Drink and Drugs News DDN March 2019 - Page 17

Reports, pictures and videos: www.drinkanddrugsnews.com ‘We’d like to tell you about what’s happening about service user involvement in Wales – absolutely nothing. Being a recovery champion is not service user involvement.’ Rondine Molinaro, Kaleidoscope Project of losing his father figure. But I made a commitment on the day of his funeral that his life wouldn’t be in vain and that I’d turn my pain into purpose.’ It took some years to work out how, but she took a leadership course and went on to develop the Brink in Liverpool – the UK’s first recovery bar – and set up the country’s first recovery choir, the Raucous Caucus Recovery Chorus. She also developed Sharp Liverpool, which was the first abstinence-based day centre in Merseyside, as well as the first candle-light vigil to remember people lost to addiction and the first UK recovery walk. Her most recent role had been at Tom Harrison House, the UK’s first addiction treatment centre exclusively for military veterans. ‘Along the way, I started to get recognition and won a series of awards. While it’s nice to be honoured, for me awards have to be about the leverage of the project.’ As she moved on she began to have a ‘real understanding of “what else is there? How come I need to look back to change the future?” Not to camp out in the past and be miserable, but to understand what happened there, and how come it’s still driving things today.’ Einstein had once been asked what was the most important question, she said, and his answer was whether the universe was a friendly place. ‘It’s all based on how you see the world,’ she told delegates. ‘If Mother Teresa and Charles Manson were in here they’d have a different perspective of what’s going on. For me, regardless of what my life has looked like, I have a choice and I want the universe to be a friendly place. I don’t want to be working in organisations that are always fearful and worrying where the money’s coming from – I don’t want that any more.’ Everyone was born ‘hardwired for connection’, she said. ‘When a child feels connection is being cut from them, they get scared. Everybody has something that’s happened to them that’s caused something painful – there’s no league table of traumas, it’s about the impact it has on you.’ An ‘SOS’ arose from early trauma, she said – ‘suspicion of self’. Pain led people to ‘never want to feel that again’, and develop strategies to move on. ‘The subject of this conference is moving on, but now I want to do that in a healthy way. So many workers in the system have never even paid attention to their own pain, so they’re bringing that in and projecting their own stuff onto people who come into a service.’ www.drinkanddrugsnews.com ‘When a child feels connection is being cut from them, they get scared. everybody has something that’s happened to them that’s caused something painful – there’s no league table of traumas, it’s about the impact it has on you.’ People would ‘hide, pretend, and defend’, she said. ‘We don’t even know sometimes that these strategies are masks. For me, the good news is the way out of getting out of being stuck in your own patterns is through reaching your own vulnerability. Those other strategies won’t work out – the vulnerability will always be kinder and more gentle with people. It’s difficult, because we’re frightened that we’ll be taken advantage of, but I want to be emotionally responsible.’ The art of vulnerable communication meant reflecting on feelings, she said. JACquIe JoHNStoN ‘Tell your truth but stay curious – your perceptions may be different but maybe you can find some common ground. Be accountable for your behaviour, and be transparent. Three words allow me to focus on who I am – love, leadership and legacy. So in everything, I ask myself is this the best I can do?’ Her new role was with Vitality Homes, she said, developing a 17-bed recovery living community with ten move-on flats. ‘There’s loads of opposition. All the local residents are in uproar, so I have to remember “love, leadership and legacy”, otherwise I’ll revert to type and want to go in there and scrap with them. I correct the self-belief that I’m a dangerous liability. As you move forward, remember to look behind you. Discover your own story, and see how it plays out today.’ March 2019 | drinkanddrugsnews | 17