IN THE ZOOM ROOM
Musician Nick Davis is a member of Humankind’s 5 WAYS to
Wellbeing: the Recovery Academy in Leeds. Here he tells how
Zoom meetings have helped him stay connected
actually feel more supported
during the lockdown. I feel
I’ve got much closer to a lot of
people, even though we’ve not
met physically. We’re in touch
all the time and we’ve become really
good friends – not just people who
meet in meetings.
You can often go into normal
meetings and turn up, check in,
say your thing and leave straight
afterwards. Not hang about for a
coffee, not talk to anybody else. But
now people open up more because
they are sitting in their own home.
You almost feel like you’ve been
invited into each other’s homes, and
people talk more personally when
they’re in that situation.
In normal times, some people
find it difficult to get to meetings
because of transport issues. Some
can’t afford the buses, some have
anxiety issues getting on buses,
some can’t get out of bed. But it’s
great that to attend a meeting
now, you can roll out of bed, brush
your hair, press a button on your
computer and be there. I know a lot
that find Zoom far, far easier.
The thing that we always say
in recovery is it’s great to a have a
routine. Clearly during lockdown
our routines get thrown out of the
window, but these Zoom meetings
have given everybody a routine and
something to look forward to.
It became apparent that a lot
of people are relying very much on
these meetings. We know that in
recovery, weekends can be really
tough as people find they’re more
isolated. It came to a head when
a lady who comes in the Zooms
regularly was particularly down and
depressed one Saturday. She said –
and it nearly broke my heart – how
she just wanted to go and sit outside
5 WAYS even though it was closed,
because she’d feel better and closer
to us all.
And I thought, there’s no reason
why we can’t set up our own Zoom
groups among ourselves, because
we’ve all got to know each other
pretty well. Now, it’s a bit like when
you’re in rehab and you’re with the
same people all the time and you
get to know them inside out. So
we set up our own Zoom chats on
a weekend, just for a social chat. It’s
not endorsed by 5 WAYS or Forward
My typical week
Monday 2pm – a SMART meeting.
Tuesday 11am to 12.30pm – a quiz that two workers host and
that’s great fun as well.
Tuesday 2pm – another check-in meeting.
Wednesday 11am – a music therapy-type session. Two people
pick three particular songs that have helped either through
lockdown or their recovery or that mean something to them.
They talk about those songs, play them on YouTube on the split
screen, and then we discuss what they mean.
Wednesday 2pm – another check-in meeting.
Thursday morning – a recovery workshop, usually two hours.
Thursday 2pm – another check-in and chat for a couple of hours.
Friday 2pm – with the weekend coming up we do a mindfulness
session, just to chill out and get us ready for the weekend.
Leeds. It’s not an official thing, but I
did speak to our workers about it. I’m
not a trained counsellor or anything.
I’m just in recovery, like anyone else.
We get people together at the
weekend, and we talk about all sorts.
If people have got particular issues,
they can get things off their chest.
But we just have a natter as well and
it’s just like sitting in a coffee bar or
the lounge at 5 WAYS where you talk
about all sorts of rubbish. So, yeah,
with the Zoom meetings, I feel far
more connected and very, very lucky.
5 WAYS to Wellbeing: the
Recovery Academy is the centre in
Leeds for those now in recovery from
an alcohol or drug misuse issue.
22 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • JULY/AUGUST 2020