Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Bryn and Bryn voice support for new addiction charity

It’s a double whammy for the Welsh Council on Alcohol and other Drugs. Not just one Bryn but two! And not any old Bryn either. We’re talking international opera singer Bryn Terfel and popular Welsh popstar and actor Bryn Fôn – both as it happens from the same neck of the woods, near Caernarfon. Both Bryns have agreed to become Patrons of the Council’s latest charitable initiative The Living Room Cardiff/Yr Ystafell Fyw Caerdydd, which offers help for people suffering from the illness of addiction. These include difficulties relating to alcohol, drugs (prescribed or illicit), or any other dependency, such as eating disorders, love and sex addiction, gambling and self-harm.

Bryn Terfel said, “It’s an honour to be associated with this new charitable project which will provide help and guidance to some of the most vulnerable and dependent people in our society. I very much hope that the initiative will be a huge success, so that it can be rolled out to more towns in Wales to help people cope with and ultimately conquer their addictions.”

Bryn Fôn added, “Addiction to drugs of any kind is a dreadful affliction and I am pleased to become a Patron of The Living Room Cardiff/Yr Ystafell Fyw Caerdydd. I know how committed Wynford Ellis Owen is in his role as chief executive of the Welsh Council on Alcohol and other Drugs, so I am confident that this initiative will be immensely worthwhile.”

Bryn Terfel and Bryn Fôn join Baroness Ilora Finlay as high profile Patrons for the charity. As well as being a member of the UK Drugs Policy Commission, Baroness Finlay is Professor of palliative medicine at Cardiff University School of Medicine and a Consultant at Velindre Hospital, Cardiff. She leads on implementing the Welsh Assembly Government’s Palliative Care Strategy and was instrumental in bringing in the Smoking Ban in Wales. Recognising the harmful effects of smoking on health and well-being, as well as the damage caused by other addictions to both individuals and society, Baroness Finlay is a powerful advocate for The Living Room Cardiff/Yr Ystafell Fyw Caerdydd. A further world-famous Welsh celebrity Patron is due to be announced in the new year.

Wynford Ellis Owen, chief executive of the Welsh Council on Alcohol and other Drugs commented, “I’m thrilled that both Bryn Terfel and Bryn Fôn are to join Baroness Finlay as Patrons for The Living Room Cardiff/Yr Ystafell Fyw Caerdydd. Their support will be crucial to our success and I’d like to thank them for their willingness to come on board in the early stages of this important initiative.

“The Living Room Cardiff/Yr Ystafell Fyw Caerdydd will operate as a day-care rehabilitation centre, with free bilingual services for people experiencing difficulties with addictions of all kinds. Changing old thought processes and old behaviour patterns will be key to its ethos, with the focus being on building on self-esteem and self-worth.

“As well as adults, the centre will cater for 13-17 year olds. It will also offer a unique crèche facility, which will enable marginalized parents of young children to benefit from the service available. The Cardiff area has a level of teenage pregnancy higher than the national average and substance abuse is often a contributing factor to the occurrence of unintended pregnancies. I hope that this significant initiative will go some considerable way towards helping people break the cycle of addiction and get their lives back on track.”

As a well-known and respected actor, Ellis Owen’s own addiction to alcohol shook the foundations of Welsh society, especially for those who associated him as the eponymous hero Syr Wynff ap Concord y Bos in the ground-breaking children’s TV programme, Teliffant, of the 1970s. Ellis Owen has since qualified as an addictions councillor and will publish his first ever English language book on March 1st next year. Called No Room To Live – a journey from addiction to recovery, the book is an adaptation of Ellis Owen’s Welsh language autobiography, Raslas Bach a Mawr, modelled in self-help format for people battling alcoholism. It will retail at £10, with all proceeds being donated by Ellis Owen to The Living Room Cardiff/Yr Ystafell Fyw Caerdydd.


For further information please contact Rhodri Ellis Owen or Lleucu Cooke at Cambrensis Communications on 029 2025 7075, rhodri@cambrensis.uk.com or go to www.welshcouncil.org.uk.

Notes to Editors
*The Living Room Cardiff/Yr Ystafell Fyw Caerdydd, is based on the ‘Living Room’ concept operational at 8 - 10 The Glebe, Chills Way, Stevenage SG2 0DJ. A registered charity: No. 1080634, more information can be accessed at www.thelivingroom.me.uk. Janis Feely (its Director and Founder) will advise, act as consultant to the Cardiff venture, and be responsible for all staff training.

From March 1st 2010, the publication No Room to Live will be available to purchase directly from the Council, via their website, www.welshcouncil.org.uk.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Responsible drinking means never having to say sorry or feel guilty for what has happened while you were drinking - that means not getting drunk

These are hints that will help you derive more enjoyment and pleasure from drinking – if you choose to consume alcohol.

1. Don’t drink more than you can handle – if you limit your drinking to no more than one drink an hour, you’ll be in control and avoid drunkenness.

2. Don’t drink on an empty stomach – better still eat food while you drink. High protein foods such as cheese and peanuts slow the absorption of alcohol into the circulatory system

3. Drink slowly – if you gulp a drink for the effect, you’ll miss out on tasting and smelling the various flavours.

4. Drink only when you really want to – but if someone is forcing you to take another drink, ask for ice or drink a non-alcoholic beverage instead.

5. Know your drinks – and cultivate taste over quantity. Learn the names of fine wines, whiskeys, and beers; and what beverage goes with what food.

6. Miss one out now and again – and take a non-alcoholic drink instead. This way you’ll get to keep the blood alcohol concentration down.

7. Drink only drinks that you’re familiar with – such drinks as zombies and other fruit and rum drinks can catch you out, as the alcohol is not always detectable.

8. Make sure that alcohol doesn’t cost you more than money – keep your friends by not making alcohol the primary focus of your evening. Arrange a theme for your party – have a Welsh night party rather than just getting together to drink beer.

9. Decide beforehand who’s going to drive home – appointing a designated driver ensures that someone will be available who will not be drinking and will drive all drinkers home.

10. Don’t mix alcohol with other drugs – this includes over-the-counter drugs such as sleeping pills and cold or cough medicines, and certain antibiotics, arthritic, anti-depressant, and many other prescription medications. Check out the dangers with your doctor or pharmacist first.

11. Respect those who prefer not to drink – many abstain for religious or medical reasons, because they are recovering alcoholics, or simply because they don’t like the taste of alcohol. Respect their right to be different.

12. Avoid mixing your drinks and drinking on an empty stomach (particularly if you’re spending Christmas in a hot climate) – this can produce hypoglycaemia, which can ruin your day by causing dizziness, weakness, and mood change.

13. Know your recommended limit – this means for males no more than 2 – 3 units of alcohol and for females 1 – 2 units per day. Most studies suggest that these limits are safe for health.

Having a party? These handy hints will help you enjoy yourself and give more pleasure to your guests:

1. Make sure people have plenty of room to move around and meet each other – if that means putting the sofa in one corner, so be it.

2. Who’s in charge? Make sure that the “barman” is not a “too eager pusher” who uses the role to put an extra shot in everyone’s glass, or to keep filling up half empty cups with more beer.

3. Pace your drinks – have one drink an hour and you won’t get drunk. Use small cups or glasses rather than large ones for beer drawn out of kegs.

4. Serving doubles and trebles causes trouble – besides, it’s considered rude. Many mature and wise people count and pace their drinks. If you serve doubles and trebles they will be drinking twice and three times as much as they planned.

5. Make sure they eat something – have plenty of high quality snacks such as cheese, meats, nuts, etc to help slow the absorption of alcohol into the circulatory system.

6. Don’t ply them with drink – let the glass be empty before you offer a refill.

7. Serve non-alcoholic drinks as well – many people do not drink and may be on medication or be recovering alcoholics.

8. Stop tap. Decide in advance when you want your party to end, and from that time on stop serving alcohol and serve coffee and a substantial snack instead. This provides some non-drinking time before your guests drive home. Remember, cold showers and coffee do not “sober up” intoxicated people – it just makes them more aware that they’re freezing drunk.

9. Don’t allow people who have been drinking to get behind the wheel – instead, let them sleep at your house or have someone else drive them home, or call a taxi.

10. If you abide by these helpful hints they will help you and your friends drink responsibly and derive more enjoyment and pleasure from drinking – if you choose to consume alcohol.

As a general rule: Don’t drink:

• When sick
• Taking medication
• Being a designated driver

Consuming NO MORE than one glass of wine, beer or mixed drink with a meal in an hour will keep you in control of the situation and prevent drunkenness.

The Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs, 58 Richmond Road, Cardiff CF24 3AT. T. 02920 493 895. E. info@welshcouncil.org.uk Website. www.welshcouncil.org.uk adapted from Engs, R.C. Alcohol and Other Drugs: Self Responsibility. Tichenor Publishing Company, Bloomington, IN, 1987.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Ruth Andrews objects to Dr David Best's lecture

Ruth Andrews, a Psychoanalytical Psychotherapist from Birmingham, attended the Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs’ Inaugural Annual Lecture at the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff on 16th June, 2009. The Lecture, delivered by Dr David Best from the University of the West of Scotland on ‘Evidence of hope – what do we know about sustained recovery from alcohol and drug addiction?’, caused controversy.

In a letter to David Best, Ruth said:

‘On 16th June I attended the lecture you delivered in Cardiff. You presented data from research conducted in Birmingham and made some powerful comments about the staff working in the drug services. I would like to suggest that your comments regarding all staff and service users were based on omission of fact not on substantive data. I have therefore collated data and compiled a document illustrating the work that has been developed over a number of years by the Tier 4 service. Dates, data and comments by service users are included in order to verify the text.

Ruth goes on ‘Your arguments regarding the use of Methadone script is applicable to Tier 3 services and this should have been made clear. The one thing that is very evident with service users we work with, prior to and post residential rehabilitation, is the hope they have and their appreciation of being able to engage in a difficult but challenging life of real growth’.

At the time, Wynford Ellis Owen, chief executive of the Welsh Council, said that David’s lecture was both thought-provoking and informative. He wrote “I was left thinking, at last someone is talking sense here and he’s backed it up with solid evidence – yes, treatment is not good enough and treatment itself is not enough – it is not sufficient in its current form to support recovery. David, however, recognised that recovery does happen but that it happens in community settings where indigenous resources provide the basis for the recovery journey.”

You can access Ruth Andrew’s paper in response to David’s lecture by visiting our website www.welshcouncil.org.uk

The lecture, which was hosted by Gareth Jones OBE, AM, was recorded and can be viewed by sisiting the same websiteand clicking on 'Annual Lecture'.

The Welsh Council’s next Annual Lecture will be held at the Welsh Assembly building in Cardiff Bay on 23rd June, 2010. More information can be accessed on our website from January, 2010 onwards.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Retreat held at Coleg Trefeca *, which is set in the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park


From 22nd to 24th January 2010

Theme – “One Day at a Time”

This will be a weekend retreat of 30 people with an emphasis on living “one day at a time”. It is an opportunity to get away from the business of life and spend some time on yourself and your life. One of the biggest challenges we face is to live in the “now” – too often guilt and shame from the past and anxiety for the future can leave us stuck in the present – physically , spiritually and emotionally. This retreat is about learning acceptance and ways of living in forgiveness and harmony with ourselves and others, putting the past behind you and living in the present - our prayer is that this weekend is another landmark and stepping stone in your life’s journey. It will be inspirational, challenging and the utmost in fine fellowship.

“This retreat gave me hope and courage to face myself – in getting away from the busy life I lead, to deal with the truth of my past, being in a safe place with like minded people has set me free from the confusion and helped me to forgive”

“My world is not such a dark place as I know I am no longer alone – I now understand the recovery program for myself and able to experience the freedom it promises”

(Discover what others think of our retreats by accessing our website www.welshcouncil.org.uk and clicking on “Our Retreat”.)

Our objectives are as follows:

• To create an environment to promote recovery and healing from alcoholism and other addictive illnesses for the sufferer, their families and friends;

• To help identify the issues that prevent people from living life to the fullest;

• To create positive lifestyles through personal responsibility and the release of emotional baggage.

The retreat will involve the following:

• Inspirational speakers to motivate and inspire;

• Study of recovery principles using the 12 step programme of recovery with reflections on Scripture and other spiritual and recovery resources;

• Workshops / group work / one-to-one on the theme of the weekend;

• Time for personal reflection, Guided meditation, relaxing and rest times.

Cost for the weekend:

Cost £100 - This includes accommodation, all meals, tea and coffee throughout the weekend and study resource material. Book your place by contacting The Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs, 58 Richmond Road, Cardiff CF24 3AT; T. 02920 493 895; E. info@welshcouncil.org.uk; Web. www.welshcouncil.org.uk. Cheques should be made payable to: The Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs (WCAOD)

• How to find Trefeca. Coleg Trefeca is in Trefeca village on the B4560 between Talgarth and Llangors. Abergavenny is the nearest railway station (18 miles). Post Code: LD3 0PP. Web site www.trefeca.org.uk.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

No Room To Live - a Sobering Experience

It’s hard-hitting and thought provoking, poignant yet suitably sobering. Wynford Ellis Owen’s first ever English language book, No Room To Live, will be launched on St David’s Day, 1st March 2010. His successful Welsh language autobiography, Raslas Bach a Mawr, published in 2005, gave Wynford the initial idea to adapt it for an English audience. However No Room to Live has since developed to be far more than an autobiography of the popular Welsh actor’s life and his personal battle with alcoholism.

As chief executive of the Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs and a qualified addictions councillor, Ellis Owen has turned his experiences around and in doing so he saw the need for a self-help book with a difference. No Room to Live took shape and it will be essential reading for people and families struggling to cope with the plague of modern day society – alcoholism and dependency on drugs in its many guises.

A self-help book it may be, but given Ellis Owen’s engaging narrative style, it makes compelling reading. The narrative is based on anecdotes - some comical, some serious – influenced by the author’s own experiences. As a well-known and respected actor, Ellis Owen’s addiction to alcohol shook the foundations of Welsh society, especially for those who associated him as the eponymous hero Syr Wynff ap Concord y Bos in the ground-breaking children’s TV programme, Teliffant, of the 1970s.

No Room to Live will retail at £10, with all proceeds being donated by Ellis Owen to a new charity established by the Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs, called The Living Room Cardiff/Yr Ystafell Fyw Caerdydd. This brand new charitable venture aims to set up a free, bilingual day-care rehabilitation centre in the capital to help people break the cycle of addiction. In time, the service will be extended to all major towns throughout Wales.

Ellis Owen’s success in beating his addiction and regaining his reputation in Welsh life, both on and off screen, put him in a unique position to write this self-help book.

Ellis Owen explains, “Alcoholism and dependency on drugs, both prescription and illicit, ruin lives. It’s a slippery slope into despair and despondency. You risk losing everything, your self-respect, your home, your family. I know because I’ve been there. But there is hope and I’m testament to that. My book, No Room to Live, focuses on how to regain control of life and find happiness once again.

“The road to recovery is not an easy one. It requires determination and commitment, strength and support. My book is one of many tools available to people to help them rebuild their lives. There is a range of support organisations out there too, including the Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs. So while life for sufferers might seem a lonely and depressing place, there is hope and support – light at the end of that seemingly never ending tunnel.

“I’m delighted to reveal that all proceeds from my book will be donated towards setting up a free, bilingual day-care rehabilitation centre in Cardiff. The Living Room Cardiff/Yr Ystafell Fyw Caerdydd, will offer help for anyone experiencing difficulties relating to alcohol, drugs (prescribed or illicit), or any other dependency, such as eating disorders, love and sex addiction, gambling and self-harm. My book is intended, therefore, to help others to rebuild their lives. ”

From March 1st 2010, the publication No Room to Live will be available to purchase directly from the Council, via their website, www.welshcouncil.org.uk.


For further information please contact Rhodri Ellis Owen at Cambrensis Communications on 029 2025 7075 or rhodri@cambrensis.uk.com or go to www.welshcouncil.org.uk.

Notes to Editors

*The Living Room Cardiff/Yr Ystafell Fyw Caerdydd, is based on the ‘Living Room’ concept operational at 8 - 10 The Glebe, Chills Way, Stevenage SG2 0DJ. A registered charity: No. 1080634, more information can be accessed at www.thelivingroom.me.uk. Janis Feely (its Director and Founder) will advise, act as consultant to the Cardiff venture, and be responsible for all staff training.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Nid mater o ddu a gwyn ydi mater y cyffuriau yma.

Nid mater o ddu a gwyn ydi mater y cyffuriau yma. Mae tystiolaeth “wyddonol” yn gallu awgrymu nifer o bethau sy’n wallgofrwydd llwyr i bobl sy’n ddibynnol ar y cyffuriau hyn. Er enghrafft mae “gwyddoniaeth” yn awgrymu y gall pobl, sy’n gaeth i alcohol, yfed yn ddiogel eto. Gwallgofrwydd llwyr yw hynny, wrth gwrs, gan i bawb dwi’n adnabod sydd wedi gwneud hynny farw o ganlyniad. Ond nid yw’r enghreifftiau unigol hyn yn cyfri yn null gwyddoniaeth o nodi ystadegau.

Yr un peth parthed bod dibynniaeth yn ‘progressive, hynny yw ei fod yn gwaethygu o flwyddyn i flwyddyn, byth yn gwella. Yn ol tystiolaeth “wyddonol” myth yw hynny eto. Mewn gwirionedd, sut bynnag, dyna sy’n digwydd – mae problemau dibyniaeth yn gwaethygu byth yn gwella. Edrychwch ar y dystiolaeth mewn bywydau pobl sy’n gaeth. Ond dyw’r dystiolaeth hynny, chwaith, ddim yn cyfri.

Fel dywedais, mae angen trin y “dystiolaeth” wyddonol yn ofalus iawn. Yn anffodus, roedd cyngor David Nutt yn dueddol o gefnogi un dehongliad yn unig – dehongliad, o fynd ag ef i’w eithaf, fyddai wedi arwain at gyfreithloni cyffuriau yn y man.

Hynny, yn fy marn i, sydd wedi profi'n anathema i’r gweinidog ac i’w lywodraeth. A dyna, dwi’n awgrymu, sydd y tu cefn i ddiswyddiad yr Athro David Nutt. Dadl o blaid ac yn erbyn cyfreithloni cyffuriau ydyw yn ei hanfod. Ac mae honno'n ddadl y dylid ei chynnal yn gyhoeddus.

Wynford Ellis Owen

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Cartoon winners take a bow at St David's Hall

The very first fundraising event in aid of the Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs’ newest initiative was held at St David’s Hall, Cardiff on Sunday 25 October. All monies raised from the musical extravaganza staged by Cwmni Theatr Ieuenctid Maldwyn will go towards establishing The Living Room Cardiff, a free, bilingual day-care rehabilitation centre which aims to break the cycle of addiction. In time, the service will be extended to all major towns throughout Wales.

The evening also saw the Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs officially lauch its new website www.welshcouncil.org.uk and announce the winners of its nationwide cartoon competition.

Split into three age groups: under 11s, 11-18 and 18+, the competition invited children and young people to insert their own end-scenarios and comments into cartoons. From original ideas by young people from Gwaelod-y-Garth and Efail Isaf the cartoonist Cen Williams designed four separate cartoons, showing a number of blank ‘what happened next’ scenarios, involving the effects of excess alcohol and other drugs. The cartoons are available on the Council’s website at www.welshcouncil.org.uk/competition.html.

Showing strong, creative talent and imagination, the winners with their prizes were:

Emyr Morris-Jones, (18+) Tregarth, Bangor - 2 tickets to see Wales V Argentina rugby international
Erin Davies (11-18) Pen Y Maes, Flint - new bike
Llio (under 11) Chwilog, Pwllheli - Free entrance to Portmeirion for 2 adults and up to 3 children
Connor J Watkins (11-18) Swansea - weekend for 2 ar the Urdd Centre, Cardiff
Megan Louise Davies (11-18) Pontarddulais - 2 tickets to see the show ‘Never Forget’ at the Wales Millennium Centre
Carys Davies Jones (under 11) Whitchurch, Cardiff - new bike
Emyr Morris-Jones (18+) Tregarth, Bangor - 2 return flight tickets from North to South or from South to North Wales
Erith Davies (18+) Whitchurch, Cardiff - meal for 2 at the Welsh Assembly Building

Wynford Ellis Owen, chief executive of the Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs said, “My congratulations to all our cartoon competition winners. It was great to see so many entries and very heartening to read the positive and humorous quips. It is of course no joke to tackle the issues of Welsh youth addiction to alcohol and other drugs, but I am confident that by educating youngsters of the dangers of addiction, we can held them make the right choices in their lives.”

For further information please contact Rhodri Ellis Owen at Cambrensis Communications on 029 2025 7075 or rhodri@cambrensis.uk.com or go to www.welshcouncil.org.uk


Cwmni Theatr Ieuenctid Maldwyn is a musical theatre group of some 350 young people based in mid Wales. They will perform a compilation of their most successful and popular shows over the last 25 years - a celebration of their musical and acting talent. As well as supporting The Living Room Cardiff initiative, the company are also performing in Llandudno to raise money for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

*The Living Room Cardiff/Yr Ystafell Fyw Caerdydd, is based on the ‘Living Room’ concept operational at 8 - 10 The Glebe, Chills Way, Stevenage SG2 0DJ. A registered charity: No. 1080634, more information can be accessed at www.thelivingroom.me.uk.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Taking the message online and laying foundations for The Living Room

The very first fundraising event in aid of the Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs’ newest initiative is being held at St David’s Hall, Cardiff, at 7pm on Sunday 25 October. All monies raised from the musical extravaganza staged by Cwmni Theatr Ieuenctid Maldwyn will go towards establishing The Living Room Cardiff, a free, bilingual day-care rehabilitation centre which aims to break the cycle of addiction. In time, the service will be extended to all major towns throughout Wales.

The evening will also mark two further milestones for the Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs. They will not only launch their newly designed website, www.welshcouncil.org.uk, but they will also announce the winners of their nationwide cartoon competition.

Split into three age groups: under 11s, 11-18 and 18+, the competition invited children and young people to insert their own end-scenarios and comments into cartoons. From original ideas by young people from Gwaelod-y-Garth and Efail Isaf, cartoonist Cen Williams designed four separate cartoons, showing a number of blank ‘what happened next’ scenarios, involving the effects of excess alcohol and other drugs. The cartoons will be available to view on the Council’s website at www.welshcouncil.org.uk/competition.html.

Wynford Ellis Owen, chief executive of the Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs said, “I am hugely indebted to Cwmni Theatr Ieuenctid Maldwyn for supporting us so generously with the launch of our new fundraising initiative. The evening’s performance promises to be a truly fabulous event – a must see for anyone who enjoys Welsh musical talent.

“The Living Room Cardiff project is an exciting initiative for us. Our aim is to help people experiencing difficulties relating to alcohol, drugs be they prescribed or illicit, or any other dependency, in an effective way, with long-term positive outcomes.”

Rhoi'r neges ar-lein a gosod sylfeini Y Stafell Fyw

Cynhelir y digwyddiad codi arian cyntaf er budd prosiect diweddaraf Cyngor Cymru ar Alcohol a Chyffuriau yn Neuadd Dewi Sant, Caerdydd am 7 o’r gloch ar nos Sul 25 Hydref. Bydd yr arian a godir o sioe gerdd Cwmni Theatr Ieuenctid Maldwyn yn mynd at sefydlu Ystafell Fyw Caerdydd, canolfan driniaeth fydd yn cynnig gofal dydd dwyieithog am ddim wrth dorri cylchred dibyniaeth. Mewn amser, fe fydd y gwasanaeth yn cael ei ymestyn i bob prif dref ar draws Cymru.

Fe fydd y noson yn nodi dwy garreg filltir arall i Gyngor Cymru ar Alcohol a Chyffuriau Eraill. Nid yn unig mae nhw’n lansio ei gwefan newydd, www.cyngorcymru.org.uk, ond fe fyddan nhw hefyd yn cyhoeddi enillwyr eu gystadleuaeth cartŵn.

Wedi ei rannu i mewn i dri grŵp o oedrannau gwahanol: o dan 11 oed, 11-18 oed a 18+, roedd y gystadleuaeth yn gyfle i blant a phobl ifanc rhoi diweddglo a sylwadau eu hunain i mewn i’r cartwnau. O syniadau gwreiddiol gan bobl ifanc yng Ngwaelod-y-garth a Efail Isaf, y cartwnydd Cen Williams gynlluniodd pedwar math gwahanol o gartwnau, yn dangos nifer o scenarios gwag ‘beth ddigwyddodd nesaf’, yn cynnwys effeithiau gormod o alcohol a chyffuriau eraill. Fe fydd cyfle i weld y cartwnau ar wefan y Cyngor www.cyngorcymru.org.uk/cystadleuaeth.html

Dywedodd Wynford Ellis Owen, Prif Weithredwr Cyngor Cymru ar Alcohol a Chyffuriau Eraill, Drugs said, “Rwyf yn hynod ddyledus i Gwmni Theatr Ieuenctid Maldwyn am gefnogi lawns ein prosiect codi arian newydd. Mae perfformiad y noson yn addo i fod yn ddigwyddiad gwych - noson i’w gofio i unrhyw un sy’n mwynhau talent gerddorol yng Nghymru.

“Mae prosiect Y Stafell Fyw Caerdydd yn fenter gyffrous i ni. Ein bwriad yw helpu pobl sydd â phroblemau yn ymwneud ag alcohol, cyffuriau (boed e yn gyfreithlon neu'n yn anghyfreithlon), mewn ffordd effeithlon, gyda chanlyniadau positif hir dymor.”

Trin dibyniaeth yng Nghaerdydd: hwb gan gantorion ifanc

Bydd noson godi arian gyntaf menter newydd Cyngor Cymru ar Alcohol a Chyffuriau eraill yn cael ei chynnal yn Neuadd Dewi Sant, Caerdydd, am 7yh nos Sul 25 Hydref. Bydd yr elw o’r dathliad cerddorol a lwyfannir gan Gwmni Theatr Ieuenctid Maldwyn yn mynd tuag at sefydlu Yr Ystafell Fyw Caerdydd, canolfan adferiad am ddim, ddwyieithog sy’n ceisio torri cylch dibyniaeth. Gydag amser, bydd y gwasanaeth yn cael ei ymestyn i bob tref fawr yng Nghymru.

Dywedodd Wynford Ellis Owen, prif weithredwr Cyngor Cymru ar Alcohol a Chyffuriau Eraill, sy’n gyfrifol am sefydlu’r ganolfan newydd hon, “Mawr yw fy nyled i Gwmni Theatr Ieuenctid Maldwyn am ein cefnogi mor hael yn lansiad ein menter godi arian newydd. Mae’r perfformiad yn siwr o fod yn ddigwyddiad gwirioneddol wych – noson i’w chofio i bawb sy’n mwynhau doniau cerddorol Cymreig.

“Mae’r Ystafell Fyw Caerdydd yn fenter gyffrous i ni. Ein hamcan yw helpu pobl sy’n profi anawsterau yn ymwneud ag alcohol, cyffuriau (presgripsiwn neu anghyfreithlon), neu unrhyw ddibyniaeth arall fel anhwylderau bwyta, dibynniaeth ar gariad neu ryw a gamblo, mewn ffordd effeithlon, gyda chanlyniadau hir-dymor cadarnhaol.”

Bydd Yr Ystafell Fyw Caerdydd yn agor yn y brifddinas ym mis Ebrill 2011. Yn darparu cwnsela yn ogystal â chyngor ynglŷn â dyledion, gofal plant a chymorth i deulu’r person dibynnol, ei hamcan fydd trin pob agwedd o’r salwch - every aspect of the illness – mind, body and soul.

“Mae’n achos haeddianol iawn ac rydym ni’n fwy na pharod i helpu” meddai Penri Roberts, un o gyfarwyddwyr artistig Theatr Ieuenctid Maldwyn. “Mae’r cyngerdd, Ar Noson fel Hon, yn ddetholiad o’r prif ganeuon o’n sioau dros y chwarter canrif ddiwethaf. Wedi perfformio yn Venue Cymru yn Llandudno yn gynharach yr wythnos yma, dyma’r cyfle olaf i bobl gael gweld y sioe.”

“Rwy’n falch dros ben i gefnogi prosiect yr Ystafell Fyw,” meddai Jenny Randerson AC, aelod o bwyllgor llywio yr Ystafell Fyw Caerdydd. “Mae’r prosiect yn haeddu cefnogaeth pawb, achos mae dibyniaeth yn cyffwrdd pob cymuned yn uniongyrchol.”

“Bob dydd yn fy etholaeth, rwy’n gweld effeithiau alcohol a chyffuriau ar fywyd cymaint o bobl. Ond rwy’ hefyd yn gweld sut mae pobl wedi troi eu bywydau o gwmpas gyda’r driniaeth a’r gefnogaeth iawn. Dyna pam fod y prosiect hwn am fod yn hollbwysig wrth ail-adeiladau bywydau a theuluoedd drylliedig a gwneud Caerdydd a Chymru yn lefydd hapusach i lawer iawn o bobl.”

Hefyd yn y cyngerdd bydd Janis Feely, sylfaenydd a chyfarwyddwr Living Room Stevenage, y ganolfan driniaeth sy’n sail i syniad yr Ystafell Fyw Caerdydd. Wedi ei sefydlu yn 2000, mae gan Living Room Stevenage nawr 18 o weithwyr cyflogedig a 20 o wirfoddolwyr ac mae’n profi llwyddiant gyda thua 70 y cant o’i chleientiaid.

“Mae’n wych gweld canolfan debyg yn cael ei sefydlu yng Nghaerdydd,” meddai. “Mae’r cyngerdd yma yn syniad gwych – cael pobl i gefnogi’r peth a chael pobl Cymru, nid Caerdydd yn unig, i “berchnogi” y ganolfan newydd, ydi’r peth pwysicaf oll.”

Sefydlwyd Cyngor Cymru ar Alcohol a Chyffuriau Eraill ym 1968 gan sawl enwad Cristnogol Cymreig, sydd hyd heddiw yn cael eu cynrychioli ar Fwrdd Ymddiriedolwyr y Cyngor. Ers i Wynford Ellis Owen gael ei benodi yn 2008, mae’r Cyngor wedi dechrau gweithredu strategaeth dair-blynedd gyffrous sy’n canolbwyntio ar hybu ‘Dewis a Byw Bywyd Cyfrifol.’ Un o gonglfeini’r strategaeth honno yw hwyluso sefydlu Yr Ystafell Fyw Caerdydd.

Am wybodaeth bellach, cysylltwch â Mari Fflur, Eglwys Bresbyteraidd Cymru, ar 029 2062 7465 neu mari@ebcpcw.org.uk neu ewch i www.cyngorcymru.org.uk.

Nodiadau i Olygyddion

Mae Cwmni Theatr Ieuenctid Maldwyn yn grŵp theatr gerddorol sy’n cynnwys tua 350 o bobl ifanc o ganolbarth Cymu. Byddant yn perfformio detholiad o’u sioeau mwyaf llwyddiannus a phoblogaidd dros y 25 mlynedd diwethaf – dathliad o’u doniau cerddorol ac actio. Yn ogystal â chefnogi menter Yr Ystafell Fyw Caerdydd, mae’r cwmni hefyd yn perfformio yn Llandudno i godi arian ar gyfer Ysbyty Blant Alder Hey yn Lerpwl.

* Mae The Living Room Cardiff/Yr Ystafell Fyw Caerdydd, wedi ei seilio ar gysyniad y ‘Living Room’ sy’n weithredol yn 8 - 10 The Glebe, Chills Way, Stevenage SG2 0DJ. Mae’n elusen gofrestredig: Rhif 1080634, ac mae mwy o wybodaeth ar gael yn www.thelivingroom.me.uk. Bydd Janis Feely (y Cyfarwyddwr a’r Sylfaenydd) yn cynghori, gweithredu fel ymgynghorydd i’r fenter yn Nghaerdydd, yn ogystal â bod yn gyfrifol am bob hyfforddiant i’r staff.

Monday, 12 October 2009



Sunday night 25th October at 7.00pm.

WHERE? St David’s Hall, Cardiff



The event is being arranged in order to raise money to establish a free, day-care bilingual treatment centre in Cardiff for anyone experiencing difficulties relating to alcohol, drugs (prescribed or illicit), or any other dependency. The new centre, THE LIVING ROOM CARDIFF - 'breaking the cycle of addiction'/YR YSTAFELL FYW CAERDYDD - 'yn torri cylch dibyniaeth', will be opened in 2011. In time, the service will be extended to all major towns throughout Wales.

Is there a family anywhere in Wales today that hasn’t, in some way, been affected by the misuse of alcohol and/or other drugs?

……. For more information contact the Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs – 029 2049 3895 or St David’s Hall on 029 2087 8444.
TICKETS: £20.00; £15.00; £10.00



Nos Sul 25ain o Hydref am 7 o’r gloch.

YN LLE? Neuadd Dewi Sant, Caerdydd



Bydd y Cwmni enwog hwn o 350 o bobl ifanc yn perfformio caneuon o rai o sioeau mwyaf llwyddiannus y cwmni dros y blynyddoedd - ‘Y Mab Darogan’, ‘Y Cylch’, ‘Pum Diwrnod o Ryddid’, ‘Myfi Yw’, ‘Er Mwyn Yfory’ ac ‘Ann’

Mae’r digwyddiad yn cael ei drefnu er mwyn codi arian i sefydlu canolfan driniaeth newydd - YR YSTAFELL FYW - 'yn torri cylch dibyniaeth' - yng Nghaerdydd i rai sy’n gaeth i alcohol a chyffuriau eraill ym 2011.

A oes teulu unman yng Nghymru heddiw nad yw wedi ei gyffwrdd, mewn rhyw ffordd, gan y gorddefnydd o alcohol a/neu gyffuriau eraill?

……. Am fwy o fanylion cysylltwch â Chyngor Cymru ar Alcohol a Chyffuriau Eraill ar Caerdydd 493895 neu’n uniongyrchol â Neuadd Dewi Sant ar Caerdydd 878444.
TOCYNNAU: £20.00; £15.00; £10.00

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Deal with the important few not the trivial many

That’s what’s guiding my life at the moment. With my autobiography – ‘No Room to Live’ – due to be published on 1st March, 2010, I’m obliged to put aside my Daily Blog temporarily and concentrate on writing the final three chapters of the book. Naturally, my ongoing recovery takes precedence over everything, but I’m still able to achieve many goals around the Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs’ 3 year strategy.

This last weekend, for example, we held our first retreat on ‘Forgiveness and Healing’ at St Non’s Retreat Centre in St Davids, Pembrokeshire. And it was a joy. The number of people able to attend this weekend was limited because of lack of space, but, without exception, all our aims were achieved: 1) to create an environment to promote recovery and healing from alcoholism and other addictive illnesses for the sufferer, their families and friends (the beautiful location itself facilitated this); 2) to help identify the issues that prevent people from living life to the fullest (an inability to forgive self was the primary reason for many this weekend); and 3) to create positive lifestyles through personal responsibility and the release of emotional baggage (a lot of healing took place at St Non’s; here is a typical response):

"I feel so blessed to have shared the experience of healing this weekend with all you lovely people.

If I was ever in any doubt, I am now convinced that God really does work through people.
The love I received and the encouragement and peace along with many tears and laughs was incredible.

It’s hard when you go back to the normal world (you know with those people who don’t really understand us) and you want to share your weekend. If I had to tell the people at work this morning that I had a wonderful time sitting crying buckets and then throwing stones over a cliff, I really don’t think they would get it!!!!! Since I work for the NHS they would probably lock me up in the Psychiatric ward and be done with it.

Never mind you all know what I mean when I say the tears were so cleansing and refreshing that I feel renewed.

I feel the peace in my heart and that is a miracle. I have not had peace in my heart for a very long time. Love, Trish xx"

You’ll be able to view more similar testimonies on our website soon. Go to www.welshcouncil.org.uk.

Our next retreat will be at Coleg Trefeca from 22nd to 24th January, 2010. Trefeca is a lay training and retreat centre located in Brecon Beacons National Park in the historic home of Howell Harris. We’ll look forward to welcoming you there when we’ll attempt to cover every aspect of the weekend for your enjoyment and satisfaction. Our desire will be to ensure also that the weekend is inclusive and does not isolate anyone, offend or cause any obstacles.

It is our prayer that this retreat, like the one in St Non’s, will be another landmark and stepping stone in your life’s journey. We hope it will be inspirational, challenging and the utmost in fine fellowship. If there is anything that we can help you with over the weekend, all you have to do is ask and we will do all that we can to assist. All that we ask is that you keep an open mind, relax and enjoy the weekend.

We also have a huge fundraising event on 25th October, 2009. Theatr Ieuenctid Maldwyn, a music and theatre group comprising 350 young people and based in mid Wales, will perform a compilation from their shows over the last 25 years at St David’s Hall in Cardiff.

This group have produced many shows including Myfi Yw and Pum diwrnod o rhyddid. They have been produced by Linda Gittins, Derec Williams and Penri Roberts. Now THIS IS THE GOOD NEWS. The event is being orgainsed to raise money to support the Welsh Council’s efforts to establish the LIVING ROOM CARDIFF/YSTAFELL FYW CAERDYDD – a free, bilingual day-care rehabilitation centre incorporating structured programmes for anyone experiencing difficulty relating to alcohol, drugs (prescribed or illicit), or any other dependency.

The new centre will open in April, 2011.

We are indeed indebted to these young people for supporting our efforts in this way. So get your tickets friends – this will be a night to remember. (You can acess more information about THE LIVING ROOM CARDIFF/YSTAFELL FYW CAERDYDD by going to our webisite www.welshcouncil.org.uk and clicking on ‘Day-Care Centre’

You can also access further information about the fundraising event from www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk

As you can see, we’ve got a very busy period ahead of us – as we continue to promote ‘Choice and Responsible Living’ in relation to alcohol and other drugs.
(My every best wish, Wynford).

Thursday, 20 August 2009

I burst into tears like a two-year old

I felt under pressure on this one particular day; I had to take part in a very important television interview later in the afternoon and the demands on my time from others who expected immediate attention was becoming unreasonable (but not unbearable). I felt heaviness around my eyes and temple, the kind of heaviness one experiences when you want to cry. And yet I had no reason to want to cry. On the contrary, I’d never felt so much happiness and contentment in my life as I’d been experiencing lately. Was it, perhaps, I wondered, because I had forgotten the importance of leaving a margin on the page of my busy life? Had I been forgetting to give myself some “me” time?

I entered my office and wondered why I felt stressed. For some reason, I was drawn to my bookshelf and to a recent purchase I’d made when the Logos Hope Ship had visited Cardiff - The Life Recovery Bible. A few years ago I was given The Life Recovery Bible as a gift by a friend of mine. Alas, at the time I was still very much a “people pleaser” and had given it to my local church minister, telling him that I felt sure he’d find more use for it than me. I’d always regretted doing than. And when the minister died recently I asked his widow whether the Recovery Bible was still in his library. After a thorough search she informed me it was not.

A few weeks later, however, I visited, with my granddaughters, the Logos Hope Ship in Cardiff dock – a floating source of knowledge, help and hope - and there, in one corner, was a copy of The Life Recovery Bible. I immediately purchased it; and have treasured this purchase ever since.

In my office that morning, I reached for The Life Recovery Bible and flicked through its 1728 pages. For some reason, my finger settled on Numbers 23: verses 18 to 24 (page 204). And I read aloud the following:

‘This was the message Balaam delivered:

“Rise up, Balak, and listen!
Hear me, son of Zippor.
God is not a man, so he does not lie.
He is not human, so he does not change his mind.
Has he ever spoken and failed to act?
Has he ever promised and not carried it through?
Listen, I received a command to bless;
God has blessed, and I cannot reverse it!
No misfortune is in his plan for Jacob;
No trouble is in store for Israel.
For the Lord their God is with them;
He has been proclaimed their king.
God brought them out of Egypt;
For them he is as strong as a wild ox.
No curse can touch Jacob;
No magic has any power against Israel.
For now it will be said of Jacob,
‘What wonders God has done for Israel!’

But well before I’d finished reading the verses, I had burst into tears like a two-year old – tears that led to a deep, deep sobbing. And I found myself mumbling through my tears, “Forgive me Lord; forgive me for not trusting you enough.”

Immediately I was filled with a profound feeling of wellbeing. I knew that everything would be alright. And I knew deep within my soul that I was capable, with God’s help, of confronting the burden of being human. I knew, if God was for me - who possibly could be against me?’

The rest of the day went as it was meant to go – perfectly.

To date, God has never let me down. After that experience in my office that morning, I know he never will.


Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Prayer, Gratitude, Acceptance - emotional balance

Last time I wrote about my recovery journey I said that the daily practice of prayer - asking for guidance for my life and the power to use that guidance - has given me an inner strength. This is step 11 of the 12Step programme. Together with keeping a watch on my behaviour and having the desire to put things right immediately - step 10 - I am able to accept life on a daily basis no matter what it brings.

I am able to stay emotionally balanced which is essential for growing in recovery. I need to be able to control my emotions otherwise they will control me - it is the daily practice of prayer and meditation which helps me to do this.

The other essential part of this daily practice is GRATITUDE! - being grateful for everything I have. I need to be truly grateful every day. The practice of gratitude can transform a negative situation immediately. Making a mental list of everything to be grateful for or even better, writing out a list of everything to be grateful for, can TRANSFORM a situation. It puts things in perspective and calms the emotions. Personally I have never known it to fail. So prayer plus gratitude allows acceptance of whatever life brings which keeps the emotions balanced - essential for recovery.

This daily practice is what I suggest as being ESSENTIAL for growing in recovery and enjoying the wonderful new life which replaces the nightmare of addiction. For me it is an absolute must and I would not dream of going one day without it - why would I when I know the benefits it brings - inner peace, joy and happiness.

I mentioned meditation - for me it is simply a time of silence. I make time to simply sit for a short time every day in silence placing myself in the presence of the loving power of God. This is the listening part of the prayer conversation - allowing God to speak to my heart. I make time for developing my relationship with God. The time of silence allows me to reflect and become aware of myself and my relationship with others. I need this time to detach from the activity of life and just 'be'. This is the suggestion of step 11.

There have been many times in my recovery when I have been presented with very difficult emotional situations which would in the past certainly have resulted in me relieving the pain through alcohol - now when I am in great emotional pain I turn for consolation and strength to the loving power of God instead.

Probably the most difficult situation I have coped with to date in recovery was the sudden death of my youngest sister. We were very close and we often used to meet during her lunch break. We met on the Tuesday and enjoyed being together - she was full of fun and we talked about a wedding she was going to the following week. Little did I know that when I said good bye to her that day that it would be the last good bye. She died in her sleep that night.

I had been given the opportunity to make amends to her - to say sorry for all the awful times that I had behaved badly towards her - and she had forgiven me totally. Please, if you are reading this and there is someone you need to forgive or reconcile with, I urge you to do it today - right now - because tomorrow may be too late.

I went to see my sister in the chapel of rest. I told her how much I loved her and how I would miss her and was truly made aware of how short life is and of how we should try to be kind to each other. It brought home to me the futility of being angry, resentful, of holding on to grudges.

As I checked my phone for messages a short time after my sister's death, I came to the message she had sent me that Tuesday evening - it ended with the words 'I love you'. I love you to my darling sister and I miss you so much.

Love and prayers, Rosie

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Growing in a wonderful new life......

The last time I wrote about my recovery journey through the 12Step programme I had completed Step 9 to the best of my ability - I had said sorry to all those I had hurt.

I had now earned the wonderful new life expressed in 'the promises' of the programme. All the promises have come true for me as they have for thousands of other people - it still takes my breath away when I think about how much I have been given by just being willing, honest and open-minded enough to to complete a simple process! Well, my sponsor did say "It's not a big deal - just do what is suggested."

That is all it took for the desire to drink to be removed from me! WOW! INCREDIBLE - JOYOUS, HAPPY AND FREE AT LAST! AND GUESS WHAT? IT CONTINUES TO GET BETTER AND BETTER! WOW! How? By relying on the loving power of God which has come into my life to continue to be my guide in all things. The loving power which removed my alcohol problem and changed my attitude to life completely.

As promised, I have had the necessary spiritual awakening. Through a daily spiritual practice I have grown in interior strength. This has taken time! It has not happened overnight! Recovery is a healing process which takes time and through the programme, the willingness for me to ask for guidance and direction from God - on a daily basis. This practice influences my thinking, and therefore my actions, in a positive way.

Through the programme I have been given a new design for living based on patience, tolerance, kindness and love. Step 10 is really a 'mini' Step 4-9 on a daily basis. I need to be aware of my thinking and my actions and when I realise I have been at fault - be willing to put the situation right straight away. I am amazed how practice heightens awareness -the result is the conscience rarely allows anything to go unchecked!!

Incorporating this practice with Step 11 - daily prayer - and then reaching out to help others - provides the foundation for emotional balance. The latter is essential to grow in recovery - one day at a time. I will share with you next time I write how prayer has changed my life and how it gave me strength to cope during a very painful emotional experience in my recovery.

Love and prayers, Rosie

Friday, 31 July 2009

Y wefan newydd yn "fyw"/The Welsh version of our website is now "live"

Yn union cyn dechrau'r Eisteddfod Genedlaethol yn y Bala yfory (dydd Sadwrn 1af o Awst) - ac yn ol ein haddewid - mae gwefan Cyngor Cymru ar Alcohol a Chyffuriau Eraill yn "fyw". Diolchwn i Shaun Pinney am ei holl waith caled yn cynllunio a pharatoi'r wefan. Gobeithio y bydd o ddefnydd i bawb sydd yn chwilio am wybodaeth; ac i'r rhai hynny sy'n dioddef o ganlyniad i gamddefnyddio alcohol a chyffuriau eraill - gan gynnwys aelodau o'r teulu a ffrindiau.

Mae'r wefan yn tyfu'n ddyddiol wrth inni ychwanegu at y wybodaeth sydd arni. Gellwch hefyd ddilyn ein blog dyddiol - 'Sut 'rwy'n gwella o ddibyniaeth' -; er y byddaf yn yr Eisteddfod am wythnos, ac ar wyliau am wythnos arall wedi hynny. Yn y cyfamser, bydd cyfaill imi, Rosie, yn cadw'r Blog i fynd.

Ewch i www.cyngorcymru.org.uk

Immediately prior to the beginning of the National Eisteddfod tomorrow (Saturday, 1st August) - and, as we promised - the Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs' new website is "live". We thank Shaun Pinney for all his hard work designing and preparing the website. We hope it will be useful to those seeking information; and to those suffering as a consequence of alcohol and other drugs' misuse - including members of their families and friends.

The site grows daily as we add to the information contained on it. You can also follow our daily Blog -'How I'm recovering from addiction' -; although I'll be attending the Eisteddfod this coming week, and on holiday the following week. In the meantime, my friend, Rosie, will keep the Blog going.

Go to www.welshcouncil.org.uk

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Ian C.

A few years ago I went to a World Convention for recovering alcoholics in Minneapolis in America. On the Saturday night, instead of going to the Edgar-Hoover Convention Centre with the other seventy thousand or so recovering alcoholics, I went to the Catholic Cathedral with my friend Stuart. The priest was talking about the woman in the Bible who was haemorrhaging and who touched the mantle of Jesus Christ in the sure knowledge that she’d be cured. Christ felt the power flow out of him if you remember - and, from amongst the throngs of people surrounding him, He turned and asked, “Who touched me? Who touched me? Who touched me?” And the priest compared that woman’s faith to the faith of the alcoholic. He said this, “We in the church believe God exists. Alcoholics, and there are seventy thousand of them in Minneapolis this weekend, they know He exists!”

One such person who knew God existed was Ian C – a stalwart of the recovery meetings in Cardiff. I went to see him a few months ago in hospital on a Sunday afternoon – he looked emaciated. The cancer had certainly got hold of him. He asked me how I was, and then he asked me about my family. He always did that. Ian C was always more concerned about the other person rather than himself. And then he talked about his “only concern in life” – which was to try and stop his sister from travelling all the way from America to visit him. “It’s far too long a journey for her to undertake, Wynford”, he said. “I’ll be alright, and she knows that.”

And then he started talked about his father who had died the previous year in his late eighties. Indeed, all Ian’s uncles, were in their late eighties, as well – one, even reaching the ripe old age of ninety two, I think he said. And Ian had got to thinking, “Maybe I’ve got an extra thirty years or so of life ahead of me too! I’d even started planning what I was going to do with those extra thirty years,” he laughed. “Never assume anything in life Wynford”, he said – “learn that lesson. Never take anything for granted.” and he patted respectfully his stomach where the cancer lay.

I then asked him if he felt cheated out of those extra thirty years of life, because of the cancer. “Not at all”, he said, “not at all. I’ve already had twenty five extra years of life through this recovery programme, Wynford”, he said. “Twenty five extra years of sober living which have been beyond my wildest dreams, and which I would never have had if it weren’t for this wonderful programme of ours.”

A consummate chess player, Ian had played and won at the game of life, as well. The cancer had no power over him – none whatsoever; and neither did death – which was so obviously his next and final challenge. Death, as Dylan Thomas said, had no dominion over Ian - none whatsoever.

I’d brought him a present that day to make him feel better. However, I was the one who was feeling better by the time I left. I was the one who’d been given the present as well – a gift to me from Ian.

The following week my wife and I went to Prague – courtesy of my God-given recovery from alcoholism. I wouldn’t have had a marriage if it weren’t for that recovery! We went to concerts and listened to music by Mozart, Grug and Stravinski. And then the following week we went to a time-share we have in St David’s in Pembrokeshire with our two little grandchildren – again, courtesy of my ongoing recovery. They wouldn’t be able to say ‘We’ve never seen Taid drink’, if it weren’t for that ongoing miraculous recovery. We visited the Dinosaurs that week in Tenby, and went to the sea-side and we laughed, and laughed, and laughed and we had so much fun. And then on Good Friday we went to a family service in St David’s Cathedral. And after the service, the Bishop came past in a grand procession – and he stopped, made the sign of the cross towards us - and blessed us as a family. And I thought to myself, little does he know how blessed we already are. …. And that’s when Ian’s face came into my mind. He was smiling – and there was a special aura about him – an aura of perfect peace and tranquillity. And then his face vanished as quickly as it had appeared. I resolved, there and then, to visit him on my return - for I knew he’d been moved to a hospice in Penarth – Stuart, in fact, had told me so.

On bank holiday Monday, we went for a picnic to Cosmeston Lakes, and on the way home I called at the hospice to visit Ian. The receptionist, rather ominously, couldn’t find his name on the list of patients, so she took me to see the Staff Nurse, who led me into a small ante-room at the back, and sat me down. “I’m afraid to have to tell you that your friend died on Good Friday”, she said.

I think she was expecting me to be sad. I wasn’t. On the contrary, I felt overjoyed for Ian – for him to be at one, at last, with his God who meant so much to him. And I felt privileged to have known him – because he was one of those alcoholics who knew that God existed. He had also, I knew, touched the mantle of Jesus Christ. And Christ, feeling the power flow out of Him, had turned, and from amongst the throngs of people surrounding him, had asked, “Who touched me? Who touched me? Who touched me?”

Ian C touched you Lord. And because of that he touched me and the lives of countless other people inside and outside the recovery movement. He was a man blessed with extraordinary humility. And he carried the message of recovery and hope right up to, and beyond the grave.

I had to ask the Nurse one final question. “Did his sister eventually arrive from America?”
“Yes” she said “she arrived an hour before he died. It was as if he was hanging on - waiting to say his final farewell.”
“And was he able to say anything to her?”
“He mumbled something about, “You shouldn’t have come - I’m going to be alright.”

Oh, and the present he gave me that Sunday afternoon in the hospital ward in Cardiff? It was this poem – something he’s come across in one of his readings – and something he wanted me to have. With your permission, I’ll share it with you. It’s a poem by Kara di Giovanne.

COMES THE DAWN by Kara di Giovanne

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a heart and chaining a soul;
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't mean security;
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises.
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head held up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman not the grief of a child;
And you learn to build all your roads on today -
Because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans,
And futures have a way of falling down mid-flight.

And after a while you learn that even sunshine
Burns if you get too much;
So you plant your own garden and decorate
Your own soul, instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure...
That you really are strong…
That you really have worth…
And you learn and learn…
With each goodbye you learn…...

Monday, 20 July 2009

The Willingness to say Sorry.....

Continuing on my journey into recovery I arrived at Step 9 of the 12Steps.

In Step 8 I had made a list of all the people I had hurt and now I was willing to go to them - where this was possible - and say sorry.

I met with my sponsor to seek guidance on the best way to approach making my amends. It was important that I listened to her suggestion. She knew who I had hurt and in what context - through receiving my Step 5. Drawing also from her own experience - she was able to give wise suggestion as to how I might approach each person concerned.

I needed to be sure that the approach would not cause further hurt. I needed to consider the time and the place. I needed to take into account the suggestion of Step 9 that the apology be in the presence of the person where ever possible.

I was reminded that I needed to be cautious - this is where the suggestion of my sponsor was so valuable. Together we decided on whom I could approach right away and on whom it would be better to approach at a later date.

I never would have thought it possible that I would be willing to apologise to the people I had hurt because up until I was willing to look at the part I played in the situation - I had always blamed them! Each step brings a little more humility!

I found the willingness through allowing the power of love into my life in Step 3. I found the willingness because I had felt the power of that love in Step 4 and 5 - I had been forgiven and received love.

Through this I became willing to reach out in a loving way to those I had hurt and say sorry. Again, willingness is the key - if the willingness is there - even if we cannot make amends right away - the promises of Step 9 will be fulfilled. I cannot put into words the transformation this process has made to myself, to my relationships and to my life - it is impossible! The promises -as outlined in the book of Alcoholics Anonymous - have come true for me - I have been given a new life - a life I never dreamed possible.

The Promises

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

Saying sorry was just the beginning of the process of establishing trust between those I had hurt - mainly my family who were so wonderfully forgiving and loving towards me. The process is one of healing for all concerned - and that takes time. It is a process that cannot be hurried. It is a process that continues - one day at a time. It is a process that moves me to tears of gratitude so easily. Thank you God for everything you have done for me and for everything you continue to do.

I now had to look at how I was going to grow in this new life - I had reached Step 10.

Friday, 17 July 2009

My definition of personal recovery from drug and alcohol dependence

There's been a lot written recently about the definition of personal recovery. Prof David Clark offers Mike Slade's definition from his book “Personal Recovery and Mental Illness” saying that 'This definition could be used for recovery from addiction with little, or any change [other than replacing ‘mental illness’ with ‘serious substance use problem’.

This is how Mike defines personal recovery: “a deeply personal, unique process of changing one’s attitudes, values, feelings, goals, skills, and/or roles. It is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful, and contributing life even within the limitations caused by illness. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness.”

As I approach, through God's grace, another sobriety birthday in my ongoing recovery from chronic drug and alcohol dependence, personal recovery for me means being vulnerable - and that means risking and showing people who I am. In other words it's about having the courage to be me - the authentic me.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Living in paradise

A friend of mine admitted recently to feeling low, as if melancholia had suddenly descended on him. This was contrary to his usual self, because since sobering up, my friend had developed a positive attitude - seeing the good and the best in every situation and circumstance.

Knowing that my friend was an actor, I suggested to him what might have caused his sudden bout of depression – it was the end of a busy period for him, with a long-running successful TV series, which he had been involved with for over seven years, coming to an end. I suggested that unwittingly he might be grieving its loss.

Acting is a precarious business (I should know I was in the profession for forty years). One goes from job to job, and is dependent for work on another person’s good will. Working on a long-term project, therefore - as my friend had been for over seven years - is the exception; as well, of course, as being a privilege. “Perhaps indeed,” he later admitted to me over a coffee, “that I have been grieving the series’ loss - and fretting about an uncertain future. Because I’ve been feeling recently as if I’m grieving over something or other – feeling tearful, yes, but unable to cry for some reason.”

We talked about how unresolved, suppressed feelings can cause melancholia – unresolved, in my friend’s case, until I drew his attention to them. Once he gave himself permission to feel these feelings, however, he was able to move on – and today, miraculously, the depression has lifted.

But the key that facilitated the miracle was the fact that we were both able to sit down and have an honest exchange; that I was able to be open with him; and him with me.

Unresolved and suppressed feelings, I believe, are responsible for road rage and other examples of social misbehaviours and unrest – crime, the crowd troubles and the lack of respect we hear so much about these days and, of course, addictions.

More and more individuals loose the ability to be honest emotionally with each other. The way I relieved the inevitable tension and stress that ensued when I was drinking, was to disappear inside a bottle of booze (I had found a short-cut to make myself feel better). Increasingly people are using this same method as well – and other drugs and addictive behaviours.

But it’s revealed, in the main, through violent behaviour in our society, crime and social unrest. The inability to communicate at every level is responsible. Man has isolated himself from his fellow man - like a pelican he refuses (or is unable) to share in any depth his emotions with the next man.

Anarchy and the ‘burden of unbearable aloneness’ is its inevitable end; it’s impossible to legislate against and our only hope of salvation is spiritual intervention: that means man coming to terms with himself, incidentally – realising his true worth and learning to respect him or herself. Respect for his fellow-man (and for public order) stems from that.

I’m convinced that if people were able to be honest and open with their feelings criminality would be reduced dramatically overnight, and respect would return to our society, as would sobriety. We would live a life of bliss I’m convinced. To live in this country would indeed, then, be to live in paradise.

Monday, 13 July 2009

The wholeness and peace I had been yearning for

Hiding from the truth of myself had become such a habit that I did not know how to do anything else. Step 5 allowed me to honestly face the truth about myself.

The words of a song by Adrian Snell describe very well the way I had been feeling for such a long time before I took Step. 5 I am writing them out in the hope that others might relate to them and perhaps wish to go through the process - which for me brought about the wholeness and peace I had been yearning for and seeking for such a long time:

Many times I've been smiling
When inside I've been crying,
I've been shaking hands with people
Who just didn't know my pain

Many times I've been walking
When inside I've been running,
I've been standing in the sunshine
But could only feel the rain

Lord, I'm weary
I've got nothing more to hide,
And I've had my share of turning
Turning with the tide

Many times I've been winning
When inside I was losing -
Well, I liked to hear the cheering
But it didn't ease my mind

Many times I've been leaving
When inside I was staying,
Often wished the road before me
Was the one I left behind

Lord, I'm weary
That is why my head is bowed,
And I've had my share of running
Running with the crowd

I've had my share of reaching out
But never really touching,
Lord, let me feel the healing touch
Of Jesus in my soul

I've had my share of crying out
But never really praying -
Lord, I want to say I'm sorry, will you
Come and make me whole

Many times I was loving
But inside I was hating,
And I didn't know the reason
Nor who should take the blame

There were times when I was looking
But I just wasn't finding,
I was hearing all the answers
But the questions still remained

Lord, I'm weary
There was nothing left to find
And I've had my share of blowing
Blowing in the wind

As I typed the above words, my hands have been shaking on the keyboard and my heart is thudding. I am overcome with gratitude. The power of Love brought about the promised psychic and emotional shift -which would allow me to think and act in a new way. My alcohol problem was removed from me. I knew I had been forgiven and no record of my past would be kept. I was at the beginning of my new life - a life I never dreamed possible - God was doing for me what I could not do for myself.

In Step 6 and 7 I asked God to guide me for the rest of my life - to become a better person and to be able to reach out to others in a compassionate and loving way.

In Step 8 I listed all the people I had hurt- in preparation for saying sorry and making amends to them. The list was drawn up from the inventory made in Step 4.

I was now willing and ready to make my amends.

Love and prayers, Rosie

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Sarnu enw da Eisteddfod yr Urdd

Mae penderfyniad yr Urdd i gael trwydded i werthu alcohol ar faes Eisteddfod yr Urdd wedi cael ei feirniadu’n hallt gan Gyngor Cymru ar Alcohol a Chyffuriau Eraill. Dywedodd Wynford Ellis Owen, Prif Weithredwr yr Elusen, ei bod yn “warth” bod yr Urdd yn ystyried gwerthu alcohol ar y maes. “Rydw i’n arswydo at glywed y newyddion,” meddai. “Ar adeg pan fod 12 miliwn o bobl Prydain yn goryfed – a’r broblem yn waeth yng Nghymru, gyda phobl ifanc Cymru rhwng 11 a 15 mlwydd oed yn defnyddio mwy o alcohol na phobl ifanc o’r un oedran mewn unrhyw wlad arall yn Ewrop – mae’r penderfyniad nid yn unig yn un ynfyd ond yn un anghyfrifol.”

Ychwanegodd bod Cyngor yr Urdd, bleidleisiodd bron yn unfrydol o blaid y newid, yn “sarnu enw da’r Eisteddfod ac yn anfon neges glir i holl blant a phobl ifanc Cymru, sef: na fedrwn ni bellach gynnal hyd yn oed Eisteddfod yr Urdd heb fod alcohol yn rhan ohoni”.

“Dyma ganlyniad i’r ‘normaleiddio’ sydd wedi digwydd yn ein cymdeithas parthed ein hymwneud ag alcohol”, meddai. “Mae bellach yn ‘abnormal’ i beidio cael alcohol yn rhan o bob gweithgarwch. Mae’n drist meddwl fod aelodau Cyngor yr Urdd – nifer ohonynt yn ddiaconiaid a blaenoriaid - wedi ildio i’r fath bwysau”.

Ychwanegodd Wynford, “Rwy’n gobeithio y bydd rhieni, ac arweinwyr ac aelodau cyfrifol o’n cymdeithas ac o’n heglwysi yn galw ar Gyngor yr Eisteddfod i newid eu meddyliau ynglŷn â’r penderfyniad anhygoel hwn i ganiatáu gwerthu alcohol ar faes Eisteddfod yr Urdd.”

Mae Wynford Ellis Owen wedi gwneud cais drwy Efa Gruffudd Jones, Prif Weithredwr yr Urdd, i gael mynychu cyfarfod nesaf Cyngor yr Urdd. “Fy ngobaith” meddai “yw y bydd yr aelodau yn ddigon doeth a gwrol o glywed y ffeithiau a’r dystiolaeth wyddonol ddiweddaraf, i newid eu meddyliau. Rwy’n ffyddiog” meddai “y gallwn gyflawni hyn er adfer hygrededd yr Urdd”.

Am fwy o wybodaeth cysylltwch â:

Cyngor Cymru ar Alcohol a Chyffuriau Eraill
58 Richmond Road,
Caerdydd CF24 3AT
T. 029 2049 3895
E. info@welshcouncil.org.uk/ gwybodaeth@cyngorcymru.org.uk

Friday, 10 July 2009

Ruining the Urdd Eisteddfod's good name

The Urdd’s decision to sell alcohol on the Urdd Eisteddfod field has been roundly condemned by The Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs. Wynford Ellis Owen, the Charity’s Chief Executive, said it was a “disgrace” that the Urdd (The Welsh League of Youth) considered selling alcohol on the field. “I shuddered on hearing the news” he said, “At a time when 12 million of Britain’s people drink to dangerous levels – with the problem being worse in Wales, where it is estimated that more than a quarter of Welsh young people between the ages of 11 and 15 use more alcohol than young people in any other country in Europe within the same age range – the decision is insane and irresponsible”.

He added that the Urdd Council, which voted nearly unanimously for the change, had “ruined the Eisteddfod’s good name and is sending out a clear message to all the children and young people of Wales, that we can’t even host Eisteddfod Yr Urdd without alcohol being a part of it”.

“This is the result of the normalising that happens in our society with our relationship with alcohol” he said, “It is now ‘abnormal’ not to have alcohol as part of every activity. It is sad to think that the members of the Urdd’s Council – many of them deacons and leading members of Churches – have given in to such pressure.

Wynford added, “I hope that parents, and leaders and responsible members of our Society and our Churches will call on the Eisteddfod Council to change its mind on this incredible decision to allow the selling of alcohol on the Eisteddfod field”

Wynford Ellis Owen has made an application through Efa Gruffudd Jones, the Urdd’s Chief Executive, to attend the next meeting of the Urdd Council, “My hope” he said, “is that the members will be wise and brave enough on hearing the facts and the latest scientific evidence, to change their minds. I’m confident” he said, “we can achieve this and restore the Urdd’s credibility”.

For more information contact:

The Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs
58 Richmond Road,
Cardiff CF24 3AT
T. 029 2049 3895
E. info@welshcouncil.org.uk


Thursday, 9 July 2009

The importance of leaving a margin on the pages of my busy life

I've just returned from holiday - the weather was lovely and both Meira and I had a wonderful, relaxing time. During the break I came to realise for myself the importance of leaving a margin on the page of my busy life. Today I'm going to relish giving myself some "me" time. Will you be doing the same?

I'd like to thank Rose for her insightful blogs; and I know from your responses that you've also enjoyed benefitting from her 'experience, strength and hope'. I hope very much that Rose will be a regular (and much valued) contributor to the Welsh Council's daily blog. So, thank you Rose, and thank you for all you've given me over the years. I value your friendship very much and the regular "quality time" we spend sharing on the telephone with each other constitutes part of the important margin I gift myself on the pages of my busy life.

Readers can access on our website www.welshcouncil.org.uk a recording of the Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs' Inaugural Annual Lecture delivered at the Welsh Assembly by Dr David Best. His theme was "Evidence of hope: what do we know about sustained recovery from alcohol and drug addiction?". You can also get a taste of the Q&A session that followed the lecture and to view the pre-lecture networking session.

I'm off to see the cricket Test Match in Cardiff today - I reckon that takes care of today's margin as well as filling most of the page of today's busy life!

Monday, 6 July 2009

The most powerful thing we can ever say to another person is " I forgive you ...."

Step 3 brought the loving power of God into my life and gave me the strength and courage to honestly know myself- it is suggested this happen very shortly after taking step 3 - there is a momentum to the steps.

I now had a trickle of God's love in my life but I had to clear away the debris of my past life -which had formed a dam across the river of love - preventing me from having what I needed most - the full force of God's loving power in my life.

Could I have found the willingness, the honesty and the humility to really face looking at myself in the way suggested, if I had not had that trickle of God's love? Would I have had the courage to look at my pride, my selfishness, my resentments, my anger, my fears, my self pity, my judgement of others? Even more - would I ever have been able to admit 'the exact nature of my wrongs' 'to God, myself and another human being?' Would I be able to forgive myself and others? I had to know myself to love myself. I had to love myself to be able to reach out to others in love.

It required a lot of humility which I did not have. I believe God gave me the humility to carry out the task - the task of step4 and step5. The task which was absolutely necessary in order to bring about change in myself. The task which would allow me to put the key in the lock of the dark cell I had lived in and let myself out - I had to take the responsibility! I had to do all the work! After all, it was my recovery! No one else could do it for me! But with willingness on my part, God's love and the guidance of my sponsor - it was not the daunting task I feared it might be. Each step brings with it a little more humility.

I had to 'unpack the baggage of my life' in order to see that the problem was not alcohol at all - the problem was ME! I HAD TO CHANGE! I HAD TO CHANGE FROM THE INSIDE OUT! Step 4 and 5 of the 12Step process would allow me to do just that.

My sponsor suggested that I take a maximum of two weeks to complete Step 4. She believed that was long enough to sit in a painful place. I was after all going to admit my faults to a loving, forgiving God and the task was to be kept as simple as possible - I was not under any circumstances to 'make a big deal out of it'!

I was to look at the part I played in evey situation where I blamed someone else - leaving their behaviour out of it - I was to look at my motives, feelings, thoughts, weaknesses and the consequences of my behaviour. It needed to be a thorough examination. I was asked to write down everything that caused me to have feelings of guilt, remorse and shame - a simple list would be enough.

She then suggested that when this was completed, I make a list of all the good things I had done in my life. There needed to be a balance and it was very important to acknowledge positive behaviour.

My sponsor reminded me of the importance of HONESTY. I needed to try to the best of my ability to admit all my wrongs. The WILLINGNESS to want to achieve this outcome was the key to achieving it. She reminded me that although the task was emotionally painful, it was set to help me, not to make me feel worse and it should therefore be carried out with that in mind, in as simple a way as possible.

Writing the Step 4 list was a painful task - the real me was revealed before my eyes on paper. I had to own this me as painful as it was - the admittance of my wrongs was the SOLUTION. This admittance would bring about a spiritual awakening which would totally change my attitude towards life, towards people and towards the world.

Writing the list of the good things I had done was also difficult because the negative behaviour kept forming a barrier in my mind to screen them out. However Step 5 gave me the opportunity to go through both lists with my sponsor - to reveal to her my wrong doings and the secrets I was ashamed of and deeply sorry for.This is why it is crucial to find someone with whom you can have a trusting relationship. Step five is essential!

She was so kind and supportive and helped me to realise that I needed to find the willingness to FORGIVE - even though it was so difficult. To be willing to say "I forgive you, I forgive you for all the hurt you have ever caused me and I wish you a good life, the life you wish for yourself" is the most powerful thing we can do. By freeing that person, we free ourselves. Would I not be willing to forgive knowing I wanted to be forgiven myself? I needed to at least be willing to try.

She reminded me that her role was simply to help me get the right balance in the situations I revealed. She had the experience of being through the process herself and knew how important keeping a balance was. I was really coming before a loving God - and we had lit a tea light to be reminded of that during the process - the loving power who forgave immediately and for whom no record of past faults was ever kept.

She helped me to see that despite everything, I had been capable of doing many good things - that there is good in all of us which, when we feel so bad about ourselves, is difficult to see. I cried so much that afternoon. The process left me emotionally and physically drained and I needed to sleep. The dam across the river had been cleared and several weeks later - not immediately - a peace come over me which I had never known before - God's loving power had fully entered my heart. It was to provide me with the strength, courage and willingness to continue the process - to make amends to all those I had hurt.

Love and prayers, Rosie

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Lack of power replaced by the power of love

Thank you for your comments

Dear PeaPod, Yenwerp, Tony and Lucy - thank you all so much for your kind comments - I am so glad that you could relate to some of the things I said and found them helpful.

About sponsorship and the difficulty of asking for and taking help. PeaPod -I know desperation played a big part in helping me with this. I was full of pride PeaPod and I will always be working on keeping it in check.

The importance of time as an essential element in the healing process of recovery and therefore the need for Aftercare to be highligted. Ibelieve people need to be reassured that they are thought about - that they have not been forgotten - that out of sight does not mean out of mind. A hand written card, a telephone call says 'we are thinking of you' - a simple gesture which can really lift the spirits and allow a person to feel cared for - always important, but more so in early recovery. As you say Yenwerp, everyone involved needs to be aware of the essential need for time to complete the healing proces.

Lucie - I agree so much with you - 'slow, steady steps in the right direction' and 'recovery is not a race.' There is real passion being transferred in the comments you have all made and we need to be passionate about what we believe in and do the best we can in the circumstances we find ourselves in.

Tony, your description of the act of kindness towards you by your cell mate which you say 'set me on the road to recovery' and 'opened my eyes to a new world' is such a wonderful example of how powerful simply being kind can be! For you - life changing! I wonder how many more lives have been changed through acts of kindness resulting in recovery - an amazing motivator for change! Let us all use it every day! Tony, you said that bringing what we are to the surface is 'tough but rewarding.' Well, I agree with you totally and I would like to share my experience of that process over the next few days. Thank you all again so much.

Lack of power replaced by the power of love

The 12Step process allowed me to admit, that where alcohol was concerned, I was totally powerless. I had therefore to find power which was greater than myself to help me and be willing to trust that my life could be guided in a positive way by the new found power.

Was I willing and open-minded enough to 'just do it'? To just do what was suggested? This was 'heart stuff' not 'head stuff' - I would never be able to understand it or explain it so why waste time trying? - but I was told that before the process was even completed - my heart would be touched by this new found power and my life would be changed forever!

I had nothing to lose and everything to gain! Step 3 was where I decided to 'just do it.' This was the turning point - where I invited this power into my life - the power of pure, unconditional love - the power I refer to as God. Is there anything more powerful than love? If you believe in the power of love then why not use this as a power greater than yourself and name it as you will.

I lit a tea light as a symbol of coming into the light of a new life and my sponsor knelt down with me as I slowly said the Step 3 prayer from the Book of Alcoholics Anonymous -

" God, I offer myself to Thee, To build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy Will. Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy power, Thy love andThy way of life. May I do Thy Will always."

The words of the prayer had a very powerful effect on me in the few minutes we remained silent. I have heard many people say that they were moved emotionally at this point of their journey no matter what words they chose to use to ask for help and guidance. I felt that across the vast space between heaven and earth a loving God had reached out and taken my hand -and I had a longing deep inside me to never, ever let it go.

Love and prayers, Rosie

Thursday, 2 July 2009


Everyone needs a guide in life - for no one can be judge in their own case. We all need to have someone in our life we can totally trust - and none more so than the alcoholic seeking recovery. I came to understand through being around others like myself, from listening to them and hearing their personal stories of recovery, that such a person was required - a sponsor - to guide me through the 12Steps - the Programme that had brought thousands of people into recovery.Through listening to these people I began to get an idea of what the 12Step Programme was about and of the important part it played in the daily life of the recovering alcoholic.

After about two months I felt I had found the right person - a person who was several years sober, who had completed the 12Steps and was using the programme in her daily life and who I had got to know and felt I could relate to. She agreed to be my sponsor. I can remember feeling excited about starting the 12Steps with her because I had been witnessing the positive change it had made in the lives of others - and I really wanted that for myself.

We arranged to meet - I remember it was a lovely sunny day and we sat outside drinking coffee and chatting. She talked about the relationship she hoped we might have with her as my sponsor and she shared about the positive relationship between her sponsor and herself. She told me she would do everything she could to support me and that I could trust her and turn to her for help at any time - the relationship would be caring and guiding but ultimately I had to take responsibility for my own recovery and I had to take the action myself to make it happen.

I can remember thinking how unusual it felt to be asking for and accepting help from another person because that was someting I never did. I was surprised how right it felt and how good I felt about it.

She put me at ease about the work we were embarking on and said that the most important things I had to remember were to be willing to do what was suggested, to be totally honest with myself and others and to be open minded. She said if you could have solved the problem with your head you would have so now try something different. You do not have to understand why something works in order to get the benefit of it so just keep an open mind and do it. It was important that I become teachable - a further lowering of my pride was required!

She said there was a pace to the steps, that the work was not a 'big deal' and that I should not regard it as such. It was a simple programme of suggestions - just remember to be willing, honest and open minded.

Love and prayers, Rosie

Wednesday, 1 July 2009


Leaving the dark place of my drinking and moving into the light of my new life has been a journey of self discovery - a journey of change - a painful journey at times - a wonderful journey - which has brought me what I was seeking most - peace.

I have come to understand that recovery is a healing process of mind body and spirit and time is an essential factor in this process. We cannot expect to recover from the illness of alcoholism or any other addiction overnight. We cannot undo the harm done in a short space of time. This is a fact which I believe is so often not recognised - people are not realising the importance of time in the recovery process.

We should be kind and good to ourselves as we would if we were recovering from any other illness - especially a life threatening illness. This can be difficult because we believe we do not deserve kindness or love - we suffer feelings of guilt and shame. I think the feelings of shame are the most difficult to cope with because they centre on self and are capable of producing the most negative thoughts about ourselves and can often make us feel physically unwell. That was my own experience at the time.

During the first week of my recovery I suffered the most terrible fear to the point where I did not want to be left on my own for even the shortest space of time. I needed someone to hold my hand and to be with me. I needed the reassurance of another human being and found that in members of my wonderful family - my family that had always been there for me.

Allowing others to help me was a new experience because I believed I could manage on my own and solve the problem myself - I KNEW IT ALL! - you could not tell me anything! Suffice to say my attitude had to change - pride had to become humility - if I wanted to be rid of my reliance on alcohol.
Well, I wanted to stop drinking more than anything - I had experienced that essential 'moment of clarity' when I just knew deep in my heart that 'the game was up'. That was the moment when the self knowledge I had held in my head for so long - the knowledge that what was happening was wrong - moved to mix with the emotions of my heart - as it has to - and I became desperate to stop. I had to admit to myself that self knowledge and will power were not enough to solve the problem - I needed to accept help. Turning to people, who were prepared to love me until I was able to love myself , the fog started to clear and I met the lady who was to guide me on my journey - taking 'baby steps' - one day at a time.

Love and prayers, Rosie

Acknowledging the Spiritual needs of the client

Thank you Wyn for inviting me to share something about my recovery while you are away on a well deserved holiday! It is a privilege to do so and I write in the hope that something I might say will help someone who is desperately trying to stop drinking/using - or is on their recovery journey.

You spoke yesterday Wyn, about 'spiritual development' and 'co-operation with God' which fits nicely with what I would like to share with everyone who reads this blog today.

Yesterday I attended the APSCC (The Association for Pastoral and Spiritual Care and Counselling) Annual Conference at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. The Association is a Division of the BACP - British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

A wonderful setting for the Conference and a truly inspirational day!

"Acknowledging the spiritual client: an ethical essential?" was the question being debated.

The day began with thirty minutes of silent reflection, for those who wished to participate. It was a moving and powerful experience to be part of that large group of people - a chance to focus and reflect in the silence and to calm the inner self in preparation for the day.

Today there is an increasing awareness of the importance of acknowledging a person's spiritual needs in the helping process of counselling and in the area of mental health.

There was much debate in the workshops about spirituality - how delegates defined spirituality and what it meant to them and how it related to their counselling work.

During the course of the day the 12Steps and the Serenity Prayer were part of a presentation and I was reminded of the important part they played in releasing me from the black place of powerlessness my existence was during my drinking days - a lonely, unhappy, painful and desperate place - into the light of recovery. Yes, as I sat in the lecture room yesterday participating in the presentation I must admit I did become a little tearful - but the tears were coming from a place of deep gratitude for the process which allowed me to change as a person and to have the wonderful life that I live today - and have been living for many years now - a process which has allowed me to become happy, joyous and free!

I reflected on the day as I drove home - it had been so good to be with others who acknowledge the importance of spirituality and to be made more aware of the work that is being done in this area. The Conference continues today. Thank you APSCC for a wonderful day.

I look forward to sharing my recovery journey with you over the next few days and I hope you feel you can respond by sharing your own recovery journey - through sharing we can all help each other in our desire to achieve and grow in a wonderful new life!

Love and prayers from Rosie

Monday, 29 June 2009

What's the secret of recovery?

Recovery for me is about confronting the burden of being human; it’s about toughening up and doing the things that before I looked to alcohol to do for me. This is what I would describe as “doing the leg-work”.

This is not to de-mystify or, in any way, to undermine God’s role in the whole process. On the contrary; when we confront the burden of being human and toughen up we’re unwittingly co-operating with God (or the spiritual) anyway. Spiritual development happens when we co-operate with God - no matter how unwittingly.

Spiritual development, therefore, is a consequence of doing “the leg-work”. When we do that - we then find that we get well in spite of ourselves.


I’m going abroad for a much-needed week’s holiday – so from tomorrow onwards Rose, a student friend of mine from college days, will be responsible for writing the daily blog. You can follow Rose’s blog on www.welshcouncil.org.uk – just click on the icon.

"Well" said God in admiration, "Will you sponsor Me?"

Nine years ago my friend Bryn was suffering from cancer and facing death in a hospital ward in Bridgend, South Wales. I visited him one night, and he’d just woken up from a dream that had excited him very much.

“I dreamt I had just died, Wynford, and gone to Heaven” he said, “and God was there to welcome me.” Bryn then related how God had started to question him.

“What have you done with your life, Bryn?” God asked.

“Well” replied Bryn, “unfortunately, I wasted the early part of it because of my drinking. But after that I sobered up, God – and I did a lot of good. I’ve been helping other alcoholics to achieve sobriety; I’ve sponsored hundreds of fellow-sufferers. And once, God – the highlight of my life – I spoke in front of sixty thousand alcoholics at the World Convention in San Diego, USA!”

Suddenly God cut across him. “Bryn, can I ask you one question?”

“Of course” said Bryn. “Go ahead, God. What do you want to ask me?”

“Well” said God in admiration, “Will you sponsor Me?”

And with that Bryn roared with laughter. The very thought of him sponsoring God tickled him no end.

Even when facing death, you see, Bryn could still laugh at himself. Not taking ourselves too seriously is an important lesson we all have to learn in recovery.

If I’m feeling out of sorts; don’t feel others are doing things quite as they should be done things; or I’m unhappy with what I’m doing and not feeling a 100% - invariably, I know what’s responsible. I’m taking myself too seriously.

So why not lighten up today, eh? Have a laugh at yourself like Bryn did. Bryn had a talent for keeping his feet very firmly on the ground – he never took himself or others too seriously.

Is that the reason, possibly, why you’re feeling out of sorts today?

Saturday, 27 June 2009

It's all about adopting the right attitude

The longer I’m living on this earth, the more I’m realizing the huge effect one’s attitude has on life in general, and on one’s ability to make the most out of that life.

Attitude to me is far more important than the facts. It’s more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than any failures or successes, or what people think, say or do. It’s more important than the way we look; and it’s certainly more important than any talent or ability we might have. Because one’s attitude, you see, can destroy a….company….church…..and home.

The wonderful thing is that we have a choice each day regarding which attitude to adopt for that particular day. We can’t change the past. Neither can we change the fact that people are going to do what people are going to do. We can’t change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play the only string we have to play on life’s harp, and that string is our attitude.

By now I’ve come to realise that how I react to a situations is far more important that what’s actually happening to me during that particular situation.

Two little boys were playing in the sea. All of a sudden a huge wave from somewhere comes crashing down on top of them. One little boy is terrified and runs up to his mother on the beach shouting, “Mummy, mummy, mummy! I’m not going to go into that sea ever again!” But the other little boy plays happily in the water shouting, “Wow – wee! Wow-wee! This is so much fun, isn’t it?”

The same wave, you’ll have noticed – but two completely different reactions to it. One boy’s attitude towards life’s problems and challenges is to run away and bury his head in his mother’s bosom. The other boy’s attitude, however, is to stay where he is, and bravely face any problem or challenge that confronts him – overcoming them, in time, by virtue of his positive attitude and his ability to see the challenge and the opportunity inherent in every supposed tribulation.

Which attitude are you going to adopt today – the one that sees you running away from life and cowering in fear, or the one that leads to you bravely confronting the burden of being human and experiencing life to the full? It’s your choice.


You’ll get to read more of the above on www.welshcouncil.org.uk. Why not pay us a visit today?