26. AA & Al-Anon Books to Ghana -
27. Oxford House Convention 2013 in Washington, DC -