Comment from the substance misuse sector


Thank you for organising the national service user involvement conference. It certainly was a day to remember and could not have come at a better time, because we had only just recruited our four new recovery champions and this conference fitted in nicely with their induction period. They certainly enjoyed themselves, made lots of new contacts as well as meeting some old friends and have returned to work inspired, invigorated and full of ideas.

Scott, one of the recovery champs from Aylesbury said that it was great to feel part of a much bigger movement of like-minded people. Thanks, and looking forward to next year’s event already.

Colin McGregor-Paterson, CEO, The OASIS Partnership, High Wycombe



Fear factor

I totally agree with Beryl Poole that fear may well be the dominant emotion felt by those currently using drug treatment services (DDN, March, page 12).

A lack of reward and recognition offered to service users, little acknowledgement of those pursuing ‘recovery’ journeys not based on abstinence, and services only looking at treated completions are the main reasons why I personally have stopped getting involved in user involvement.

Stigma surrounding drug use and those using drug services is still pervasive and having to face that stigma while being used by commissioners and services as unpaid advisers can be thoroughly disheartening.

Peter Simonson, Camden, London



Make space

I want to pass comment on the article Burden of grief by Esther Harris (DDN, February, page 11).

As an independent counselling therapist and clinical supervisor, I have worked within alcohol and drug rehabs in both Lancashire and Herefordshire. I still work with family members whose lives have been impacted upon by substance misuse, as has my own life.

I want to emphasise the point that Esther makes in her article, that it is essential that those who work in this field are alert to the impact on us of the horrendous life stories we hear from our clients. Also, I wish to thank Esther for reminding us of this. The impact of this work can be managed if good use is made of supervision, which ideally should be provided externally – ie not provided within the therapist/worker’s workplace.

As therapists, care of self is essential to enable us to function outside of the therapy room as well as enabling us to be fully present with our clients. I cannot emphasise this enough. As I know only too well, it’s easy to become caught up with our work and not to allow enough space for ‘self’.

Jane Pendlebury MBACP (Accred), counselling therapist and supervisor,



…and tears

How disgusted and appalled I was to see a ‘raging bull’ on the front page of the latest issue.

Whoever made the decision to put this in any part of the magazine has no idea about recovery – they should know there is no room for aggression in recovery. I was not present at the conference, otherwise I would have challenged him when I got over the shock. It’s ironic coming from a person who has made his money out of the plight of the homeless, many of whom were suffering from addiction.

Please educate your editorial staff and ensure if they have never been addicted, they are at least well versed on the sensitivity of people who are!

Colin Miller-Hoare, peer mentor recovering alcoholic; author of The Child in Me