Archive November 2020
Butterflies parental group is now online every Wednesday from 1pm – 2pm. Here are the upcoming topics for the next sessions up until January;
25/11/2020 We will be joined by and Assistant Psychologist at Health in Mind to talk about the support services they can offer including 1:1 perinatal service, post birth recovery and open arms groups. The Open Arms group is for mothers and fathers who have experienced postnatal anxiety and/or depression. The Post Birth Recovery group is for mothers and fathers who have experienced a traumatic birth.
2/12/2020 Blow your own trumpet: When we are feeling low it is important to remind ourselves of all the positive qualities you have and things you can do.
9/12/2020 Happy scents: Discussion into how smells can boost mood. Many emotions are triggered by smell.
We could be more likely to remember something we smell over something we see, hear or touch. Being exposed to pleasant scents can improve mood.
16/12/2020 Support network: Identifying a support network. Where we can or do seek support from others. Identify gaps in support networks and how these can be filled. Identify which relationships offer which type of support.
23/12/2020 Christmas celebration: Join us in wishing you all a happy Christmas with a virtual quiz and bingo.
6/01/2021 Happy new year: Reintroduction to discuss wellbeing following the Christmas break.
13/01/2021 Butterflies service user forum: This session is designed for all to have a say about the group, provide any feedback and any suggestions.
If you’re a service user and are interested in attending the Butterflies online group please contact your service coordinator for more information.
To close Alcohol Awareness Week we’ve been speaking to one of our volunteers and previous service user, Brian, who has kindly shared his story about his alcohol recovery.
We understand it can be hard for people to share their recovery with us and that is why we’re very grateful for any volunteers and service users who are comfortable sharing their story. Brian said, “If one person reads this and it helps then I don’t mind sharing.”
Everything got put to 1 side, alcohol took over my life. Out of my 42 yrs of marriage, I probably had Christmas dinner about 5 times as I was always too drunk to eat. I wasn’t spending any quality time with my family as all I thought about was alcohol, it made me selfish.
Thinking about Recovery
I knew if I didn’t stop drinking I was going to kill myself or someone else and 1 day it came close to myself killing someone else while I was driving and that’s when I knew enough was enough. I went to my doctor and admitted I had a drink problem. After I told the doctor I thought well what now who is going to want to help an alcoholic.
Start of my Recovery
I went along to a group meeting that was being run by the local alcohol treatment provider at the time to look at reducing my alcohol intake. I remember thinking I’m going to get nothing from this, I’m just going to be sitting there with other drunks but I persevered with it and gradually reduced my drinking and eventually went to detox then community rehab. In the mix of all this, I met Lisa from Essex SAMS now known as Futures in Mind and they put me onto one of their group activities at the Essex Wildlife Trust where I met others and built up peer support and completed 1 of the modules for the John Muir Conservation Award.
As I moved forward in my recovery I made the decision to become a volunteer so I could support others how I was supported. I completed the peer mentoring training with Futures in Mind and now support others to be able to move forward with their own recovery while always working on my own recovery. I always thought of myself as not being very academic but since being with Futures in Mind I have done numerous courses like Mental Health first aid, Level 2 Health and Social Care and numerous others. They put me in touch with other organisations like the ACL and I have completed numerous courses through them. I now realise how much I enjoy learning and have surprised myself at how much I did actually know.
Since being in Recovery I’m now a completely different person and life is worth living. I get enjoyment from life rather than being in a comatose state all the time, living in the real world.
Over the last couple of months, I have suffered a decline in my mental health where I didn’t want to get out of bed, didn’t dress and didn’t eat and I have to admit having a drink crossed my mind then I thought about it more and realised I had come too far in my life and recovery to go back to how I was when I was drinking, as I know I couldn’t just have one drink. I reached out for support from my family, GP and Futures in Mind and I am happy to say I’m feeling much better and starting to get back to myself.
I just want to say to whoever is reading this Recovery is possible and worth it.
Back in September 2015, my life was to be changed for the better, as I realised alcohol was not the be-all and end-all to everything. I lost a lot of friends and acquittances along the way and couldn’t see further than the bottom of the bottle and where my next bottle was coming from. I ended up in hospital loads of times, was put in a bed if available or a chair to detox then got sent home at two or three in the morning with no other way than to get a taxi. It was at this point the hospital informed me I was running out of nine lives and fast, if I carried on it would be the end of me.
It was then I turned to Open Road for help who put me in touch with Synergy and engaged with a relapse prevention course once a week, this helped for a while but eventually, everyday things would trigger me off and I would turn back to drink until I realised they were there to help me. I then went onto a structured 12-week course, breaking the cycle and one to one counseling once I finished this course I moved onto a company called Foundation 66 (now known as, Futures in Mind) and enrolled into an Aspire programme three days a week based in Wickford (now known as the rehab centre SHARP). This course lasted three months and part of this course was to engage in a community project group decided on a recovery café which was to be the first in Essex and this is still going on today with Futures in Mind.
I then moved on to a mentoring course with Foundation 66 (Futures in Mind) this is a recognised course and I gained an NVQ Level 2, this course is to try to help and pass on knowledge to others in recovery, once I had completed this training I then took on service users (clients) on a one to one basics and support them, I also attend a drop-in service to sign post people in recovery to the various services Futures in Mind have an how we could help them I then ventured into groups and engaged with the Essex Wildlife Trust and conservation projects and then became a leading role member to the team within Futures in Mind to help them the way they helped me into recovery and staying clean.
Would you like to become part of something special? Support people in recovery and be part of their success story.
Jim Sykes, our Recovery through Nature coordinator has written a few words below on why you should become a Recovery through Nature volunteer for Futures in Mind.
Hi, I’m Jim Sykes and I’m a committed Recovery Through Nature (RtN) coordinator!
I’m currently employed by Futures in Mind but prior to this, I was a volunteer within the same environment. So WHY Recovery through Nature?
Well for me, from the moment I first started I realised that I’d found an environment that made me feel welcome and part of something really special.
Secondly, (but not second place) I found myself in the privileged position of supporting some of the bravest people I have ever met. People dealing on a daily basis with life-changing episodes, who have a common aim to achieve or maintain recovery from addiction or complex mental health issues.
The environment for me to achieve this was (and still is) provided by Futures in Mind and the organisation that supports them Phoenix Futures. This organisation does something unique in my experience in that it promises its support to service users and keeps to those promises. The management will encourage anyone with an idea that will help service users to make it real.
I am involved with all of the RtN activities throughout Futures in Mind. Some of these I have initiated from scratch with the mentioned support. As part of this, I have seen many success stories develop as well as some disappointments, but I would add that some of these disappointments have led ultimately to success in the end. On the way I have been able to learn a lot about myself and that it isn’t all that difficult to take a bit of time to help someone who may be struggling.
A little bit of input at a critical moment can have life-changing results!
If you’re thinking of volunteering in this environment DON’T take my word for it, make contact and we will arrange an informal visit to one of our projects, or if you prefer, a walk around one of our sites. If you take the latter option, however, you miss out on the best bit – meeting our fantastic service users!
I hope to meet you soon – Jim.
If you know someone who would be perfect for this role, please share this blog post with them!
Click here to apply to become a Recovery through Nature volunteer.
Are you looking to give your time to a meaningful and helpful service?
Do you want to be part of someone’s success in starting and continuing their recovery?
Would you like to learn more about yourself and take time out of your day to help others?
At Futures in Mind, we’re looking for volunteer support across Essex to ensure the effective and successful delivery of recovery to our service users. If you’re interested in conservation initiatives, becoming a volunteer driver, a student looking to volunteer or you would like to become one of our Befrienders, please follow the link below to apply for our available volunteer placements.
We look forward to working with you!
Apply to volunteer here.