March 2017 DDN March 2017 DDN Magazine - Page 19

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My doris day

Mark Reid , was among the many delegates to brave a battle with Storm Doris

DDN would like to say A HUGE THANK YOU ...

to everyone who supported the DDN One Life conference : Our sponsors the ‘ I ’ m Worth …’ campaign , Martindale Pharma , Public Health England . Our speakers : Chris Robin , Annette Dale- Perera , Paul Hayes , Mark Fitzgerald , Dee Cunniffe , Tim Sampey , Alex Boyt . Our roundtable participants from Notaro Homes , Re- Solv , NAG , CGL , Changes UK , Aquarius ’ Shanti Project , B3 , Choices UK , Cocaine Anonymous , INPUD , LJWG , Red Rose Recovery , Paula Hall Associates . Naloxone trainer Philippe Bonnet ; therapists Lois and Sam from Earthereal of Yorkshire ; exhibitors and service user groups ; our conference programme steering group ; Paolo Sedazzari at Brand New Films ; Nigel Brunsdon for extra photos ; Dominic at simplyphotobooths . co . uk ; and our indispensable volunteers and helpers : Lee Collingham , Kevin Flemen , Carole Sharma ; Coventry Recovery Partnership – Simon Morgan , Bess Curtis , Adrian Hales , Adrian Mason , Sian Hails , Karoliina Wallace , David Ayriss , Louise Morley , Dave Smith , Mark Parrott , Steve Behal , Indy Thandy ; everyone at the Changes UK Recovery Academy ; The New Bingley Hall ; and our tremendous delegates who braved Storm Doris to come from far and wide .


‘ I LIKE IT WHEN IT GOES FAST ’ a little boy told his mum as the train to Birmingham slowed down again . The tannoy spluttered into life and the guard began to use the word ‘ adverse ’ a lot . Passengers went into the default mantra about Britain so easily grinding to a standstill . This time the caution was entirely called for . As the taxi took me from New Street station to the DDN venue , it seemed to levitate as we changed lanes . By the time we tucked into the excellent conference curry lunch , people were sharing news alerts about the tragic death of a woman hit by flying debris , down the road in Wolverhampton .
For now I distracted myself fully in the DDN line-up of speakers and debates . The streets of stalls were packed with expertise . Thanks especially to East Coast Recovery , Liver4Life and ACT Peer Recovery for the great conversations . Just for a while I didn ’ t think about the journey back .
I caught a bus to return to the city centre . There were weather diversions . The driver kept getting off to get directions from colleagues queuing ahead . ‘ I don ’ t know where I ’ m going ’, he announced when he came back .
He did get us near New Street , where the gravity of the situation was stark : blank faces stared at blank screens . For the first time in my life I heard the announcement ‘ Come back tomorrow if you can ’. There was a solitary route showing . I felt proud of that plucky little train to Walsall .
So began our mass route march to the next option : the National Express coach station , 15 minutes away . There were no coaches for anywhere near where I live . London was equally off the menu . A cry went up : ‘ Everyone for Leicester , over here ’. For a few seconds , herd instinct kicked in and I nearly joined the line . Anywhere will do . It was then I first saw flickers of panic in people ’ s eyes and heard a plaintive ‘ I just want to go home ’, from someone acting as everyone ’ s spokesperson .
Onto my next big idea – the nearest Travelodge . It was either that or a taxi fare in three figures . The hotel was just a few minutes away . Brief elation – but it was full . ‘ There were 13 rooms left not long ago ’ the man at the desk mused . Thanks for that . ‘ Where ’ s the next one , please ?’ ‘ The other side of the Bull Ring ’. ‘ Can you check there for me ?’ He couldn ’ t and I was rapidly taking a panicky dislike to him . ‘ But I can give you the number for central reservations ’. Suddenly I loved him . I asked the lady on the bookings phone , ‘ Can you just work outwards from central Birmingham ?’ I imagined her warm and cosy office , everything calm .
They found me a room . I ’ ve never felt more satisfied reading out my long card number . You ’ d think I ’ d cracked the Enigma Code .
Mark Reid is a peer worker at Path to Recovery
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