Recovery Rises ISSUE 3 - Page 16

‘12 Step Facilitation’

England's addiction recovery champion Mark Gilman speaks to Recovery Rises about his current tour

Lindsey: Firstly, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed today, I know you are very busy on tour with ‘12 Step facilitation’ so I’ll start with what is 12 step facilitation, can you explain it to us?

Mark: 12 step facilitation in essence is to get people into mutual aid groups, whether that is 12 step fellowships, SMART etc. But we need to give a little health warning, firstly, we call it 12 step facilitation because its full title is assertive linkage into mutual aid, which is a mouth full and probably wouldn’t get many hits online, we do use the title 12 step facilitation a bit loosely, the purpose is to get the person seeking help into a mutual aid, because as we know the main person you need to get away from on your search for recovery is yourself, and getting you into mutual aid and around people who understand is, we believe the best solution.

Lindsey: What has been the driving force behind this now then, as it has been suggested for some time that mutual aid and 12 step fellowship have had a massive impact on recovery from addiction?

Mark: The driver is some new research that came out in 2010 by Holt, Lunstad & Atel and the discipline we are under now is public health England, it is a very different discipline to orthodox medicine so even though you will meet lot of doctors who are operating in Public Health, the discipline of public health is not about potions, pills, medicine, operations etc…

Lindsey: It’s coming into the new age

Mark: Yes it’s coming into the new age, basically it is about the whole population ‘epidemiologically’ Public Health’s main overall goal is the whole population, to increase mortality. The measure of this is all age, all cause, increased mortality, so in other words how often do people die and can we improve it. Obviously behind that we know that there are gross health and equalities based on your postcode for example in Glasgow you could start in the most affluent part and you could walk to the least affluent part and in an average 20min walk as a man you would lose a year of your life for every minute you walked towards it, so if you’re born in the most affluent parts you might

make it to 80yrs old but if you live in the less affluent part you might be lucky to make it to 60. That is also evidence based, PHE released a league last week so if you go to the public health website put in your postcode and you can actually see what the mortality rate is for a person at that postcode. The good news is that we know people can turn these statistics around based on the social networks they move in. We know there are men in the least affluent areas that do make it to 80 but what you will notice is that they almost always follow the 5 ways to wellbeing.

1- is to CONNECT – we are social creatures, we are hard wired to be together, not alone.

2- is to be ACTIVE - we know the quickest way to change your mood is to be active.

3- is to GIVE - there is something about the human condition which benefits from giving of ourselves freely and being present for another person.

4- is to KEEP ON LEARNING - we are designed to be passionate about things, whatever that maybe.

and finally 5 is to keep taking NOTICE- be present notice things in the here and now, mindfulness, a positive attitude saves lives. A good positive mental attitude can keep you alive for longer even when you have a terminal diagnosis.

Which takes me on to Asset Based Community development (ABCD) ABCD was born out of North Western University in Chicago in the 60’s and 70’s by community activist John McKnight and a guy called Khretsmun. In a nutshell what the Asset Based Community approach is saying is ‘ We are not doomed because even against the back drop of this health and equality there are still good people doing good things, positive things based on those five ways to well-being, in every single community, the question is where to find them and bring them together. We know that in certain parts of Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow there are high rates of domestic violence, addiction, crime and teenage pregnancy we all know what the list is. Assets for instant in these areas, in Liverpool alone there are 32 Narcotics Anonymous meetings, 100+ Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, many CA meetings, many SMART meetings, women for recovery, Breaking Free Online, churches, mosque’s etc the list is long. The first step in the ABCD approach is to make a list of all the

asset’s, make it very long list, the only people who are not on it really are drug dealers and off licences the other great way of describing ABCD is always looking at the half full part of the glass, because the deficit model inevitably looks at the half empty. The asset part looks at the assets in the community and here’s the part that leads back to the investment back into the local treatment services, ‘we would strongly recommend as PHE professions for local authorities to look at their assets’ and to wrap your professional treatment around them so that you embrace them, 12 step meeting are on that asset list we need the treatment services that are PHE commissioned to link to them because they’re an asset.

Lindsey: Is there anywhere that this is active and if so has the success rates been measured?

Mark: There are only two places in the UK where this is active in treatment services it is a work in progress, it’s been measured on successful completions, people successfully completing unorthodox treatment, and not returning back into treatment services within the following 6 months.

Lindsey: Which leads me to my next question… Is 12 step facilitation going to be a commissionable service? And if so will there be a lead organisation and provider?

Mark: Yes 12 step facilitation is going to be a commissionable service and there may be a local lead organisation, there will not be a national lead over 152 local authorities. What will happen is that smaller organisations will offer 12 step facilitation and assertive linkage into Smart, Fellowship meeting on a commercial basis Now here is where it gets tricky especially from the fellowship point of view, as its brand new here in the UK, and people get nervous, particularly around the 12 traditions.