Frontline Stories: Living our recovery in the community

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We spoke to one of our ex-clients, John, who has reintegrated into the community and is living in a ‘dry house’ with other people at the same stage of recovery. We call this Third Stage Recovery. We asked him how the lockdown has impacted him. Here’s what he told us:

The coronavirus situation has upset a structure that I feel is necessary for any addict who has moved into 3rd stage from treatment.

One of the main things you are taught in rehab is to not stay alone in your head too much, and to reach out. To help with the transition from residential treatment to the next stage of recovery there are meetings, groups and activities planned. When this is taken away suddenly and you are asked to rely on technology, zoom, and the phone, it just adds another obstacle.

I really feel for people new into 3rd stage who were only just finding their feet when this pandemic happened.

Luckily for me, I already had six months clean time before this all happened, which gave me an extra layer of defence. Everybody in the shared accommodation is dealing with the situation in their own but I do notice that we can quite easily slip into isolation mode.

There are certain requirements to stay in 3rd stage accommodation, such as voluntary work and fellowship meetings, which help to keep this isolating tendency in check. I have found myself making the effort to contact people more than I would normally, a mixture of making a bit more effort than usual and also out of sheer boredom.

Initially the idea of taking part in 12 step meetings over the internet seemed like a crazy idea. Surely the meetings are all about connection so how could you get that with no personal contact? I have completely changed my mind and would go as far as to say that it has reenergised me as far as the fellowship is concerned.

The zoom meetings have been a revelation, I am hearing inspirational stories from all over the world and I tune in most days, unlike the one or two meetings I used to go to before the pandemic.

Another positive with zoom meetings has been staying connected to family. Because of the lockdown our family are contacting each other more. We have also started a quiz night on Saturday evenings. It’s great to catch up and a lot of fun and we are now discussing continuing even when the lockdown is over.

The Nelson Trust are in contact via zoom as well, once a week for a check in and a chance to ask any questions. Elisha from the Hub Academy keeps in contact also by text message with good advice and helpful links to website to keep our spirits up while in lockdown.

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