As we contemplate ICAAD London next week I wanted to focus on a small detail. The morning recovery meeting which this year will be at 7:30 each morning. This tiny idea was the brainchild of a giant in our business. The late John Southworth. John pushed for enhanced professionalism for interventionists and helped create a national professional organization. He also supported national organizations working on behalf of better substance use disorder treatment and was one of the best-known professionals in the field. He was never too busy to help a friend or anyone suffering the disease of addiction. He was profoundly grateful for his own recovery and used his time and remarkable talents to help others find the same gift. He loved what he did professionally and was proud of his many accomplishments. Anyone who knew him well has many humorous stories to relate about the experience. He was a larger than life character. John’s life made a difference to thousands of people as he showed them how to live happy, joyous and free.
John attended hundreds of conferences and, eventually, he started telling the conferences that if they did not have a meeting room for a recovery meeting, that he would not exhibit and would encourage others to stop. John normally got what he wanted. It had really annoyed him that the addiction conferences did not offer meetings to attendees many of whom where in recovery themselves. These meetings were christened “Winners” meetings and as such whether you were in La Quinta, Cape Cod, Amelia Ireland or in London, John could be found leading the “Winners” meeting early each morning before the conference schedule proper kicked off. He would be first in the room, resplendent with a big happy smile and the most garish socks a man could possibly buy!
So three years ago Sam asked me to lead this London ICAAD “Winners” meeting and I accepted that invitation with gratitude. John left some pretty big shoes to fill – actually pretty big yellow Nikes, and he would have us keep a wonderful tradition going. So if you are in recovery, or simply interested, or want to start the day off in an incredibly holistic way this meeting is for you. If you are a therapist and refer people to 12 step meetings and have never been to one yourself, this meeting is also for you!
By David Brown, Director at Imago Interventions International