More recovery activities at:
The sixth annual
Recovery Games were
the biggest and best
yet, says Stuart Green
UPPING THEIR GAME
Ahead of September’s Recovery Month, people from
across Britain gathered to celebrate recovery at the
sixth annual Recovery Games in Doncaster last month.
The games are the brainchild of Aspire drug and alcohol
service, which is run in partnership with Rotherham
Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust
and The Drug and Alcohol Service (ADS).
These games celebrate the achievements, personal
journeys and overcoming of challenges faced by
people in recovery from a drug or alcohol problem.
They provide the opportunity for shared experiences
and making new friends and connections with
likeminded people who are in recovery themselves.
The games symbolise that recovery is possible with
the right support and inclusive recovery communities.
‘...this year saw a
push to attract more
spectators from the
This year the demand from across the UK to take
part exceeded all expectations, with 50 teams from
England, Scotland and Wales registering and
competing in a day of gladiator-style games and
16 | drinkanddrugsnews | September 2019
obstacle courses on the ground and in the water. Such
was the demand that registrations unfortunately had
to be closed early, but plans are afoot to make the
2020 Recovery Games even bigger and better. The rain
couldn’t dampen the energy and enthusiasm of the
competitors and spectators, with just short of 1,000
people attending on the day.
The Recovery Games represents a movement
towards inclusiveness, and this year saw a push to
attract more spectators from the general public.
Families with young children came along and
enjoyed the carnival atmosphere, and teams made
their own costumes or wore fancy dress to celebrate
comradery. This in turn contributed to the build-up of
excitement, creating a sense of equality by giving
service users, support groups and workers a shared
connection and purpose.
The Recovery Games is a mix of celebration,
excitement, inspiration and emotion. The minute’s
silence at the middle of the day was an opportunity
for everyone to show respect for the ‘fallen warriors’
who’ve lost their battle with addiction. This was
followed by the spectacular ‘festival of colours’ which
celebrated being alive – you can watch the film via
this link https://youtu.be/2FxPd6yhjL8
The overall winner this year was the ‘Greased
Lightning’ themed team from New Beginnings, a
Doncaster based rehab and detox unit run by Aspire.
The games were made possible by donations and the
proceeds from the sale of merchandise, especially the
much-admired t-shirts which have helped secure an
important step towards funding the 2020 games.
‘This year’s games were the biggest and best yet,
with the recovery community being stronger and
more vibrant than ever,’ said event organiser Neil
Firbank of Aspire. ‘The event is about letting people
know that recovery is alive and being nurtured in
many towns across the region and the UK. Thank you
to everyone who took part and supported this
Tim Young, chief executive of ADS, said the games
were a ‘great day of celebration. For the first time this
year the weather wasn’t kind to us and yet the rain did
nothing to dampen the magic of the event. If anything
this year has added ‘the year of the rain’ to the legend
of the Recovery Games in the same way Glastonbury
has its infamous ‘year of the mud’. A day of powerful
images and emotions, the games once again brought
people together to make new connections and
reinforce existing ones. The message it sends is clear
and loud – “recovery is possible, and fun!”’
Once again it was a fantastic day, exceeding all
expectations, with hundreds of people coming
together to celebrate and applaud those in recovery
from an addiction. The event has become a recognised
milestone in the recovery calendar. It sees people with
different addictions and health conditions come
together, connect, give and learn new skills, but most
importantly have fun without the need for substances.
Stuart Green is service manager at Aspire drug and