A month of events focusing on recovery from drug and alcohol addiction will take place in Sheffield from tomorrow.
The city is joining National Recovery Month, which brings thousands of people affected by substance abuse together every September.
A programme of activities have been organised to increase awareness and understanding, celebrate people who have recovered and spread the message that help is out there and recovery is possible.
Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for health and social care Councillor Cate McDonald said: “Recovery from addiction takes time, patience and support and there are many ways that people can get the help they need.
“We want people to know that there is support for people experiencing drug and alcohol issues in Sheffield and we have a strong recovery community.
“We don’t want people to suffer their problems alone so please get in touch if you’re worried about yourself or someone you know.
“There are lots of events and activities taking place throughout September to celebrate National Recovery Month. It will be a lot of fun as well as very informative and anyone is welcome.”
The month-long programme of recovery events starts with a launch event Sheffield Hallam University’s Hubs in Paternoster Row on from 4pm to 7pm today.
One of the highlight events is the Ride for Recovery around Derwent Dam on September 14, which more than 100 people attended last year. And the month culminates in a celebration event and award ceremony at the Town Hall on September 23, recognising people’s achievements and contributions to Sheffield’s recovery community.
For many who suffer with drug and alcohol addiction, recovery seems difficult or even impossible.
Former addict Alex Dickerson is now five years clean, but can remember a time when he had lost hope.
“I’d given up and just used to exist,” he said. “But now I have a purpose and it feels really good.”
Alex now works for Addaction, one of the UK’s leading and largest specialist drug, alcohol and mental health treatment charities based at Sidney Street in Sheffield city centre.
He started drinking and taking drugs at an early age and was using heroin and crack every few months at the age of 18. This continued for a few years when he became a more frequent user.
“I tried to sort myself out lots of times but it didn’t work out and I ended up homeless – living in shelters or sleeping on the street, shoplifting or borrowing money from family or friends to buy more drugs.”
Alex went through detox six times and spent two periods in rehab before finally getting clean and moving to Sheffield to study at Sheffield Hallam University, graduating with a first class honours degree in creative arts.
He said: “Getting better was sort of a process really that took a few years and I worked very hard at it.
“I never thought I’d end up going college and then to university, but I had amazing support. It all made me look at the world differently and appreciate things more. I enjoy getting up in the morning now I have something to live for instead of drugs.
“If I could say something to others out there who don’t think recovery is possible it would be to just keep trying, if you want it enough you will succeed. There is a range of support available but you have to find what works for you.”
Fore more on National Recovery Month or for advice and support visit www.sheffielddact.org.uk or call 0114 273 6851.
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