Saturday, October 25, 2014

Recovery Africa supports Hopeful Way Foundation

Recovery Africa (RA)

Summary Report to Board of Directors and Advisory Council

October 11, 2014

By Dan O’Laughlin

This report provides a brief summary of RA and related activities during 2014.  In preparation for activities in 2015, a more detailed correspondence will be sent in the coming weeks. 


1.       RA planning session and board of directors meeting of March 20, 2014 – Matt’s report dated April 11 on this meeting was distributed in April and is attached. The RA board members are as follows:


a)      Daniel O’Laughlin, Chair                                g.   Jerry Gillen

b)      Al Mooney, V. Chair                                       h.   Adolf Kofi Afful

c)       Kristen Harper, Secretary                              i.   Matthew Brown

d)      Deborah Dungee, Treasure                            j.   David Whiters

e)      Chris Budnick                                                     k.  Mark Spence

f)       Larry Gaines                                                      


RA advisory council members include the following personalities and others interested in moving forward recovery in Africa: Paul Molloy, Thomas Kimball, Emily Eisenhart, Lonnetta Albright, Mark Webb, Jerry Moe, Gerald Marti and Janis Omide. Others who would be welcome to serve on the advisory council include Mike Houle, Nancy Alexander, Edward Green and others.

2.       RA dinner of March 20 – The dinner was a great success in expanding the networking of RA. The fundraising part covered expenses, plus about $1,000 net.

3.       Willingway Foundation – Dr. Al Mooney and his Willingway Foundation continue to serve as the 501(c)(3) “incubator” for RA until we obtain recognition from the IRS. Tax deductable donations are received by WWF where RA has a separate account.

4.       Financial situation – The largest financial commitment of RA in 2014/15 is to Oxford House, Inc. to keep Byron Merriweather in Ghana for one year ending June 15, 2015. Uncommitted funds in the WWF/RA account as of October 1, 2014 were approximately $10,000.  A RA checking account has been opened at SunTrust Bank in Bethesda.

5.       501(c)(3) application – In April, receipt of the RA application was acknowledged by the IRS. Nothing has been received since that time. 

6.       Byron Merriweather in Ghana – Byron continues to be the main contribution that RA provides to the budding recovery movement in Ghana. With Byron playing a reduced role, the House of St. Francis continues to do very well with an average of 20 residential clients. The “Grand Opening” of the HSF was held on Oct. 9; it was a great success. A new HSF chairman and board of directors is full of life.

7.       Ghana programs – Perhaps the largest contribution of RA in Ghana is fostering cooperation among recovery players. Professionals and people in recovery from the U.S. and Ghana are used for training purposes. A consortium meeting held on September 25 holds much potential. Twelve-step groups continue to expand, with about ten in Accra. Two Oxford Houses for men are doing well. An Oxford House with program for women is in its formation stages.  About $12,000 is needed to pay advanced rent and start up and running expenses. A grant application is being sent to an NGO in Sweden. Byron and Dan are spending less time at the HSF but we are available as needed. RA provided no funding to the HSF in 2014 to cover expenses. The HSF is largely breaking even but staff is still not on full salary. As described below, recovery experts from the U.S. provide excellent training, motivation and sharing of expertise.

8.       Website and Facebook – Thanks to Mike Houle and Shelia Stigall, the RA website and Facebook sites are up and providing good information on RA and its work. We are in need of managers for the sites.

9.       Dan and Agnes in Ghana – Dan and Agnes arrived in Ghana on April 22 and plan on returning to Maryland on October 22, 2014.

10.   Ethiopia women’s facility – In response to a request by David Whiters, in June, 2014 RA provided $1,000 to assist in the establishment of a transitional housing facility in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

11.   Kristen Harper in DC – As the executive director of the Association of Recovery Schools, Kristen was in Maryland/Wshington, DC from August 5 to September 6. She provided information about RA at places such as ONDCP and as a panelist at the 4th SAMSHA & NAADAC recovery lunch which she attended with Mike Houle of RA.

12.   Georgia Southern Univ. to Ghana – A group of over ten students and staff from Georgia Southern University spent the month of July in Ghana. Six of the students helped to carry the recovery message with RA in Accra, and others were with recovery facilities and 12-step groups in Cape Coast. This third visit from GSU did a lot to create synergy between recovery in Ghana and the U.S.

13.   Texas Tech University to Ghana – Ladd Hight was in Ghana with RA/HWF from June 4 – July 23. He spent most of his time at the HSF and Oxford Houses but also assisted at Pantang Rehab and  other facilities in Ghana. He did a lot by helping clients work the steps and sharing his experiences regarding recovery in the U.S.

14.   Recovery personalities visit Ghana – The recovery professionals and others listed below contributed much to the RA and other prevention, treatment and recovery programs in Ghana in 2014. As of now no visitors are scheduled for 2015 but we are in discussions with “The Midnight Mission” in Los Angeles which may send two 12-step people in long term recovery to assist in Ghana next year. 

15.   David Whiters to Ghana – David spent two weeks in Ghana in March and moved with Byron to do a lot to further efforts of RA and others. He facilitated several workshops and worked with public and private efforts regarding ROSC, 12-step and related efforts.

16.   Gerald Marti to Ghana – Gerald was in Ghana from June 10 – 23 and provided excellent training in Back to Basics, 12-step and medical aspects. He was particularly helpful at the HSF and to the senior staff of the Narcotics Control Board where drug courts and related matters were discussed. Health care workers at Pantang Hospital learned a lot from Gerald.

17.   Jerry Moe to Ghana – Jerry was in Ghana from May 30 to June 8 and did outstanding work to further the RA presence in Ghana as related families and children. His teaching techniques are being widely used. For a full article on Jerry’s visit, see RA Facebook page.

18.   Sheila Stigall to Ghana – Shelia spent two months at the HSF in 2013 and another two months beginning July 16, 2014. Shelia taught 12-step recovery and added to the HSF in so many ways. She did much to enhance the RA Facebook page where details of her visit can be found.

19.   Nancy Alexander to Ghana – Nancy was in Ghana for about a week beginning June 26 attending an international conference. She visited the HSF and Oxford House and introduced RA to the Accra East Rotary Club.  On returning to the U.S., she assisted RA prepare several documents including the RA fact sheet.

20.   Consortium meeting – On September 25, RA/Hopeful Way Foundation sponsored a consortium meeting with 40 persons present. “Recovery Ghana” may be the name of the consortium which holds great potential for furthering a recovery movement in Ghana. A separate report will be sent. Next meeting to be held on October 30.

21.   National Commission for Civic Education – GHC1,000 ($350) was provided to the National Commission for Civic Education to enable their field staff to develop addiction related programs at schools in Accra. NCCE arranged for Jerry Moe to visit children from families suffering from addiction in Accra.

22.   Prayer camps – RA is developing a relationship with prayer camps, where many Ghanaians who suffer from addiction are taken for treatment. A resident of the Oyarifa Oxford House goes on a weekly basis to such a camp where he carry’s the 12-step message as part of a University of Ghana research team.

23.   Kintampo request – RA has received a request from a person in recovery at the Kintampo Rural Health Training School to assist in developing a program to deal with an apparently growing problem with alcohol and drugs in the town. The school prepares mid-level health professionals to serve in Ghana’s rural areas.

24.   Theme for 2015 event in DC – We are looking for ideas to guide the theme “Youth” for the RA 2015 event and board meeting. Please submit ideas.

25.   RA office – In the coming months steps will be taken to establish a RA office, probably in the Bethesda/Washington, DC area.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hopeful Way Board Meeting on 17 July, 2014

Below is additional information provided in a summary report to the board of directors of the Hopeful Way Foundation on 17 July, 2014:

Professional Visitors to Ghana – From 2008 – 2014 the HWF/Recovery Africa has arranged programs for 12 professionals from North America in Ghana to share their expertise in treatment and recovery from addiction.  In 2014 visits were made by Dr. David Whiters, Dr. Gerald Marti and Mr. Jerry Moe of Hazelden Betty Ford Center.  Additional visits will likely be arranged in 2015.  Dr. Marti is doing research on the use of drug courts in the U.S. and may be in a position to respond to interest from Ghana in this area. 


University Students Visit Ghana – From 2012 - 2014 over 25 students and staff members from “Recovery Campus Programs” at Texas Tech and Georgia Southern Universities were hosted in Ghana by HWF.  The purpose of the visits is to help strengthen the recovery in Ghana and to better the personal recovery of the students.  The visits assist in establishing permanent relationships which are intended to help treatment and recovery in Ghana. From 7 – 11 July, 2014, seven students from Georgia Southern U. were in Accra.  A student from Texas Tech is also in Ghana from 4 June – 25 July, spending most of his time at the HSF.  Shelia StargillA detailed program of activities is available from Dan. 


Project Development Policy of HWF – Rather than initiate and take long-term responsibility for recovery from addiction projects in Ghana, the HWF rather wants to support initiatives that will become independent or will become self-sufficient or will be supported by other organizations.  The proposed House of St. Francis is one such project. 


Collaborators in Ghana – Numerous organizations and individuals in Ghana are supporting the work of the HWF.  In addition to the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra, the Ministry of Heath, the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), the University of Ghana, Chosen Rehab and others, new collaborators include the National Commission for Civic Education, the Ashaiman Federation of Youth and Lord Kenya in Kumasi. 


Collaborators in the U.S. –

-          Recovery Africa (RA) – Dan is leading an effort in the U.S. to establish an NGO named “Recovery Africa” whose purpose is to support recovery efforts of the HWF in Ghana and in other countries of Africa.  Dr. Al Mooney, Mr. Larry Gaines, Byron Merriweathe, Kristen Harper and others are also involved with the establishment of RA.  For more information go to the RA website “”. 

-          Oxford House, Inc – Mr. Paul Molloy and his staff are making it possible for Byron Merriweather to volunteer for twelve months in Ghana in 2014/15.  

-          Willingway Foundation – Dr. Al Mooney’s not-for-profit receives tax exempt donations and hosts visitors from Ghana.  Until it is registered in the US, “Recovery Africa” operates under the umbrella of the Willingway Foundation. Willingway Hospital, in Statesboro, Georgia, provides excellent training for Ghanaians, including Dr. Dordoye, Edwin Ahadzie and Sylvester Adu. 

-          Kelly Foundation/Serenity Park – Mr. Larry Gaines and his staff train Ghanaians in Recovery Dynamics in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Mr. Gaines expects to visit Ghana again to train staff members of NACOB, the HSF.  Their copyrighted Recovery Dynamics will be used at the HSF.

-          Faces and Voices of Recovery The entire staff give guidance to our efforts in the U.S., and post the HWF newsletters on their Recovery Resources Guide-Africa. (  They further “networks of support between recovery communities in the US and internationally”, and support advocacy and peer recovery efforts. 

-          The Healing Place of Wake County – HWF supporters, including Dr. Eugene Dordoye, Byron Merriweather, the O’Laughlins and Sylvester Adu of NACOB, have received training at The Healing Place where Recovery Dynamics and Therapeutic Community approaches are used. 

-          DePaul University Center for Community Development – Dr. Leonard Jason’s Center did a survey of the Oyarifa Oxford House, and keeps up to date with our efforts at the HSF.

-          Council of Ghanaian Organizations (COGA) – Mr. Kofi Afful, former chairman of COGA, is a board member of Recovery Africa and helps inform the Ghanaian community in the Washington, DC area about HWF/HSF.  Dr. Dordoye spoke on behalf of HWF at the COGA 55th Independence Anniversary Dinner Dance held in Washington, DC on 10 March, 2012. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hopeful Way Board Met on July 17, 2014

Under the chairmanship of Prof. Joseph Asare, the Hopeful Way Foundation board of directors met at Peace Be Clinic in Accra last week.  It was decide that definite steps will be taken to look into the feasibility of establishing a women's house for women who want non-medical recovery. Such a house would be established and run in close collaboration with Pantang Hospital and the Korle Bu Hospital Addictive Diseases Unit. Part of the report to the meeting included the following:

Oyarifa Oxford House (aka “Bill Moore House”)  – This recovery house/transitional house was opened in mid-2009 and has had as many as ten residents.  With a capacity of twelve, the Oyarifa House presently has three residents and is in need of revitalization and restructuring.  It is suggested that recovery programs be introduced along with more structured use of time by residents.  With the view of establishing a closer relationship, we are in discussions with the Medical Director of Pantang Hospital and the Addictive Diseases Unit. 


Koo Tufo Oxford House – Located in Kukurantumi, this is an Oxford House that provides treatment and recovery programs to an average of about five residents.  The HWF makes regular visits to assist in strengthening the facility which is being sponsored by the Books for Africa Library Project. 


Oxford House Chapter – We are still in the process of establishing a grouping of recovery houses in Ghana which is intended to monitor and support the houses.  Hopeful Way Foundation would in turn assist in building the chapter that could remain part of HWF or could possibly be registered as an NGO. 


Byron Merriweather – With the support of Oxford House, Inc. and Recovery Africa, Byron returned to Ghana on 16 June, 2014 to begin a stay of at least one year. While he will assist with the development of the HSF, his main focus will be on the strengthening of Oxford Houses and the establishment of additional houses, including a house for women and a chapter.  He will also assist with the expansion of 12-step meetings and related activities. 


Hopeful Way Web Site and Blog – The HWF website ( is updated from time to time but the blog ( is posted regularly.  From 2008 until present, 110 articles have been posted on the blog which give a good history of activities of the HWF. 


House of St. Francis (HSF) – The House has been the focus of our activities for the past three years.  It began accepting clients on 1 September, 2012, it was registered as an NGO in September, 2013 and by June, 2014 had 22 male residents and a female outpatient.  The HSF will be handed over to the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra in August, 2015.  Thanks to the presence of Byron Merriweather, numerous professionals and Edwin Ahadzie and his staff, the HSF is making excellent progress.  The HWF discontinued HSF salary support in January, 2014, and treatment fees were raised to GHC600 per month.  The facility brings in enough income to cover core running expenses.  Some clients do not pay fees or pay reduced fees.  Major challenges include the establishment of a HSF fundraising committee, the need to pay salaries rather than a stipend to HSF staff and a greater involvement of the Archdiocese in the HSF board of directors.  Income and expenses for the HSF for 2013 were as follows:

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Georgia Southern University in Ghana 2014

Georgia Southern University is sending nine students and a staff person to do recovery work in Accra beginning today, July 6.  This will be their third trip to Ghana where lots has been done to help carry the message of recovery, particularly in Cape Coast. The Director of the GSU Center for Addiction recovery, Ms. Emily Eisenhart, says that “I have fallen in love forever with the country, people, and culture and never wants to stop trying to help people in Ghana and all over Africa to find ways into recovery”.   Led by Christina Beslin, a group of seven from GSU are currently in Accra where they have a full program at the House of St. Francis, at the Oyarifa Oxford House, Pantang Hospital, Addictive Diseases Unit and more. 

Texas Tech University in Ghana Again

In 2012/13 the Texas Tech Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery sent over 15 staff and students to help RA carry the message of recovery to Ghana.  The impact has been huge on everyone concerned.  Thomas Kimball, Ph.D., the director of the center has decided not to send large groups to Ghana but to do something more sustainable over the long run.  The vision “is to have two Texas Tech graduate students spend a semester in Ghana working with the House of St. Francis and other RA programs.  Ideally, there would be TTU students in Ghana for the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters.”  Dr. Kimball adds: “Everyone so far that I have talked to is excited about this. I think it will be very beneficial for these students and your work in Ghana.” To begin the new collaboration, Ladd Hight is currently in Ghana for a two month stay assisting and learning about a variety of treatment and recovery programs.  He said: “Since arriving in Ghana my life has been changed. It’s unlike anything I could have imagined.  The staff at the HSF is amazing. They are really invested in their clients’ recovery and well-being.  The clients are passionate about their recovery and the twelve steps. They’ve also taught me about the food and the proper Ghanaian way to eat it. It’s been fun and refreshing learning about another culture firsthand.”

Jerry Moe Visits Ghana

Jerry Moe of the Hazelden Betty Ford Center visited Ghana from May 30 to June 8 to do training at Recovery Africa/Hopeful Way Foundation programs.  His training methods and materials have changed the way Ghana’s recovery movement looks at the “disease concept” of addiction.  In his report to RA, Jerry said:  “Thanks for an amazing experience during my recent visit. Many, many really good things are happening in Ghana when it comes to treatment and recovery”.  In his trip report, Jerry suggested that the House of St. Francis make more systematic use of professionals, provide additional support for HSF staff and team up with a local university to develop outcome studies.  Regarding the Oyarifa Oxford House, he called for a much more structured approach with residents involved with work/volunteer programs.  He urged RA to “make the house shine so prospective residents would want to live there”.  Based on a National Commission on Civic Education arranged visit to Jamestown in Accra, Jerry suggests that the youth in the area go to the House of St. Francis to be trained by the residents to “carry a strong anti-drug message.  I see this as a huge WIN/WIN possibility.” 

Jerry also did a group with young children, coordinated by the National Commission on Civic Education, in Jamestown. In describing the experience, Jerry said, “Halfway through the group, you could see the emotions so clearly etched on the children’s beautiful faces. At the appropriate moment, I asked these courageous youth if they were growing up in a family like mine. Five immediately raised their hands in the air while others contemplated what to do. Thirty seconds passed, and now everyone’s hand was raised. While they looked around the group, I said ‘You are not alone, and it’s not your fault.’ A few of the children started to cry while others nodded affirmatively.”

Saturday, June 14, 2014

We Lost Delali

Today, June 14, 2014, the 39 year old Delali S. was laid to rest at a service held at City God Church in Accra, Ghana.  The hundreds of mourners included seven from the House of St. Francis (HSF) family.  Delali had been a much loved resident and alumni of the HSF for over a year; he passed away on May 3 after an illness which got the best of him.  A generous and gifted person “with a high IQ, exceptional talents and excellent human relation skills”, Delali will be greatly missed.  The pastor at today’s service said: “This is the most honest funeral that I have ever attended. The family asked for forgiveness for the shortcomings of Delali; The Lord says ‘I like that’”.   
The program for the funeral paid tribute to Delali’s many achievements and went on to say: “The last 15 years of his life, Delali battled with dependence on Pethidine, a painkiller belonging to the Opiate family.  This very powerful painkiller was used in treating the pain of sickle cell borne pain crisis from is teens.  He struggled with this dependence for about five years before it came to the family’s notice.  Over the past ten years he gave a good fight.  Those of us who cared about him felt he should have fought harder but alas we don’t understand the hold of addiction over a person’s life.  The last two years of his life, he found a new family in the House of St. Francis, a rehab house for people with drug dependency problems.  They were a superb family!  They accepted him as one of their own and their rehab programme brought Delali a renewed sense of dignity and self-worth.  He also drew closer to God while there.”  For more information see tributes at “”. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Dr. Gerald Marti Visits Ghana

Dr. Gerald Marti Visits Ghana


Hopeful Way Foundation/Recovery Africa was privileged to host Dr. Gerald Marti to Ghana from 10 – 23 May, 2014.  Dr. Marti has a long career of working with various forms of addiction and the organizations in the U.S. which are involved with prevention, treatment and recovery.  His visit did much to enrich recovery work and to carry the message of recovery in Ghana.  As detailed in his report, Dr. Marti participated in over 10 meetings and training sessions during his visit.  He often said that “I came to Ghana to learn, to find out how lesions learned in the U.S. could benefit Ghana; how recovery in North America could benefit experiences in Ghana”.  He believes that lessons learned from the long time use of marijuana in Ghana could be of use in seeing how the legalization of Marijuana in the U.S. may have unexpected results.  He believes that the recovery movements in Ghana and the U.S. could benefit from closer collaboration. 


At a meeting with the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), officials expressed a particular interest in obtaining research findings on the effectiveness of drug courts in the U.S.  They explained to Dr. Marti their interest in examining the feasibility of establishing such courts in Ghana.  Dr. Marti also conducted four training sessions for the staff of Pantang Psychiatric Hospital and their drug and alcohol Treatment Center.  Various aspects of treatment and recovery were discussed, with emphasis on the need for after care follow-up programs.  Meetings at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital and Valley View Clinic provided opportunities for explaining about the House of St. Francis and Oxford House.  In his presentation at the University of Ghana’s Psychiatric Department, Dr. Marti expressed his wish that Ghana and the U.S. could learn by exchanging recovery experiences. 


An important part of Dr. Marti’s visit to Ghana consisted of three Back to Basics training sessions conduced for the staff and clients of the House of St. Francis.  He also shared his experiences at a HSF family meeting with over 50 clients and family members present.  Counseling and the hearing of 5th steps was well received.  In a visit to the Kuo Tufo Oxford House and treatment center in Kukurantuim, Dr. Gerald provided valuable information on the medical and twelve-step aspects of treatment and recovery. 


Reflecting on his visit to Ghana, Dr. Gerald said that he “liked the people, their culture, their food and the market places”.  On a more important note he was impressed by the grasp of the 12th step in their recovery programs.  Ghanaians I recovery seemed to intuitively know that they had to give it away in order to keep it.  To that end, several individuals are planning on returning to their home areas to start 12 step meetings in order to maintain their sobriety and to carry the massage.  Very impressive.   

Monday, March 17, 2014

Lonnetta Albright Supports Recovery in Africa

Great Lakes ATTC – Great Lakes ATTC – Lonnetta Albright is Executive Director of the Great Lakes Addiction Technology Transfer Center at the University of Illinois /Jane Addams College of Social Work. Her regional ATTC leads the ATTC Network in Recovery-Oriented System Transformation efforts. She led the 2008 NIATx-ATTC pilot with the Detroit ROSC provider network as well as other county, state, regional and national ROSC transformation efforts. Under a PEPFAR sub-grant she led her ATTC’s ROSC efforts in Tanzania, Africa to train and build capacity within the substance use disorders systems and recovery community. During her 15 year tenure with the ATTC she chaired the National ATTC Criminal Justice committee; NIDA/SAMHSA-ATTC Blending Team to disseminate research results from the Motivational Incentives for Enhanced Drug Abuse Recovery, and is past co-chair of the ATTC Recovery Committee. “What I believe really helps people, families and communities achieve recovery-health-wellness is essentially what they tell us works. Recovery is personal, transformative and it depends on the entire community (formal and informal networks). I personally witnessed this as the daughter of a recovering alcoholic father who in partnership with his family, friends, employer and community enjoyed over 30 years in recovery prior to his passing at 92 years of age. Rather than focusing solely on evidence based clinical practices that revolve exclusively around treatment, government, health care and research entities our ATTC broadens its mission to include dissemination of emerging models and promising practices for designing and delivering recovery support services; leadership development and capacity building within the recovery community; and developing recovery community organizations.”

Friday, February 28, 2014

Janis is part of the Recovery Africa Family

Janis Omide says that I am a person who was “called” to help people recover from the disease of addiction.  I was introduced to the alcohol/drug treatment “field” in the 90’s and witnessed it grow into a profession.  I have a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling for addiction, and I am a certified substance abuse counselor.  However, my most valued accomplishment has been learning and living the 12-steps of recovery.  My greatest reward comes from witnessing the transformation of others in body, mind and spirit.  I am interested in Recovery Africa because I witnessed Byron Merriweather struggle in his addiction and grow in his recovery—and he invited me to the team.  I support the late Father Martin’s goal:  to ease the suffering of individuals and families, around the world, affected by addiction. I see Recovery Africa (RA) as the pioneer for providing leadership and resources for addiction treatment, prevention and recovery for African stakeholders wanting to address problems faced by people in need of treatment for addiction. 
Using a network of professionals and evidence-based resources from The United States, RA will be able to share proven programs, policies, information, data and funding to help implement effective programs in Africa—while acting on the disease-model and knowledge that treatment is effective, prevention works, and people recover.

Dr. Gerald Marti Going to Ghana in May

Dr. Marti is a MD, PhD; a physician scientist (hematologist) who spent the last 30 years in the US PHS at the NIH and FDA studying hematological malignancy. As part of his recovery program, as a physician he was directed to become a member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). As a member of the Maryland ASAM chapter, he has primarily focused his efforts in the area of continuing medical education. Currently as president of the Maryland ASAM chapter he has become involved in the issues surrounding medical marijuana and medical health parity. His interests include smoking cessation, screening, brief intervention and referral treatment (SBIRT), the use of naltrexone for extended-release injectable suspension for the treatment of alcoholism, the scientific basis for 12-step programs and medical student education in the field of alcoholism and addiction. Dr. Marti plans to go to Ghana for ten days in May and will meet with Ghanaian professionals regarding the addiction and treatment of health care workers in the U.S. Dr. While in Ghana, Marti is prepared to share his experiences in treating addiction to heroine and cocaine in the U.S. which involves stabilization, withdrawal, treatment and relapse prevention.  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Oxford House in Kukurantumi

Report from Koo Tufoo Oxford House, Kukurantumi
There are currently three men in the Oxford House here. The house opened officially January 17th and the residents are doing well. One of the men arrived in poor health, but due to improved nutrition and medical care is currently doing quite well. In fact, he is the first one up now in the morning to do daily chores.

The men have two meetings daily, morning and evening, and a two hour session using Larry Gaines’ Recovery Dynamics text. The evening meeting is an open meeting and one man from the town comes regularly. Kwabena D. teaches the Recovery Dynamics text, and chairs the evening meeting. Moses chairs the morning meeting. We have had several inquiries from nearby New Tafo and Koforidua. Actually, people have told us they are coming, but then didn’t show up. We expect one individual to follow through. There are rooms available for women in the compound, but to date, none have come.

The translation of the “Big Book” Alcoholics Anonymous into Twi is almost complete. It is being reviewed by a translator at the University of Ghana. She should finish soon, and then the text will be sent to the WSO in New York City for final approval, and then they will provide funds to print 2,000 copies. There is some interest in holding an AA meeting in Koforidua, but again we need to identify individuals there who will be interested and committed to attending.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Association of Recovery Schools & Recovery Africa

Association of Recovery SchoolsKristen Harper M.Ed., LCDC is the Executive Director of the Association of Recovery Schools (ARS) and a person living in long-term recovery (Est. 2001). ARS supports existing as well as emerging recovery high school programs by providing schools with an optional accreditation process and best practices trainings. Kristen is pursuing a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration at Texas Tech University, where she was the Collegiate Recovery Communities (CRC) Replication Coordinator for the Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery over the past three years. Prior to joining Tech, she founded a CRC at Georgia Southern University in 2008. One of the most rewarding project Kristen has been working on in addition to school and career is the Recovery Africa effort that the Hopeful Way Foundation is leading in West Africa. She has been to Ghana three times over the past three years to spread the message of recovery and hope to Ghanaian addicts and their families. "Every time I go to Ghana, I am reminded of how it must have been in the early days of Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930's. I am so grateful for the unique opportunity to serve in such an amazing country!”

Research on Oxford House Ghana

Center for Community Research – Leonard A. Jason, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Director, Center for Community Research, DePaul University.  My group at the Center for Community Research continues to be very interested the development of Oxford Houses in Africa. In the qualitative article that we recently published on the Oyarifa Oxford House in Ghana, our results suggested that the house was functioning fairly well at the time of the interviews. Most residents expressed satisfaction with their experience in the house and their progress on their efforts to recover from substance abuse. You folks are now building a sturdy foundation for the spread of these homes into other areas, and the needs are great as we know.

Our group does basic research, and we continue to be available to help out in studies and to support the development of possible grants in the future.  Some of our prior work is summarized in the book that we published a few years ago, Rescued Lives: The Oxford House Approach to Substance Abuse.

We believe that the work you are now doing in Ghana will become a model for all of Africa, and clearly dealing with the economic issues of jobs to pay for rent is a challenge that is unique and will have to be dealt with.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Jerry Moe to Help with Children in Ghana

Alcoholism and other drug addiction are a family disease.  Everyone gets hurt by it, including children.  All too often this insidious chronic illness gets passed from generation to generation.  Where does it stop?  How do we interrupt this multi-generational cycle which robs so many people of their health, wellness, spiritual purpose, and culture?

I have much interest and passion for Recovery Africa.  I would love to explore family recovery while I’m there with the specific goal of increasing attendance at Al-Anon in Ghana.  Betty Ford once told me that if you really want to make a difference in a child’s life then help who’s ever raising that child to become healthier.  I also want to plant many seeds about prevention, with a clear focus and emphasis on assisting children living in families hurt by addiction.

I have been a children’s/family counselor for 36 years.  I am presently the National Director of Children’s Programs at the Betty Ford Center.  I’ve written numerous books and done trainings around the world.  In speaking with Dan and Agnes, as well as reading all the available materials, I have a good sense of the progress made in Recovery Africa to date.  Please note that I’ve worked on other projects at a similar stage of development in China, Brazil, Russia, Sweden, Singapore, and New Zealand, with a similar focus on children and families with some amazing results.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Emily going to Ghana with students in July

"Emily Eisenhart (MA, Social Sciences) is the Director of the Center for Addiction Recovery in the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. Eisenhart is the assistant director of the Study Abroad Ghana trip organized within the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health and has brought Georgia Southern students in long-term recovery to Ghana in the summer of 2012 and 2013. The aim of the GSU study abroad students in long-term recovery is to exchange experience, strength, and hope with Ghanaians and gain insight and experience working within the international public health sector. The students who have returned from Ghana have been forever changed because of their experiences, and they often have the resources to increase awareness of the lack of resources of those attempting recovery from alcoholism and addiction in Africa. Mrs. Eisenhart is interested in building connections with treatment and halfway facilities in Ghana to track recovery outcomes and learn how to increase sustainable resources that have a measure of demonstrated success. After her first trip to Ghana, Emily fell in love forever with the country, people, and culture and never wants to stop trying to help people in Ghana and all over Africa to find ways into recovery."

 Emily Eisenhart, M.A.
Director, Center for Addiction Recovery
Dept. of Community Health Behavior and Education
Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health
Georgia Southern University

Monday, February 3, 2014

David Whiters to Ghana

David Whiters, PhD is a person in long-term recovery (29 years), will be visiting Ghana for ten days in March, 2014.  Dr. Whiters attributes his recovery to being involved in the 12-step recovery programs, involvement in his church, and his faith in God.  David is certified as an addiction professional and is the founder and former Executive Director of Recovery Consultants of Atlanta, Inc., a faith-based, peer-led Recovery Community Organization.  He has vast experiences with the recovery advocacy movement and transitional housing programs in the U.S.  He is also an expert trainer in Recovery Oriented Systems of Care (ROSC).  While in Ghana he is available to do ROSC training as needed.  He will also visit the House of St. Francis and the Hopeful Way Oxford House .  Please contact Byron Merriweather for more information. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

"...and we will go to Wa."

Those six words appeared in an email from Dr Eugene Dordoye. My first thought was "where?" and thanks to Google Earth I soon discovered where it was located. In my previous three trips I had never made it out of the Accra region so experiencing a new part of Ghana was something that I was excited to see on my agenda.

 The trip was to be an overnight adventure. The bus station was busy and crowded with several buses waiting to load passengers for the 10 hour or so journey. Loud music was coming over the speakers of the bus as we began the journey and I had two questions going through my mind. (1) I wonder what Wa will be like? (It was great!) (2) I wonder when they will turn down the music? (NEVER!)  :-)

 We arrived in Wa and after a quick check in at our motel we started our busy day. Our first start was at a special clinic that my new friend Randy who lives in Wa had arranged. A special clinic had been set up to take advantage of the wisdom and expertise of Dr. Dordoye. While I mainly observed these visits many who attended displayed the typical signs of addiction and to each of them we would say "come back here tomorrow. We are going to have a meeting that can help you". 

 The meeting of course was a 12 step meeting and I was excited and surprised to discover that many of the people we invited returned for the meeting. Father Damien (a Catholic priest from France who is currently ministering in Wa), Dr. Dordoye and I met with this group and gave an introduction to  AA meetings to them. We shared with them that this program has been around for a long time and that many  people have stopped drinking as a result of the program. A mini meeting was held and some sharing occurred.  It was a very positive time and as we closed the meeting they were reminded to come back again and that these meetings and this help was being offered to them FREE.  It is a good work that is happening there. Father Damien has a lot of work ahead of him as he tries to introduce and grow recovery in Ghana but he is eager and willing to share what he has and I am sure he would welcome your prayers and support.

 Another highlight for me was a panel interview that we took part in at the campus radio station. As we shared with the listeners that addiction is a disease and that recovery was possible the host asked one of us "what should be done with these people?" I smiled as Randy looked back at her and politely asked "what do you mean these people?". As she explained she was talking about those who drink too much or use drugs Randy calmly and kindly explained that "there are no "these people" and that alcoholics and drug addicts are just like you and me. He gently challenged the notion that they were crazy or demon possessed and repeated our message that while addiction is a disease recovery is possible and that all of our communities can be part of the solution.

 We also had the opportunity to have educational sessions with nurses and medical students. Dr. Dordoye spoke on the biological nature of addiction and Father Damien and I shared about some basic 12 step principles.

 f you are ever fortunate enough to hear the words "we're going to Wa", rest assured that you are going to a great place. It is a place that has some incredible people who are working hard to bring experience, strength and hope to their community.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Recovery in Cape Coast

Two and a half hours West of Accra you will find Cape Coast Ghana. Well known for its famous slave castle, for me it will also be remembered as home to a growing recovery community.

 My first stops with Dr. Eugene Dordoye was Ankaful Psychiatric Hospital where an AA meeting was held. The twelve steps is still a new concept in Ghana and for many gathered in the circle this was the first they had heard of it. Some spoke with surprising openness and other with great hesitation and reluctance but the seeds are being planted and I am confident that as this group grows we will see lives changed.

While in Cape Coast we also had the pleasure of spending time with Sister Rosette and a recovery community she has developed. This was a real treat! We met with this group of six or so for two days. It was obvious that they had done a lot of work on recovery. People shared their stories and each reported several months of sobriety. "Me" had turned to "we" and they genuinely seemed to care for and support each other. One day was spent together in a conference and this is where the work they had done as a community became apparent. Instead of the reluctance that is often experienced in the company of strangers the men and women in the circle shared openly with each other. They were able to speak about where they were and where they are now and to offer encouragement to each other. While still early in their recovery it was obvious that a foundation had been laid and that those in attendance had genuine hope for their future.

While Sister Rosette's group was one that provided a lot of encouragement it was also one that provided the greatest concern. Sister Rosette was a visitor to the country and had received word that very soon the church was sending her home. "What will happen to this group when the sister leaves?" is a question that bothered me then and "what has happened?" is a question I continue to ask. While I have specific concern for this group I think the question "what will happen?" is a general one for recovery in Ghana and that the question emphasis the importance of our support to this growing but fragile work.

Maybe the better question is What will I do? What will you do? What can WE do to continue to support and grow recovery in Ghana?
Submitted by
Mark Webb

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Recovery Africa Planning Session & Dinner March 20, 2014

See below the invitation to our fundraising dinner.  If possible, please join us.  A planning meeting will take place on the same day form 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. to continue the process of registering Recovery Africa as a 501(c)(3).  We will keep you up to date on developments.  The draft vision and mission statements are as follows (comments please):

Draft Mission Statement

 To assist Ghana and other African countries develop organizations that effectively address addiction to alcohol and drugs by developing prevention, treatment and recovery programs which lead to meaningful and productive lives. 

 Draft Vision Statement

 Recovery Africa will become an innovative developer of evidence based services which assist Africans to prevent and overcome substance abuse and to live productive lives.  People in recovery in Africa and North America will mutually enhance their recoveries by exchanging experiences. 


March 20, 2014
Recovery Africa
Fundraising Dinner
Time:      6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Venue:    Rock Creek Mansion
                 5417 Cedar Lane, Bethesda, MD
Price:       $100.00
More Information: Dan O’Laughlin
Tel:     301-986-4983
            202-255-5886 (Cell)