International Remembrance Day is the official day to remember those we have lost through drugs and alcohol within our communities. It is a day that has been developed by the drug using community and events are now held in many cities and countries around the world to commemmorate, such as Germany, Australia, Denmark, Sweden, Canada and now Britain.
Black Poppy Magazine, a magazine that focuses on the health and wellbeing of members of our communities who suffer from addiction in all it’s forms, hosted the UK’s 1st International Remembrance Day in Kennington Park London in 2008 where speakers from our community (drug users, ex drug users, drug workers and advocates) as well as music, a remembrance book, remembrance readings and the releasing of 21 doves. International Remembrance Day is User Led. It is for us to give a space for remembrance with dignity, respect, hope and tenderness.
This year the local service user representative group, SUSSED (Service User Strategy 4 Self Empowerment & Development), put on an event to mark this day to commemorate and remember all those they have lost along the way. The event was held in Bedford at Castle Mound, where a number of balloons were released with messages on them in memory of loved ones and significant others.
The event was quite emotional due to the fact that some of the group members have lost family members or close friends. All members of the group have known individuals who have died along the way. For me, this day reminds me of why I do what I do on a day to day basis.