To whom it may concern,
I am writing this testimonial in support of the mindfulness meditation workshops run by Mike Sarson. The meditation has helped me so much , in dealing with and coming to terms with my many illness’s and life limiting lung disease. It has also helped me to cope with my adult daughters mental health issues and her addiction to opioids. The meditation group is the only one of many that my daughter has attended over the years that she has actually engaged in and consistently attended. Before the meditation group my daughter was shutting herself away in her bedroom and wouldn’t talk to people. After attending the group she has become more socially engaging and chats with people, and has become more positive and happier in her self. So please provide funding for this very worthwhile charity if you can as it should be made available to many more desperately needy people, who need help to get them through drug and alcohol addiction, and for carers and people like myself coping with illness and caring for a loved one, and for those with mental health issues. Conventional medicine can only do so much and some of the side effects of the drugs can be worse than the illness it is being used to treat. Mindfulness meditation uses only your own natural resources and has no side effects that cause other illness’s. The results and benefits have to be experienced to appreciate the amazing changes it can bring about. Please help Mike to continue his good work and help others access his workshops, which will enable more people to benefit.
Mrs. Caroline Lewis.
ELIZABETH FRY PROBATION HOSTEL
6 Coley Avenue, Reading Berkshire RG1 6LQ
Telephone: (0118) 957 2385
3rd March 2010
To whomever it may concern
Elizabeth Fry Approved Premises first made contact with the charity East West Detox in 1986 when founder Mike Sarson started to work with Angela Witten who was a resident at the time. Angela had been dependant on heroin and crack cocaine for many years and chose to undergo an alternative treatment programme offered through East West Detox. The court varied conditions on her probation order to enable her to partake in the programme at Thamkrabok Monastery in Thailand. Angela agreed to be filmed going through the whole process by the BBC which she successfully completed in April 1997. This provided Angela the opportunity to free herself from the dependency on drugs. She regained her self-respect with dignity and now leads a life without drugs back at home, supporting and loving her two young sons. Drug and alcohol dependency is a chronic relapsing condition. A key element in the East West Detox treatment programme is mindfulness meditation for relapse prevention. Many of the underlying causes that can lead to substance dependency are also relapsing conditions such as stress, anxiety, anger and depression. There is increasing evidence to suggest that mindfulness meditation can prevent relapsing conditions from re-occurring. The Mental Health Foundation have recently completed research and set up a website to promote the practice (www. BeMindful.com). East West Detox volunteers have continued to provide sessions of mindfulness meditation to groups of residents at Elizabeth Fry Approved premises since that time with very positive outcomes. This happens on a weekly basis as part of our Drug/Alcohol programme. We would like to recommend their preventative services to others and encourage any support for their work especially in the area of funding.
Substance Misuse Worker
Registered Charity No: 237829
DRINK and DRUGS NEWS ARTICLE – 16th January 2006
‘Mike Sarson has all the right credentials, asocial worker, addiction counsellor, and years of experience in the field, but above all he has an intuitive quality together with great compassion and total dedication to his vision. This in turn motivates all who support and are involved with the ongoing work of East-West Detox.’
An Alternative Way
Recently, I was fortunate to be present at the October East-West Detox road show and found the day both uplifting and informative. A mixed group of professionals working in the field of addiction, together with recovering addicts and some family members, were gathered in the beautiful surroundings of Winford Manor Retreat Bristol, to share a truly stimulating day. Winford Manor has been my spiritual home for many years and regularly hosts such events offering space and quiet in its lovely chapel, house and extensive grounds. It was good to be back again. Mike Sarson and his team have revolutionised the methods of detox and recovery by marrying East and West in a unique and positive way. People who are seeking recovery travel many miles to Thamkrabok Buddhist Monastery in the north of Thailand. For most of them this is a journey through unchartered territory and requires of them total commitment to change and a sincere wish to ‘let go’ to the process, and move forward to a life clean of drugs or other substances, to freedom. Everyone deserves a choice and this is exactly what is on offer. We were at Winford Manor to hear how the programme works, from Simon and others who had already made the journey. East-West Detox is a charity offering a unique, non medical treatment for individuals suffering with addiction. It allows westerners to experience the world renowned detox programme at the Thamkrabok monastery, where they have had a high success and the individual costs vastly undercut any in the West. Some may have seen the BBC TV documentary ‘Kill or Kure’ – the story of Simon and Rebecca, two young people desperate for recovery and a drug free life. Mike and his team support them from the beginning in the UK to the final process at the monastery in Thailand, where they both go through a complete life change. I have watched the film many times, each with renewed enthusiasm. Simon took us through his story of many years of addiction, to his final experience at Thamkrabok. He has no doubt that his chosen path is working for him. Dr Vanessa Crawford, Consultant Psychiatrist and Director of East London and City Specialist Drugs and Alcohol Addiction Services, spoke highly of the East-West Detox method of treatment. She has made the journey to the Monastery in Thailand and taken the herbal medicine herself. Mike and Vanessa held a comprehensive and informative question and answer session, and Vanessa fully endorsed the work:’ I have great respect for the treatment… calmness of the surroundings, the positive wisdom of Buddhism and the importance of being entrusted with a vow, all add to the success’. I was interested to hear what she had to say, as I too felt that the initiation ceremony was what had first struck a chord for me, combined with the monks’ chanting to the drumbeat whilst herbal medicine is being administered. All addicts taking part in the process are requested to wear robes and take a vow to abstain from drugs for the rest of their lives. This ritual I feel works on all levels as it takes place in a sacred space. Not only is the body purged of all substances and toxins, the spirit is also cleansed – by all accounts a gruelling experience, but nevertheless liberating. It is also worth mentioning that there is no requirement of any religious belief. The five day detoxification period consists of taking herbal medicine and steam baths daily. I personally feel all the symbolism and ceremony adds to the path of change and movement from the old life to a new one. Louise, a good friend of mine gave a heart rending account of her son Charlie’s journey to recovery and Simon’s mother added her comments. This mixture of perceptions from all quarters helped those of us present to get a full picture. Mike Sarson has all the right credentials, a social worker, addiction counsellor, and years of experience in the field, but above all he has an intuitive quality together with great compassion and total dedication to his vision. This in turn motivates all who support and are involved with the ongoing work of East-West Detox. In conclusion I feel most disappointed for those who, in the light of the present recommendation from the NTA are unable to make the choice, between an alternative path with East-West Detox, which already has a high success rate, and the conventional route, which intends to increase the existing dose of methadone and abandon any counselling support. Surely everyone seeking recovery is entitled to a choice. I am so grateful to have experienced such a full and inspiring day.
Many thanks to Mike, Nick and the team, James, and all at Winford Manor Retreat.
After reading an article in DDN, I thought perhaps you would like to include my letter in your magazine for the benefit of other readers. I am 49 yrs old have been using amphetamine (speed) since age 13. Also with the emergence of crack cocaine, I was using this also. I’ve been in prison a few times, and been to two rehabs, only to start using again within days. That was until I came across East West Detox, which involves some initial counselling from Mike Sarson (East-West Detox co-ordinator) and then a trip to Thamkrabok, Thailand, which is a Buddhist monastery two hours drive north east of Bangkok. I underwent five days initial vomiting and herbal medicine throughout my stay there of seven weeks. (In all I vomited 25 times.) Then there is the spiritual aspect of being there: a part of me that was lost, my spiritual self has now been found and I now feel whole again, found through meditation, and spiritual discipline. I would recommend to anyone who is wanting to rid themselves of their addiction be it drugs, alcohol, even smoking, that Thamkrabok is the place to go.
Steve West, Newbury
Reading NHS Primary Care Trust
Reading PCT 57 – 59 Bath Road Reading RG30 2BA
3rd June 2004
Mike Sarson East West Detox 17 Eldon Square Reading RG1 4DP
You have requested confirmation that the West of Berkshire rehab panel will consider funding places for clients on the East-West Detox programme.
The panel have agreed that the priority is to meet the needs of the clients as far as possible within the agreed funding. Key workers for clients recommend detox/rehab facilities most suited to the clients need and the panel must weigh the expressed needs with the cost.
East-West Detox will be considered as an option by the panel in the same way as other providers of detox and rehab facilities based on client need and on cost.
It is recognised by the panel that East-West Detox provides a treatment option that is significantly different from options available in this country. This option is viewed as a viable alternative for clients to whom this approach is suited.
Joint Managing Commissioner
On behalf of West Berkshire Rehab Panel