Had a really great day today mixing with likeminded people on the same journey, heading in the same direction. Left inspired and full of hope.

 Was over in Kingston, Surrey at an event to promote recovery in all it’s shapes and sizes and what a turn out!! There were reps from Stafford, Kingston and Brent all there showcasing some of the work they are doing in their communities to promote recovery and to address the stigma and barriers faced by members of their communties.

 The day started off with yours truly doing a presentation on Asset based community development. An interesting and empowering concept that has it’s roots deeply buried in the therapeutic communities that began springing up around 40 years ago within the user community as an alternative to traditional treatment. One of the more succesful communities that has this concept at it’s heart is the Emmaus Village movement whose manifesto is very much grounded in an altruistic belief system. The whole asset based development thing focuses on changing peoples perseptions of specific groups within the community and supporting members of those group to reconnect with strengths and assets that they have and connecting them to associations or institutions within the community where those assets can be used and promoted. This in turn addresses stigma and breaks down barriers that can be so detrimental with in the communties. Human nature is to focus on deficits…That area is riddled with poverty….The crime stats in that area are disgraceful…homelessness is quite prevelant there…that estate is a glorified drug den. Damaging and unproductive thinking. For every deficit there is an asset begging for attention and only by looking outwards positively can we promote the change that we strive for within our communties.


  The next presentation was Carla Howell, a SUSSED member, who kindly agreed to come over and share her story and how she came to be where she is now. She spoke about her journey to recovery and her involvement with Addaction as a client and also the benefits of being involved in mutual aid support groups and how these had helped her become more confident and more comfortable with herself. Being surrounded by likeminded people who were all heading in the same direction is quite a powerful thing.

 To finish off the mornings presentations we had Oz and his band of warriors from Brent’s active service user and weekend opening service Bsafe and B3. They spoke about their active roles in the community addressing stigma and the support they recieved from all services that were there in the early days of their journey. They were born in Addaction Brent and are still very connected to the organisation in many productive ways.

 The afternoons presentations kicked off with James from RIOT delivering an inspiring and motivational presentation on his journey and some of the barriers that RIOT (Recovery Is OUT There) have managed to address by being active out in their community and beyond.

 Finally SUSSED member Leah delivered a presentation on SMART Recovery and how this has been a major turning point in her life and the lives of others that she has supported through the SMART  program.

 All in all the day was a success and there was some good networking and promotion done to bring yet another mutual  aid network together. All good stuff!!


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