I spent last week training as a volunteer Recovery Coach for my local drugs and alcohol service. The same service I picked up the phone to and asked for help, almost 14 months ago. Walking into the building to start my training brought back some very strong memories. The first time I visited I was broken. I felt so ashamed of having let myself get into such a mess. I was frightened I would be turned away because I didn’t look like an alcoholic – or what I thought an alcoholic should look like. I was scared I would bump into someone I knew outside and wouldn’t be able to go in for fear of letting my dirty little secret out. I was terrified FULL STOP.
But I did it that time and did it again last Monday and both times it was OK. And each day it felt better so that by the end of the week it had started to feel good. This week I am really looking forward to my next visit.
The training was fantastic. The people – a small group of seven plus the tutor – were great. We have all had problems with drugs, alcohol or both in the past and we each have least 6 months abstinent. The positivity and passion on the room was amazing and the sense of empowerment, like nothing I have ever experienced before. Clichéd as it may sound, it felt like coming home.
The volunteering starts this week. I can’t wait. I have so much I want to do. We have agreed that my focus will be on supporting people who are working which means that they are unable to access the support groups and one to one coaching which tend to take place during the day. This was one of the things which made my recovery journey so very lonely. I couldn’t easily pop out in my lunch hour to go to a group or meet my recovery coach. I’m not sure what my boss would have said if I had told her “I’m just off to a AA/SMART Recovery/Sober Yoga – see you later !!”
So now I feel I can start to make a difference and that feels good.
On the last day of training we were told that if we wanted it to, the volunteering could eventually turn into paid employment. It hadn’t occurred to me that that would even be a possibility but over the weekend the idea has been turning over in my mind. I know that the pay would be substantially less that my current job but the more I think about it, the more I believe I could manage that. I have always believed I have to stay in my current job because there is nothing else I can do. Now I can see that there are all kinds of possibilities open to me. Possibilities which have come about because I am an alcoholic. Who’d have thought that addiction could actually open up new pathways which didn’t even exist before ? I have always said that everything happens for a reason. Perhaps that reason is now.