Kim's story

My journey started the day I walked thru the wellbeing hub around 6 years ago, the women that came thru those doors is not the women you see today. I was broken, desperate, embarrassed, ashamed, heartbroken and in a very dark place.

My poison was alcohol.

I had lost everything; my 2 children had gone to stay with their father as I had to drink around the clock to keep the withdrawals away and seizures. I lost my home, my job, family, friends I was alone. I remembered an old friend had once used the hub, so I thought I need help cannot do this anymore. I put my shame and embarrassment to one side and walked through the hub doors and did the dreaded assessment. I do not remember much about that day, only the receptionist gave me a big smile the first caring smile id seen in such a long time, she made me feel like someone actually cares and no judgement. I was given a keyworker Helen and what a job she had with me, she was patient, understanding, honest, I always knew where I stood, she made me feel and understand that I was not alone. At the time she was the only person I trusted.

I am sure at times she wanted to give up, but she saw something in me I could not see myself. After 2.5 years with Helen, 2 home detox's, 4 impatient detox's and many stays in hospital, the penny finally dropped, I knew I could never drink again. Helen asked me if I would be interested in the groups they ran in the academy, I was all for it anything to help me in my recovery. I signed up for relapse prevention, which gave me the tools I needed to stay abstinent. I attended emotional resilience which was my favourite group it helped me with my thoughts and feelings and how I could change and deal with them, this group gave me great support and a lot of confidence. I attended smart groups where I did not feel alone in this as I was with others going thru the same struggles, it was great to speak the truth about my addition without being judged.

The Academy become my safe space even to have a coffee and a chat when I was feeling low. 10 months sober there it was covid hit........ NO groups, NO coffee and chat, NO safe space. I had never felt so alone and vulnerable, I threw myself into work as a carer for a distraction, I became ill I had sepsis and covid and ended in a coma for 2 weeks and had to learn to walk again. 3 months later I relapsed 2 weeks of chaos all that hard work gone, I did a short stay in hospital, I remember all that I had learnt in my groups and put it into action, addition was not going to beat me. The hub had re opened and I was sent to clean slate I was so ashamed.

Emma became my keyworker she was great, no judgement at all, I told her I have always wanted to work in addition so after a lot of our appointments she took me down to the academy and they suggested the mentoring course. I knew this was for me, I was invited to an interview by Darren for the course and I was accepted such a massive confidence booster. I was starting to feel like Kim once again, I loved it, I knew this is what I want to be and do with my life. Id learnt so much on the course it gave me the skills I needed to become a good mentor. After graduating I nipped off had a baby, I had an email about connector roles coming up, I was umping and erring as my baby was only 12 weeks old. I thought no I can both this is what I want to do with my life. I went for the interview, and I showed everything I had learnt off the course, and I got the job in the RSDATT team- rough sleepers' drug alcohol treatment team and wow what a team, I was amazed by everyone and what they did, and I wanted to be part of them.

Being a connector gives me the opportunity to learn new skills and experience. The RSDATT team are an outreach team and so important, we support vulnerable people who are not even close to recovery, not even thinking about it, people in the hights of addition and chaos, for most they cannot even think or imagine their life without drugs or alcohol. RSDATT provide Maintenance to a service user with prescribing scripts, can be engaging with people who will not or cannot attend the hub as their life is so chaotic and never would see, to give harm reduction and try and keep them safe and well... alive, to sign post and work with other agencies to support the client in the best way possible.

In my role as a connector, it could be from supporting with medical appointment, other appointment, assisting with script, just listening building relationships and slowly chipping away at that brick wall they have built to protect themself so I can earn their trust and respect and show them we just want to help. Being a connector and in recovery lets me show an understanding by my lived experience and allowing me to tell them that I understand that emotion, their feelings, that thought process their having and help with a good understanding. I can help people build that picture of what recovery can look like if that is what they want. My team are always there offering me support in my work and wellbeing they are always encouraging me.

My work is also my recovery being a connector allows this. I'm so thankful to everyone in the academy who were there at the start of my journey but who are now watching me grow, encouraging me, giving me guidance, and supporting me in role and my recovery. Even now after a lot of hard work and me constantly letting everyone know how much I love my job to Maegen, Mark, Debbs my team leader that I really want to quit my job and work here fulltime as this is where I am meant to be, they made it happen for me. The academy gave me my life back the confidence to go for the life I want, to change areas of my life I was not happy with and still encourage me to grow. I am now nearly 2 years sober, I have my own home now, my children, better friends, and better relationships with my family, I even have a puppy to add to the mix. This is how the academy helped me they gave me the opportunity, confidence, tools, and skills to get where I am today so