Celebrating Recovery Month

With You staff share what Recovery Month means to them in hope that their experience will inspire others.

Recovery Month is a time to celebrate the gains made by those in recovery, and remind those at the beginning of their journey that they are not alone. It’s an opportunity to let everyone know that although every journey is different, we’re all in this together.

This Recovery Month, we want to celebrate our lived experience workforce whose commitment, dedication and passion is essential to the work we do.

Iain Donald, Recovery Worker, With You in Glasgow North East Recovery Hub.

Personally, every month, every week, every day is about recovery for me.

I was born and brought up in a small village on the outskirts of Aberdeen in Scotland. Around the age of 17, I started using ecstasy and other party drugs on the weekends because my friends were doing it.

I started experimenting with heroin when my relationship ended in the 2000’s and that was the beginning of my downward spiral.

I constantly borrowed money from my parents, making excuses about what I needed the money for and if that failed, I stole from them. I also started breaking into pubs and shops, and eventually got arrested at the age of 26. I was sentenced to a year in prison.

I started using drugs again almost immediately after I was released and eventually sold drugs for some major drug dealers, who paid me with a personal supply of crack and heroin. During this period of chaos, I overdosed three times, each time requiring hospitalisation. I also did try to stop using drugs, but relapsed several times.

And then in March 2010, I started a structured day programme designed to help a person learn to cope with daily life without substances. I completed the programme in March 2011 having been drug-free for a full year and began studying for a Higher National Certificate in Social Care in September 2011.

Earlier on in 2011, a group of friends and I created RAFT (Recovery Aftercare, Friday Time), a recovery safe haven for people looking to move away from their substance use. It grew rapidly and in September 2011, RAFT was awarded the UK’s first Recovery Champion Award — an award made by the Recovery Academy and Wired In To Recovery.

I celebrated my second anniversary of being free of substances in March 2012, an event which stands out for me because it represented my longest period of time without drug use since starting my recovery journey back in 2006.

I have found that having a certain level of lived experience has allowed me to perform at a higher level. I’m able to identify with individuals in recovery and assist them by asking the right questions.

These skills however are not unique to individuals with lived experience. A sense of empathy and a desire to help others during a period of difficulty in their lives is always important.

I’ve also found that people open up quicker when they know they’re dealing with someone who’s been through their experience.

Read more experiences on the original blog post.

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We are proud to work in partnership with many of the leading charities and treatment providers in the sector.

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