Ireland hosts successful International Recovery Month events

A successful series of activities to celebrate and promote recovery from addiction took place in Dublin in September 2015 as part of International Recovery Month.  They included a recovery walk, led by renowned Irish musician Christy Dignam from the band Aslan who has talked publicly about his own struggles with addiction.

Soilse held an awards ceremony and barbecue for 60 former participants who had completed educational modules in mathematics, communications, personal and interpersonal skills, computers, health and fitness, and arts and creativity. The awards are accredited by Quality & Qualifications Ireland, the Irish accreditation authority, which is part of the EU accreditation framework.  The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Críona Ní Dhálaigh, presented the educational awards. Leaflets about the RECOVEU initiative were distributed at the event and RECOVEU posters were displayed.

Soilse also co-hosted a seminar for women in recovery in association with the Snug Counselling service and the Chrysalis Drug Project. Some 50 women came together to talk about their recovery issues and vision for the future.  

In addition, Soilse co-hosted a major conference with the North West Inner City Network (a network of inner city community projects) entitled ‘Let’s Talk About Recovery 2’.  Susan Scally, head of the Drug Policy Unit (DPU) in the Irish Department of Health gave the keynote speech.  She spoke about the forthcoming Irish drug strategy which will be formulated over the next year after a consultation process.  There were also speakers from Glasgow, Liverpool and Birmingham, giving insight into their own recovery projects’ developments and successes.  These included housing, social projects and recovery networks.

Recovery month events in Ireland culminated with a ‘Laughter in Recovery’ night where local Irish stand-up comedians held a large drug-free audience in raptures of laughter. Some of the comedians are renowned for their roles in the iconic television series Father Ted. Indeed, the comedians said the recovery audience was the best audience they had ever played to. 

The ‘Laughter in Recovery’ night was the first event organised by the Recovery Academy of Ireland which will be officially launched next year. An art competition is underway to select a logo for the academy. The competition will be judged by Jim Fitzpatrick, the famous Irish artist whose portfolio includes the iconic Che Guevara poster along with album covers for the Thin Lizzy rock band.

Planning has already begun for International Recovery Month 1916.