Hope For A Better Community
“When a community of those who are encouraging, positive, and supportive surrounds a person in recovery, the person is much more likely to succeed.”
I often feel like the word “community” get’s mentioned a lot in places that don’t always feel like what I would describe as a community. I overthink and research a lot as well which led me to actually googling the word “community” which is defined as “a unified body of individuals: such as the people with common interests living in a particular area broadly”.
Now thinking about the word community let’s talk about recovery communities.
I want to share my credible, lived experience with you, I am sure a few great Recovery Communities exist in the UK, however, I was not able to find one when I needed one.
I remember after moving to England from Texas I told my mom “I didn’t realize how good I had it until I moved here”. See I had been in/out of recovery for years before I moved to England so I knew very much what was available for me back home. But here in England, this was a whole new ball game on a field I had never explored. Naturally, I googled, researched, and ventured out looking for support in places labeled “Recovery Communities”... What I learned was there are lots of places that consider themselves to be “Recovery Communities”.
This created confusion for me because to put it simply a Recovery Community is usually created by people in personal and/or family recovery in response to unmet needs in their communities and that is not what I found when I came to the UK.
I was looking for what I knew existed in the USA; what exactly is that?
I was looking for an intensive outpatient program. I was looking for long-term supportive sober living. I was looking for life skills, parenting and family support, domestic violence support, help to get an education and a career (not just a job.) I was looking for something to get involved in other than mutual aid meetings. The list goes on…
I was looking for a community that included both people in recovery and allies and friends of recovery.
How did that work out for me?
I’m still on the waiting list for domestic violence support (two and half years later). When seeking advice for looking for a job I was told I didn’t need one and to get on benefits… let’s just say it wasn’t what I was looking for. I was told I could attend a 12-week program if I went and drank or used again!
Now let me share some experiences of what I know and have seen a Recovery Community look like.
Inpatient/ Residential Treatment
Offered an array of pathways to recovery ranging from mutual aid to art, different forms of therapy, biosound, Equine, and more. They included family programs while supporting you on your next steps. You could stay for time variations based on your choice from 30, 60, to 90 days and more. Then when leaving you were given a recovery coach for the next 18 months!
IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program)
Is an opportunity to continue to attend programs for your recovery while integrating you back into society. IOP often consisted of 4 hrs so you could maintain a part-time job while working on your recovery. Also, IOP would help you develop other life skills, how to pay bills, write a resume, cook, be a parent the list goes on.
An opportunity to live in a safe environment that supports your recovery. Often you could stay in sober living as long as you want! I have a friend who lived in sober living the first two years of recovery and she didn’t want to leave!
Recovery Events & Activities!
Imagine opening a newspaper and there are pages full of recovery events, activities, and discounts from hiking to theatre, volleyball, concerts, fitness, the list goes on…
Family/ Life Programs
There’s literally support for everything. From building relationships, learning how to be a parent. How to get a job, support getting you that job! Help with housing, bills, parenting, and more.
I feel it’s so important to talk about this because this is REAL and there are MANY MORE! These are REAL examples of what a recovery community looks like in America.
And, we can create these communities in the UK too.