2018 Recovery Walk Highlights

In September 2018, over 350 recovery community members come out to support our Recovery Walk in Ghana.  The walk was held in Accra. The theme this year was United Against Stigma of SUDs (Substance Use Disorders). The walk was successful and well attended due to the enthusiastic participation of our recovery community members, their family members and the residents of surrounding community. Recovery Africa, Inc. Board Member Kristen Harper was among the five Americans who participated in the walk. The other Americans included three videographers and photographers; and Linda Milewski, an addiction professional who has been staying at WellCare Ghana and helping Ghanaian women with recovery support. Ghanaian attendees included representatives from the Ghana Prison Service, Narcotics Control Board, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, National Commission for Civic Education, local schools, youth groups, churches, Recovery Africa’s primary partner Hopeful Way Foundation and other Ghanaian non-profit organizations and rehab centers that provide treatment and recovery services for the local recovery community.

Below are two videos: a collage of images and short video clips that highlight the Fourth Annual Recovery Walk September 29, 2018; and a longer more in-depth video showing footage from the Fourth Annual Ghana Recovery Walk in September 2018, interviews with Ghanaians in recovery, description of alcohol and drug addition in Ghana and the programs of Recovery Africa, Inc. that are helping people who are addicted to alcohol and other drugs.

2017 Recovery Walk Highlights

In September 2017, we had  250 recovery community members come out to support our Recovery Walk in Ghana, including Dr. Al Mooney and five other Americans.  The walk was held in Ashaiman near the House of St. Francis.  Recovery Africa considers this walk to to be the most successful walk to date because of the enthusiastic participation of our recovery community members, their family members and the residents of Ashaiman.  The post walk events helped us carry forward our message that recovery is possible. 

Recovery Africa upcoming activities/decisions

1. Recovery Coach Training in Ghana - Dates for the training are July 3 – 7, 2017 for 20 participants who will apply to participate in the training. The venue for the training will be the Hopeful Way Training Center near Accra. Donald McDonald of Recovery Communities of North Carolina (RCNC) will facilitate the training. 

2. Recovery Africa to focus on three primary areas in Ghana:

  • Development and expansion of Oxford Houses
  • Hopeful Way Foundation - RA's partner nonprofit organization in Ghana
  • Development of recovery communities

3. Byron Merriweather - Program Director, Ghana  to remain in Ghana through March 2018. RA has funding through September 2017. We need help with funding through March.

4. RA Board will meet quarterly starting August 2017.

5.  Budget for 2017-2018 will be redone to better reflect our programs

6. Explore the establishment of another women's facility in collaboration with Drug and Alcohol Free Awareness and Rehab Centre (DAFAREC) a faith-based residential treatment facility in Ghana 

7. Expand the distance learning courses in Ghana and Nigeria

8. RA is primarily a 12-step organization that collaborates with organizations both in Ghana and the U.S. that embrace other pathways.

9. RA will apply for membership in Faces & Voices of Recovery's Association of Recovery Community Organizations (ARCO).

10.  A volunteer from Healing Transitions in Raleigh, North Carolina, may travel to Ghana in order to study the House of St. Francis and other locations and provide technical assistance.

11. RA has established a Morgan Stanley Account in order to receive donations of appreciated stock

12. Visit Ghana in September 2017. See this page on our website for more details!

Forum on Recovery Africa, Inc.'s Approaches in Ghana: 12 Step & Medication Assisted Treatment & Recovery


On Sunday March 12, 2017, Recovery Africa will be holding a forum on updating and documenting our approach to “12-step as related to medication assisted recovery”, particularly regarding our programs in Ghana. Please try to join us and share your thoughts on this and related topics. We will continue to focus on 12-step recovery but want to keep an open mind regarding other forms of recovery. The forum will take place from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 7500 Pearl St. Bethesda, MD 20814. Church parking is available. The key resource people will be Dr. Al Mooney, medical director of Recovery Africa, Dr. Gerald Marti of Phoenix Health Center in Hagerstown and Patty McCarthy of Faces & Voices. Byron Merriweather, Dr. Eugene Dordoye and Edwin Ahadzie will be present. We will also be asking how Ghana could benefit from the U.S. experience and what the U.S. might learn from Ghana where the smoking of cigarettes, for example, is considered to be a relapse. 

Meet Recovery Africa Advisory Council Member: JANIS SMALL OMIDE

Janis Small Omide, MAC, CSAC – I am a person who was “called” to help people recover from the disease of addiction. I was introduced to the alcohol/drug treatment “field” in the 90’s and witnessed it grow into a profession. I have a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling for addiction (and am a Master Addiction Counselor-MAC).   I am also a certified substance abuse counselor (CSAC) in Virginia, USA with experience in very diverse modalities. However, my most valued accomplishment has been learning and teaching the 12-steps of recovery. My greatest reward comes from witnessing the transformation of others in body, mind and spirit. I am interested in Recovery Africa because I witnessed Byron Merriweather struggle in his addiction and grow in his recovery—and he invited me to the team. I support the late Father Martin’s goal: to ease the suffering of individuals and families, around the world, affected by addiction. I see Recovery Africa (RA) as the pioneer for providing leadership and resources for addiction treatment, prevention and recovery for African stakeholders wanting to address problems faced by people in need of treatment for addiction. Using a network of professionals and evidence-based resources from The United States, RA will be able to share proven programs, policies, information, data and funding to help implement effective programs in Africa—while acting on the disease-model and knowledge that treatment is effective, prevention works, and people recover.

ALERT: Such a broad scope will make it difficult to NOT try to be all things to all people. RA will be constantly challenged with staying focused on “its” defined mission, goals and purpose.
Janis Omide is on the Advisory Council of RA.

NOTE:  Please visit her website.

Meet Recovery Africa Advisory Council Member: PATTY MCCARTHY METCALF

Patty McCarthy Metcalf, M.S., is the Executive Director of Faces & Voices of Recovery, the nation's leading recovery advocacy organization since 2001. Her work focuses on public policy, public education, community mobilizing, peer-based recovery support services and peer workforce development. She has been instrumental in the development of national accreditation standards for peer recovery support service. Patty has designed and delivered training on topics such as recovery messaging, ethics and boundaries, recovery-oriented systems of care (ROSC),  peer recovery coaching and much more. As a woman in long-term recovery from alcohol and drug addiction since 1989, Ms. McCarthy-Metcalf has frequently participated as a subject matter expert and thought leader with SAMHSA sponsored policy discussions.  

Prior to joining Faces & Voices of Recovery, Patty served as a Deputy Director of SAMHSA’s Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS) initiative.  She served for a decade as the Director of Friends of Recovery-Vermont (FOR-VT), a statewide recovery community organization promoting the power of long-term recovery to improve the health and quality of life of Vermonters. Ms. McCarthy Metcalf’s professional experience covers the spectrum of prevention, treatment and recovery.  She has worked as a substance abuse prevention specialist with the Vermont Department of Health and as a Child and Family Clinician within a community-based mental health center.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Community Counseling and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. 


Recovery from alcohol and other drug addiction is one of the most courageous and empowering processes one can undergo in their lifetime. Our collective strength across the world is built by the contributions, big or small, made by each individual’s recovery experience. The recovery movement lives and grows through Recovery Africa as the organizing force behind the movement in Ghana. I am so honored to be witnessing and supporting the excellent work of Recovery Africa.

Meet Recovery Africa Advisory Council Member: SHELIA STIGALL

 In June of 2013 I was a student in a Master of Social Work program at Portland State University and took advantage of an opportunity to study in Ghana. Being a woman in recovery thoughts started to enter my mind that I might be able to try palm wine and akpeteshie and no one would know. I could probably get away with one taste, right?? Because my recovery is the most important thing in my life I sighed heavily and called my academic advisor about a placement in treatment and recovery.

I didn’t know how profoundly this decision would influence my life. As a result of my request I was connected to Dan O’Laughlin who provided me with the opportunity to spend two months working at the House of St. Francis. My eyes were open to a new level of service work. The men and women that I worked with, in recovery and “normies”, gave of themselves freely and were devoted to bringing greater recovery access to Ghana. I cannot express the inspiration I got from these incredibly selfless individuals. I returned to Ghana in the summer of 2014 spending two more months at the HSF.

I could go on at length about my experience in Ghana, both inside and outside of the recovery movement. Since my space here is limited I invite you to read more about my experience at: stigallshelia.blogspot.com.

I am so grateful to have met so many remarkable people and for the opportunity to contribute, in my small way, to this incredible organization. I sincerely hope I will be able to return to Ghana someday.

Meet Recovery Africa Advisory Council Member: JOHN ELFORD

John Lives on the Isle of Wight in England. Prior to launching his own company John was engaged as the Registered Manager of a residential psychiatric care home for adults with complex and varying mental health problems. Running alongside the above career, and for the last twelve years, he has been developing models of treatment combining CBT, the 12 Steps and teaching methodology. This has resulted in the creation of the Integrated Step Course, an intensive rehab program that has been implemented in various treatment facilities across the UK.

John has been elected as the UK liaison for the Willingway Foundation, a position that has led him to working with Dr Al Mooney on various projects in the UK and Africa. Most recently they spent time in Ghana where John delivered intensive training on CBT and the 12 Steps and the implementation of his teaching methods contained in his program and books.

The Integrated Step Course is now an accredited program and John is implementing its delivery in further rehabs in the UK. He now has persons in the USA and Canada and is in the process of developing international connections to take the program worldwide.

Meet Recovery Africa Board Member: LARRY GAINES

Larry is the Chief Executive Officer of Serenity House, Inc. They have been treating alcohol and other addict since 1972. Recovery Dynamics was developed as a necessity to treating a group of people at the same time in a selected time frame. The method had to be simple, direct and in a sequence in order to educate. The author of Recovery Dynamics and founder of Serenity Park, which is the flagship of the model, the late Joe McQuany would be pleased, and honored as I am to play a small part in this endeavor. The method we have developed is used in at least 40 different States in the U.S. and five countries. It has been my pleasure to help carry the recovery messages to Ghana in 2011 and 2013. In Ghana I found recovery to be in its early stages of development but I also found fertile ground for recovery. All of the players are working together to overcome the scourges of addiction. I am on the board of RA and am prepared to work as needed in order to share successes in the treatment of addiction in the United States and to learn from approaches in Africa.

Meet Recovery Africa Advisory Council Member: TERRIE SCHWEITZER

In August 2011, I received my official invitation to enter Peace Corps service in Ghana. I didn't know anything about Ghana, and though I wanted to serve, my biggest worries centered around leaving the supportive circle of friends I had in Sonoma county. One of those friends smiled when I talked about going to Ghana; he knew Dan and Agnes and put me in touch with them and I learned about their work in Ghana with Recovery Africa and the Bill Moore Oxford house they'd established there. Bill Moore is legendary in certain Sonoma county circles, so that seemed like a good sign.

I finally got to meet Dan and Agnes, along with Byron Merriweather and others, visited Bill Moore House in May 2012 when students from the US were visiting and learning about recovery in Ghana. I was excited to get to join the group on their bus as we toured the Eastern and Volta regions of Ghana, visiting recovery houses and prominent friends of recovery.

It was incredible gift to see recovery in action as we visited each place and Dan and others spoke about recovery and the work of Hopeful Way Foundation (RA's Ghanaian partner organization) in Ghana, and of the potential to bring recovery to Ghana in a bigger way. The cultural dynamics were fascinating. In recovery, we learn to tell our stories, and in Ghana's fervently heart-felt culture, this is a powerful way to weaken the stigma that surrounds addiction. Having been in the country for almost a year, I also cherished the way the American students helped me see Ghana as a newcomer again. I am very grateful to Hopeful Way Foundation and to Dan and Agnes for that opportunity.

Meet Recovery Africa Advisory Council Member: AGNES O'LAUGHLIN

Agnes O’Laughlin is a Board Member of Hopeful Way Foundation, Recovery Africa Inc.'s (RA) partner organization in Ghana, and a member of the advisory council of RA.  Since 2005, Agnes has been a key person in the establishment and implementation of recovery efforts in Ghana.  She participated in numerous recovery related training programs at places such as Willingway Hospital, Healing Transitions.  She was trained in recovery coach training at City of Angels in New Jersey.  While in Ghana, she plays important roles in the House of St. Francis, its family meetings and with the furthering of Al-Anon groups.  Living half of the time in Ghana, Agnes keeps a close watch on the programs, policies and plans of RA.  She says that “Alcoholism and drug addiction in Ghana are seen as a moral issue and weaknesses and not a disease but the seeds are being sown to overcome the shame and stigma”.

Meet Recovery Africa Advisory Council Member: ART MELLOR

Art Mellor is the Director of SPSARV, the United Methodist Church’s Special Program on Substance Abuse and Related Violence. Art is a licensed social worker and was credentialed for 19 years as an addiction counselor. Art has started a family treatment program and a state-licensed outpatient substance abuse program. He has ten years of experience working in inpatient detox and treatment facilities. He has also developed training programs for a variety of audiences, including the criminal justice, social service personnel, and the faith community.

As the Director of SPSARV, Art has worked to expand prevention and treatment services throughout the world, paying particular attention to areas in Africa that lack these services. The United Methodist Church has been a leading force in creating substance abuse treatment and prevention programs in areas like Europe, Russia and parts of Eastern Asia, and through SPSARV, has been taking steps to create or increase treatment and prevention programs in Sub-Saharan Africa.

This has proven to be quite challenging and has prompted SPSARV to build relationships with other organizations with similar aims, like Recovery Africa and the International Federation of Blue Cross (IFBC). This has led to SPSARV bringing to Ghana, South Africa and Lesotho a group of people, with experience with recovery and prevention ministries, to learn more about the programs that Recovery Africa, IFBC, and the Methodist Church have been doing in these areas.

Meet Recovery Africa Advisory Council Member: JERRY MOE

Jerry Moe, MA, is the National Director of Children’s Programs at the Betty Ford Center, a part of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. An Advisory Board Member of the National Association for Children of Addiction, he is an author, lecturer, and trainer on issues for children and families hurt by addiction. Through the years Jerry has received the Marty Mann Award, Mona Mansell Award, Father Joseph C. Martin Award, and America Honors Recovery Award. He has written several books including Kids’ Power: Healing Games for Children of Alcoholics, Discovery … Finding the Buried Treasure, and Understanding Addiction and Recovery Through a Child’s Eyes. He was featured in the Emmy Award winning Nick News Special “Under the Influence.” 

 "I traveled to Ghana in June 2014 to work with Recovery Africa. It was a deeply spiritual experience, a career highlight. From the courageous residents at the House of St. Francis, to the clients at Korle Bu intensive out-patient program, and the family program participants at the Pantang Psychiatric Program, the spirit of recovery was alive and well. Then I experienced a huge blessing in working with a group of children in Jamestown. We talked about the family disease of addiction. They shared, asked questions, and some even felt their pain and cried. They understood that it’s not their fault and they are not alone. I will never forget them."

Meet Recovery Africa Advisory Council Members: KIRT & HILDA BROMLEY

My wife and I have managed a non-profit charity in Ghana called Books For Africa Library Project since 1997. In 2000 we began to distribute Alcoholics Anonymous and other AA literature to Ghanaians as we set up libraries. AA meetings struggled when I went to the States. Long-term recovery in Ghana seemed to require an in-depth exposure, a residential programme. Off and on over the past five years we have had a peer recovery programme for men in Kukurantumi. While we currently do not have a residential recovery house, we do make weekly visits to the Government Hospital in New Taft and St Joseph Hospital in Effiduase to give out information on Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon.  

With the support of the World Service Office of Alcoholics Anonymous in New York City, the AA Intergroup of Ghana has published 2000 copies of Alcoholics Anonymous, the "Big Book", in Twi. We also have Al-Anon literature available in Twi.  The support of Recovery Africa will be important in illustrating to people that recovery in the rural areas of Ghana is connected to a nationwide and continent-wide recovery movement. By being associated with nationally and internationally known leaders, it helps us to show our local residents that they are not alone in their struggle with a powerful disease. Recovery Africa brings the experience, strength and hope of millions into our small town. When we have visitors from Accra or from overseas, the residents begin to understand that sobriety is meant for everyone on every continent.

Meet Recovery Africa Advisory Council Member: EMILY EISENHART

Emily Eisenhart (MA, Social Sciences) is on the Advisory Council of RA and is the Director of the Center for Addiction Recovery in the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. Eisenhart is the assistant director of the Study Abroad Ghana trip organized within the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health and has brought Georgia Southern students in long-term recovery to Ghana in the summer of 2012 and 2013. The aim of the GSU study abroad students in long-term recovery is to exchange experience, strength, and hope with Ghanaians and gain insight and experience working within the international public health sector. The students who have returned from Ghana have been forever changed because of their experiences, and they often have the resources to increase awareness of the lack of resources of those attempting recovery from alcoholism and addiction in Africa. Mrs. Eisenhart is interested in building connections with treatment and halfway facilities in Ghana to track recovery outcomes and learn how to increase sustainable resources that have a measure of demonstrated success. After her first trip to Ghana, Emily fell in love forever with the country, people, and culture and never wants to stop trying to help people in Ghana and all over Africa to find ways into recovery.

Meet Recovery Africa Advisory Council Member: GERALD MARTI

Gerald Marti, MD, PhD is a physician scientist who spent the last 30+ years in the US PHS at the NIH and FDA studying hematological malignancy. He is also a member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). As a member of the Maryland ASAM chapter, he has primarily focused his efforts in the area of continuing medical education.

Currently as past-president of the Maryland ASAM chapter, he team teaches the FDA mandated risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) for the use of extended release and long acting opioids: safe use while improving patient care. His other interests include smoking cessation, screening, brief intervention and referral treatment (SBIRT), the use of naltrexone for extended-release injectable suspension for the treatment of alcoholism, the scientific basis for 12-step programs and medical student education in the field of alcoholism and addiction. He is also interested in the natural history of alcoholism.

Dr. Marti went to Ghana for 14 days in May 2014 and met with Ghanaian professionals regarding the addiction, treatment and rehabilitation. He brought a box of Back to Basics books to Ghana and led very much appreciated training sessions at the House of St. Francis.

Meet Recovery Africa Recovery Professional: BYRON MERRIWEATHER

Byron will complete a one and a half year tour in Ghana end of April, 2017. For the last seven years, Byron has played the leading role in support of recovery in Ghana by establishing several Oxford Houses, expanding the number of AA/NA home group meetings in Greater Accra, and providing consultation and support to the House of St. Francis, a social model treatment center in Ashaiman. He has established a Chapter of Oxford Houses with a strong housing services group to oversee the quality control and expansion of Oxford Houses in Ghana. He has also been active in training of trainers in Counseling Addiction Professionals; mobilizing a core group of professionals to establish an Employee Assistance Program provider network in Ghana and assisting the Recovery Ghana Consortium with the organizing of the annual event “Ghana Recovery Walk” held during the month of September. The next one is schedule to be in Ashaiman in September 2017.

“I believe that, we the people of the Hopeful Way Foundation/Recovery Africa are doing great things to provide recovery support and develop this Recovery Movement in Ghana.” Continued support of the following current and future initiatives are needed by Recovery Africa: assist with the training of peer recovery coaches and collaborate with NACOB to provide training of International Counseling Addiction Professionals; continue to develop the international social worker internship/student exchange program; continue to support Recovery Ghana Consortium towards advocacy and relieving stigma; strengthening and stabilizing Al-Anon/family anonymous support groups; development of a revolving loan fund for expansion of Oxford Houses and developing a Technical Support Agency; continued support for development of Recovery Community Centers; and developing sustainable relationships with the business community, faith based community and Ghana Police Services are still needed to mobilize and empower Ghanaians in this Recovery Movement. Recovery Africa still has plenty of work to do to empower Ghanaians to sustain the evidence based structures currently in place in Ghana.

Meet Recovery Africa Executive Director: THERESA O'LAUGHLIN CARMODY

Theresa O’Laughlin Carmody is the Executive Director of Recovery Africa, Inc (RA). She is of American, Ethiopian and Ghanaian heritage and has lived and experienced the cultures of various African countries. As a person in recovery, while living in Ghana, she and the founders of Recovery Africa noticed the lack of community-based support services for people suffering from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. Recovery Africa was founded out of that vacuum. 

Theresa’s first exposure to the recovery movement was through lending support to her father, Dan O’Laughlin, through his journey. Early in her own journey in recovery, she traveled to Ghana to assist in developing 12-step groups and raised awareness of the dangers of alcohol and drug addiction. She, often, was the only woman at the 12-step meetings where she helped share the message of recovery. While in Ghana, she helped establish The Hopeful Way Foundation, RA's main partner in Ghana.

Theresa also works for Faces and Voices of Recovery a national nonprofit organization dedicated to organizing and mobilizing the over 23 million Americans in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.

Theresa has a Master’s Degree in International Development from American University, DC and a Bachelor’s Degree in Politics and Spanish from University of San Francisco, CA. She stays active chasing after her two-year old son, a Shih-Tzu, two rescued cats and her loving husband. She is a woman in recovery since 2013.

Meet Recovery Africa Board Member: MATTHEW BROWN

Matthew Brown joined the national non-profit consulting firm Shultz & Williams in 2008 after 18 years of experience in communications, fundraising, and strategic planning in both the private and non-profit sectors.  During his tenure at Schultz & Williams Matt has served a wide range of clients including: The Association of Zoos & Aquariums, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, The American Institute of Architects Foundation, Capital City Public Charter School, The American Shakespeare Center , NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Prince George’s African American Museum & Cultural Center, the American Clean Skies Foundation, Arch Development Corporation, The National Women’s History Museum, The Association of Educational Publishers, Friends of Moccasin Bend National Park and The Meals On Wheels Association of America. 

Prior to joining Shultz & Williams, Matt was the Director of Development for the American Association of Museums (AAM) where he created and directed AAM’s first development department, managing annual giving, major gifts, corporate and foundation relations and sponsorship sales.  As a member of AAM’s senior leadership team, Matt was also a critical part of AAM’s long-range strategic planning process, new business development, and marketing and communications efforts.  During his tenure at AAM Matt advised and assisted numerous museums, zoos, aquaria and other collections and experience-based institutions throughout the United States with their fundraising and strategic planning needs.

Prior to his work in the museum field, Matt spent eight years as the Director of External Affairs at the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF), a private non-profit granting organization that works closely with state arts agencies to support visual and performing artists throughout the mid-Atlantic region and beyond. At MAAF Matt directed all development, communications, public relations and publishing efforts.

Before joining the non-profit sector, Matt worked for nearly ten years in the advertising business  managing TV, radio, print and new media advertising for clients including Allied Signal Corporation, PNC Corporation, Stouffer Foods, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, PPG Industries, The Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Club, DAP, Inc, and Pittsburgh Brewing.

Matt holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Boston College and has studied physical anthropology at the graduate level at the University of Pittsburgh. Matt has also co-produced award winning public television documentaries with Maryland Public Television, The New Jersey Networks, and Great Museums Television.  Matt lives in Bethesda, MD with his wife Susan and their two sons, Christopher and Benjamin