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.