Saturday, 20 June 2009

Roll up! Roll up! Three brains for sale!

There were three brains for sale in Harrods. In front of the first there was a price-tag showing £5,000 pounds. In front of the second, a price-tag showing, £500,000. And in front of the third brain there was a sign that was bigger than the other two, showing the incredible sum of £5 million pounds.

“Who owned this brain?” asked a potential buyer fingering the price-tag with the cheapest price on it.

“Albert Einstein owned that brain, sir” replied the salesman rolling his moustache proudly. “One could argue that he was one of the cleverest men to have ever graced this Earth of ours. Do you remember the Theory of Relativity?”

“Hmmm” The buyer nodded blankly.

“Well, he formulated that!”

“And what about this second brain, the one that’s for sale for £500,000?”

“That belonged to Yehudi Menuhin, sir. With this brain you could entertain generations to come with sublime music – and make your fortune at the same time.”

The buyer moved on to the final brain. “Wow! £5 million pounds! This brain must be a very special brain indeed?”

“You’re so right, sir” replied the salesman laughing mockingly. “That brain hasn’t been used yet – that’s why it’s so expensive.”

“It hasn’t been used yet! But, how is that possible?” asked the buyer in disbelief.

“That brain belonged to an alcoholic, sir!”

I was 44 years old when I got into recovery and started using my brain for the first time. I was standing outside an off-licence in Aberystwyth when I suddenly saw myself as I was. That’s when the denial was removed and my brain finally engaged with the rest of me.

Has your brain started working yet?”


Two members (and their partners) from my esteemed Policy Advisory Group (PAG) came over for dinner last night, and we reviewed my 3 years Strategy and discussed other possible initiatives we, as a Council, could instigate (we also put the world to rights!).

As I said while introducing Dr David Best at the Inaugural Annual Lecture on the 16th June (he’s another member of my PAG) “I am humbled that such people, right at the cutting-edge of research in this field and at the very top of their game, should join my PAG and help me steer my way forward as I try to make a difference in this most interesting, fascinating and challenging of fields, Substance Misuse.”

Incidentally, you can find out more about my PAG by visiting our website – - scroll down and click on “Police Advisory Group”.


A video recording of Dr David Best’s Inaugural Annual Lecture at the Welsh Assembly building on “Evidence of hope: what do we know about sustained recovery from alcohol and drug addiction?” will be posted on our website soon. I will be editing the piece on Friday 29th June, thanks to the generosity of Tinopolis Ltd, the TV production company who recorded the event for us. So keep your eyes peeled after that date.

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