I met Kevin Dooley about a year ago. He has a remarkable story to tell. After a traumatic childhood, he descended into a life of crime, addiction and a mixture of prison and homelessness. He then slowly started the journey of recovery and changed everything.
I mean everything. At one of the early recovery houses where he stayed he asked his drug recovery counsellor “What do I need to change?” The coach laughed and said “Everything.”
It is easy to tell any story of a roller-coaster life in hindsight as if the subsequent upcurve is an inevitable mirror image of the descent. It is far from that. Change is scary, exciting and unpredictable every minute of the day.
Kevin is currently writing a book about his journey called ‘A Cruel Healing’. But before that comes out, delegates at the UK Clinical Pharmacists Association will have the chance of hearing from Kevin first hand, at their national conference on Friday 13 November.
He is an outstanding speaker. No matter how much you think you know about drugs and recovery, every time I hear Kevin speak I feel another scale of misunderstanding dislodge and fall from my mind and land on the ground with a loud clunk.
Kevin reveals what the difference is between addiction and having a problem with drugs and alcohol. Addiction is tugging and reshaping your being rather than just influencing your behaviour. Its roots are in early trauma and brain development. Recovery from addiction means rebuilding your mind from its brain chemistry upwards. It is self-innovation, self-development and self-leadership on a grand scale. That is what makes it so interesting and relevant to everyone.
The UKCPA can look forward to a fascinating talk. Pharmacists are at the front line of administering drugs to the population as a whole. And many addicts cross the threshold of their local chemist. So it is absolutely right, and a tribute to the forward-thinking approach of UK pharmacists, that they want to hear from the horse’s mouth what is going on in the addicts mind and what you can do to help them.
“As the outgoing President of the BSC, Professor Loraine Gelsthorpe said, following Kevin’s talk: ‘Kevin should inspire us all to make some noise’ on behalf of a fairer society and a better criminal justice system. It is hard to disagree.”
Professor of Criminology & Public Policy
University of Brighton and President of the British Society of Criminologists