Monday, 15 June 2009

Well it's been a while!!

Things have taken a big change this year! The recession has hit me hard. Wired In couldn't afford to keep me employed so I've been working as a chef since February this year!

I'm going to be blogging regularly again soon so keep an eye out for it!


Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Kia Sedona

I wanted to direct everyone attention to this terrible customer service displayed by Kia. Nathan is a friend of mine that bought a brand spanking new car, a Kia Sedona,  that he's had nothing but problems with ever since getting it off the forecourt. To see the details click here.

Hit the link baby!!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

A problem forgotten

It's a problem that has been getting steadily worse over the last decade, lots of it has to do with the boom in heavy and hard drug use being seen as the 'main' substance misuse issue that our society has to deal with. 

I'm talking about alcohol and more directly about alcoholism, which doesn't seem to bother people anywhere near as much as drug use. To my thinking alcoholism, heroin addiction, even over the counter (OTC) medicine addiction are essentially one and the same in the way they affect the person in the end - addiction is alcoholism is addiction - Any one who just can't stop using a substance when the negative aspects out way the positive aspect of that use, is in big trouble - lies, deceit, denial and total emotional shutdown followed by increasing self-loathing is not far off! 

Another aspect of alcohol abuse that's causing chronic liver problems in people as young as their early twenty's is binge drinking, which has become a very popular pastime indeed. But there is a big difference between an alcoholic and a binge drinker. A friend of mine, Tom, once described this difference as -

"If a doctor tells a binge drinker that he will die within a year if he continues to drink, he will stop straight away. The alcoholic in the same situation, wouldn't be able to"

Why should alcoholics be treated any differently to addicts? Is it because treating them wouldn't bring a big crime rate dividend? 

The National Audit Office (NAO) has recently looked at what the NHS Primary Care Trusts (PCT) have been doing in the way of providing alcohol services. Primary Care Trusts are a very important part of the NHS, and they get about 80% of the total NHS budget. PCTs decide what health services a local community needs, and they are responsible for providing them. 

The NAO found that a quarter of PCTs had not carried out assessments of the problem locally, four in 10 did not have a strategy in place and a third did not know what they were spending on the problem.

Where evidence on investment was available, just £600,000 a year - or 0.1% of the budget - was spent on average.

The report said, because of the lack of co-ordination, the services were not providing value for money.

The NHS spends £2.7bn a year on alcohol abuse, treating ailments such as liver disease. Why not spend a bit more than the frankly laughable amount of £600,000 on trying to stop the problems getting this far along? There are lots of people out there that would respond to a brief intervention from their GP with some aftercare to follow up. Come on, the problems there, now do something about it.

Thank you to the BBC for the facts and figures

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Methadone withdrawals...

I wake up, bleary eyed and dis-orientated, frustration bubbles through my veins as sleep has evaded me for what seems like the whole night. My legs feel like two logs after an eternity of unsolicited movement, twitching and kicking repeatedly and I smell like a chemical soaked rag. Anger erupts into a flurry of violence as I try to beat my addiction into submission, after punching myself on the temple, I'm seeing stars.

Eyes closed the water pounds away at my body; my mind meanwhile is frantically searching for peace. A peace that will only come with total exhaustion, and so not really peace but more like unconsciousness. I know searching is useless but I have little control of that part of me, instead I attempt to wash the stench from me - soap, rinse, soap, rinse, soap, rinse. I notice that I have goosebumps all over me still, the heat of the water has no effect on that symptom.

I lie back on the bed, my body, for the moment, feels rather numb. The heat helping to ease the cramps, but my mind still is a tightly wound spring. I start to drift into blackness, noticing as I do so the soap hasn't helped - I still smell like roadkill. All I want is to sleep - to simply not be, anymore.

Twice in my life I've had to stop using methadone without the luxury of reducing slowly. Compared to a heroin detox it isn't as violent but for me it was far, far longer lasting. Something else I noticed too was that even if I had a hit of smack I still didn't feel 100%, they may both be opiates but they affect me slightly differently. Only methadone would get rid of all the withdrawal symptoms. This told me that I wasn't a heroin addict, I wasn't even an opiate addict but rather a methadone addict. Other opiates might help a bit but not even dia-morphine would sort the withdrawals out completely - only methadone would do that now.

But far better than methadone for sorting out withdrawals, is time (and time, goes by, so slowly, and time, can do so much) but enough of the Righteous Bros! I wanted to write about this subject today as I believe it's important to remind ourselves of our past, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Wired In's new Recovery Support Group

Well, with Monday's rant behind me I've decided to let you know about the new Wired In To Recovery Support Group!! 

It's been set up as peer-support group, enabling those in recovery from substance use to give and get support from others in the same boat as them. We meet once a week, every week, on a Wednesday evening from 6 - 8pm. As well as a group sessions, we also have a big social aspect to the group. 

The Wired In volunteers that have helped to set this group up, felt that is was very important to have a social aspect to the group as it can be hard to socialise in a safe environment, drink and drug free, once you're in recovery. The groups are held at the premises of a local Housing association (2A Alexander Street, Cathays, Cardiff), where there is a chill out room with a pool table and a kitchen that can be used at every meeting, also helping people to make and strengthen friendships within the group.

This group is run by people in recovery for others in recovery, enabling experiences and support to be shared by like-minded people. As with all Wired In projects, there is no charge for these services. If anyone is interested in coming to this group or just wants some more information then please email me on or give me a call on 07541216011.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

NTA's annual figures

I've been following with interest the debate that has followed since the release of the NTA's annual figures. Mark Easton, the BBC's home editor has reported on what he, like many others, sees as the farce that the NTA is trying to sell.

The NTA's figures concentrate on having 202,000 people in treatment last year but the people that left treatment drug-free was a bit lower - 7,324! I notice that they aren't shouting about that one! The NTA's focus is on getting people into treatment, that much is obvious, but for only a short time - 12 weeks. I say this because they have targets of 'retention in treatment' in which the box is ticked once people have lasted 12 weeks. But they don't have any targets for people leaving treatment drug-free! How can this be?

It seems to me that it's because the NTA aren't interested in getting people out the other side of treatment drug-free but rather more interested in getting people in for 12 weeks and job done! They don't care whether or not the service user achieves abstinence but rather that they are retained in treatment. The reason? So the public will think they're doing a good job and sleep safely in their beds tonight.

They do this by refusing point-blank to reduce the amount of methadone an individual will be receiving. It doesn't matter whether that person is stable, giving clear urine tests and meeting every demand they have. They will not reduce that methadone or send you to rehab, because they are scared to death that people will achieve a stable drug-free recovery and that will put them out of a job. The whole system stinks and people are starting to realise that, the charade is coming to an end. As the saying goes - you can't fool all the people all the time!

Millions upon millions are being wasted because the NTA won't admit they are wrong and change direction to focus on recovery and the things that will aid recovery, and not just keep on with their present tack of treatment for treatments sake, which, as their figures show, isn't actually helping many people to achieve drug-free lives. My fear is that when the public, as a whole, realise this there will be such a outrage at the wasted money that the drug and alcohol field's budget will be slashed and we'll be lucky to help many people at all.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Wired In Recovery Support group

I've had a brilliant day of travelling around treatment providers in Cardiff giving a talk to let people know about the new support group we're setting up. The response I got was very encouraging from everywhere I went, although I got drenched while cycling around!

We had our first group last Wednesday, to which the turnout was great for a first group, a whole 4 people! It's going to be happening once a week from now on and is going to consist of a meeting in which participants will discuss their recovery and what's happening from day to day for them. There will be positive feedback encouraged as it's essentially a peer-support group, run by those in recovery, for those in recovery. After that there will be a chill out time for people to get to know each other over a cuppa and a game of pool. 

Well I didn't publish this straight away so it's a couple of days later now and we've had another group since writing this. I've been blown away by the response that I have received from people while telling them about this group. It's so encouraging to be told by people in recovery that they would like to attend this group. I've even had staff members from treatment providers I've visited asking if they can volunteer- it's been an amazing experience!!

I'm going to keep you all posted on how things go.