Every mutual aid/self help group, service provider, commisioning body, has it’s foundations in a common problem/solution and this in effect is what brings them all together. This creates a unity between members that in turn creates a force to be reckoned with. It is very easy to look at other groups or individuals and make judgement because their views don’t agree with ours but what this has the potential to do is put up the very barriers that we are probably trying to break down. This can and has created a very tribal feel between groups of people who when taken back to basics started off fighting for the same thing. If we don’t stand together we will fall apart.
A perfect example is the current state of the drug treatment system and the wedge that is becoming very damaging between harm reduction activists and recovery activists. My personal view on this is that both serve a select few at very different stages on their journey and both are equally as important as the other to give an individual all available options to make their own mind up and to take control of their own journey. Unfortunately what is happening at the minute is that there is a reshaping of treatment that is creating behind the scenes ‘battles’ and unrest in the services. This ‘target driven’ debate is effecting all involved from the newcomer to service to the governing bodies trying to deliver the new strategy.
Question is where is it going to end?
There are rights here that are being stamped all over and this lack of respect and understanding to those that we serve is concerning. I’m not saying that there is an easy solution to this but have the ‘leading figures’ forgotten who they serve. So lets look at the reality behind this. The government have decided that ‘recovery’ is the way forward, abstinance is the key! Fair play, but what of those who don’t want abstinance? Anyway, more funding is being put into ‘abstinance based recovery’. Okay, so just out of curiosity, how many people reading this would have realistically made it from the chaos that was their reality to abstinance without the support of harm reduction at some level on their journey? My guess is that the numbers of success stories being churned out of abstinance based groups and services would fall dramatically if harm reduction was to be affected, any more than it already has, due to these cuts and restructures. It’s like going from A-Z without learning the rest of the alphabet. Every letter is there for a reason. (The best reason at the minute is to write letters of disaproval to the instigators of this mess and to put sentences together to raise awareness of the damage that this has the potential to cause)
The annoying thing is that the ‘leading figures’ behind this ‘recovery’ drive, (probably aren’t abstinant themselves), are probably sitting back and laughing at the choas they have created, the divide and conquer style that is all to common from the powers that be, Why can’t we see it for what it really is and stand together on this one. Recovery is a journey not a destination and it starts as soon as someone seeks support to get to whatever/wherever their chosen goal may be. By any means necessary. It also means becoming the person that you envisage yourself to be despite the barriers that society may put up for you to cross.