NEW SERVICE TO SUPPORT ALCOHOL AND DRUG DEPENDENTS INTO RECOVERY ROLLING OUT ACROSS DEVON
A pioneering Devon-wide service that supports drug and alcohol dependents to stay clean and sober and begin to build long-term recovery from addiction is due to begin work later this month.
Over the past eighteen months Exeter-based SoberLink Community Interest Company (CIC) has developed a successful recovery mentoring support programme for alcohol dependents that want to make a fresh start without alcohol and are committed to abstinence on leaving detoxification and treatment services.
The Recovery Peer-Mentoring pilot project, funded by Devon Drug and Alcohol Team (DAAT), builds on the successful¹ work of SoberLink and sees the inclusion of an equivalent service for problematic drug users for the first time across Exeter, East, South, North and Mid Devon (not Torbay or Plymouth). The company is now being renamed RecoveryLink to reflect this broader remit.
Like the directors who formed the organisation and the project staff, RecoveryLink’s voluntary mentors are in long-term recovery from alcohol or drug addiction themselves.
On leaving treatment, clients are assigned a recovery mentor who shares their experience and explains what they did to stay clean or sober in the challenging early days of recovery. Support is provided through a mix of one-to-one meetings and telephone and electronic contact, and mentors also encourage clients to get know others in recovery by taking them to self-help and mutual-aid groups such as Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous.
RecoveryLink is also due to run a series of Recovery Coaching courses designed to help people build on and maintain the gains made in early recovery.
One of the biggest challenges for many in early recovery from addiction is to fill the void left by drink or drugs and start rebuilding self-confidence and a sense of purpose in their lives.
RecoveryLink has teamed up with Exeter CVS to provide access to a wide range of opportunities for both its clients and volunteers across the county, including leisure activities, programmes aimed at improving mental and physical health and wellbeing, volunteering opportunities and access to training and courses for those looking to start or return to employment.
RecoveryLink is also extending its successful partnership with Shilhay Community, which run abstinence-based sheltered housing projects in Exeter. As well as continuing to provide mentoring to Shilhay residents, RecoveryLink will be able to call on the organisation’s resources and experience in housing and other practical forms of support that help clients get back on track.
Dr Virginia Pearson, director of public health for the NHS in Devon, said: “The Devon Drug and Alcohol Action Team partnership is delighted to be working with Recoverylink to develop this service that will help more people in Devon maintain their recovery from destructive, addictive behaviours.
“Developing positive relationships with people who have been through very similar experiences is well evidenced to support recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. This service will help people coming out of treatment to maintain abstinence by developing social networks that help people to see that they are not losing something by giving up drink or drugs, but instead are gaining control over the rest of their lives.
“The service provides invaluable support for people as they leave treatment services and it is well recognised that helping other people, for example as a peer mentor, improves self-esteem and will strengthen their own recovery. This will have a cumulative effect and spread recovery from drug and alcohol addiction as more people graduate from using the service to becoming peer mentors themselves.”
RecoveryLink director Tom Gard added: “As SoberLink we have consistently campaigned for and promoted the benefits of recovery and abstinence, not just to the individual but to their families, the wider community, the NHS and the taxpayer.
“We are delighted to be given the opportunity to carry forward this pilot as RecoveryLink. As an organisation run by and made up of people in long-term recovery we believe we are well equipped to deliver it.
“The commitment and enthusiasm of our voluntary mentors never ceases to amaze us. Through them we tap into a common desire among those who have faced up to the challenges of addiction and come out the other side to help others at the beginning of their recovery journeys.
“Our mentors are living, breathing examples of the fact that recovery is not only entirely possible but also, with the support of others in recovery, that life without a drink or drug is anything but boring and gloomy, quite the opposite.”
RecoveryLink would like to hear from anyone in recovery with a minimum of one year’s continuous abstinence who might be interested in joining their highly motivated and friendly team of voluntary mentors.
Full training and mentor support is provided, and volunteers will also be offered access to a full range of leisure activities, other volunteering opportunities, training and vocational courses.
More information about volunteering with RecoveryLink is available from www.soberlink.co.uk, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01392 256907.
***Notes to editors:
¹ An independent social and economic evaluation of SoberLink CIC’s Recovery Mentoring programme conducted by Bristol University concluded:
- That for every £1 invested in SoberLink there was a return on investment of £4.03
- Those who completed the Recovery Mentoring Programme reported 84% and 81% improvement in mental and physical health respectively, and a 88% improvement in family relationships
- As well as the clients, other identified beneficiaries of the successful engagement with SoberLink were the volunteers, carers and family members, health professionals and Local Communities
For a press enquiries please contact Tom Gard on 01392 256907/07906 759881, e-mail email@example.com or via Twitter @SoberLink11.