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Action on Addiction launches online exhibition to show the true face of recovery

22 November 2012

Press Release
Embargoed for: 00:01hrs Friday 23 November 2012

Action on Addiction launches online exhibition to show the true face of recovery

Addiction affects one in three people and is the biggest preventable killer in the UK, yet recovery is still a subject of taboo and misconception

Today (23 November 2012) charity Action on Addiction launches ‘A Moment of Opportunity’ - an interactive online exhibition documenting the journey of recovering addicts from the grip of addiction to the hope and possibilities of recovery.

The exhibition is the result of a six month collaboration with photographer James Oaten, who travelled around the UK to meet recovering addicts at Action on Addiction centres and document the true face of recovery.

The exhibit features two photographs for each subject: one of the place where they felt they had hit ‘rock bottom’ and realised something had to change. The other image shows them in recovery, capturing the means by which they rebuilt their lives and discovered new possibilities beyond addiction.

Nick Barton, Chief Executive of Action on Addiction, said “Whilst the effects of alcohol and drug misuse on the body and mind have been well documented in art and the media, recovery is a subject of mystery and even taboo - hidden behind private doors and often epitomised in public by the uninspiring glass of orange juice at a drinks reception. With a ‘A Moment of Opportunity’ we aim to throw open these doors to focus on what recovery really looks like - revealing the lesser-seen, perhaps more surprising, stories of how people re-build fulfilling and joyful lives after addiction.”

James Oaten, photographer, explains how the project came about: "I approached Action on Addiction with an idea for this project after seeing people injecting heroin in an alleyway behind my flat. Friends advised me to move out or contact the police so they could move the ‘addicts’ on. But it occurred to me that I knew so little about addiction - who these people were, how had they got to that place and were they really so very different from me?

“Through this project I sought answers to these questions by meeting and photographing some truly inspirational people – people who had hit rock bottom but then found the strength to build a new life for themselves and their families. I hope that ‘A Moment of Opportunity’ captures some of this strength of character and challenges perceptions about what it means to suffer from addiction and live in recovery.”

Nick Barton concluded: “We are extremely grateful to James and all those who shared their experience of recovery for ‘A Moment of Opportunity’. There is no such thing as a ‘typical addict’ and I think James has proven this with his photographs. I hope that the exhibition will help change people’s expectations of recovering addicts and inspire others to embark on their own journeys of recovery. ”

Images from the project are being published for the first time using social image gallery, Pinterest. Action on Addiction is inviting people to collaborate in the project by commenting, liking, repinning or even submitting their own ‘Moments of Opportunity’ to feature in the gallery.

Visit the online exhibition at

Get involved in the conversation by tweeting @ActionAddiction or using the hashtag #MomentofOpportunity


Contact information
For further information, images or interviews with those involved in the project, contact:

Elisabeth Middlemas or Sarah Savage at Four Colman Getty on:
T: 020 3023 9033 / 020 3023 9092
E: /

About Action on Addiction
Action on Addiction is the only UK charity working across the addiction field in research, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, professional workforce development, professional education and support for families and children.

Action on Addiction has treatment centres throughout England as well as a specialist family support service and an expert training centre for the treatment of addiction. It funds important and innovative research into addiction, working closely with the National Addiction Centre (part of the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London) and the Mental Health Research and Development Unit at the University of Bath.

Action on Addiction has been helping people with addiction problems for over 25 years. In January 2012 HRH the Duchess of Cambridge became patron of Action on Addiction.

Twitter: @actionaddiction
Facebook: Action on Addiction

About James Oaten
James Oaten is a commercial photographer whose work has been featured in Time Out London, Marketing Week and other magazines. He has also worked for Origin Coffee, Westmill Foods and the London Borough of Islington.
For more information about James Oaten’s work please visit his website:
Twitter: @james_oaten

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Action on Addiction is a company limited by guarantee registered in England | Company Number 05947481 Registered Charity Number 1117988
Registered office: Action on Addiction, Head Office, East Knoyle, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP3 6BE