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.