September has marked Recovery Month, which aims to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and celebrate the people who recover. 

To mark the end of the month, we spoke to Diane Moore, a volunteer, who has started a new support group, Moving On, which is part of SAMAS in Bedfordshire, to help people through their recovery.

The retired teacher has designed six sessions on building confidence and self-esteem through structured tasks and exercises where they share their responses in a safe and supportive environment. The group has already asked to attend any further sessions! Great work Diane.

Here she tells us of her love for volunteering with CLI and her work to support people through their recovery.

 “I have been a mentor with CLI for nearly a year and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me.

“We all need support in our lives in order to make positive changes and move on. I am a retired teacher, who now has the time and energy to form a supportive relationship with someone with whom CLI would think I am a good match.

“I meet my mentee generally once a week for ‘coffee and a chat’ and we discuss her present life and her future. I am in awe with what this woman has had to endure in her life. Now, hopefully with caring and genuine support, she is starting to look at herself as a ‘survivor’ rather than as a ‘victim’.

“My aim is to encourage her to make good choices for the future and help her to create a happier life for herself and consequently for her family. Most days I text her. It takes very little time or money on my part but it lets her know that someone is thinking of her. Sometimes it’s just something as simple as, ‘Hope you’re enjoying the sunshine today’.

“During our chats, it emerges what her goals need to be for the following week and I encourage her to write them down. This ensures that the emphasis is always on her ‘moving-on’ and her personal growth rather than just a chat. CLI paid for me to attend ‘The Freedom Project Information Day’ for abused women held at the Women’s Centre. I was able to pass this information on to my mentée and, although at first she was reluctant to join the 11 week course, it has helped her immensely. With this group experience she has flourished and now attends CLI groups and is an active member.

“I believe my main purpose is to actively listen most of the time but I additionally steer her away from spiralling into ‘victim mode’. This is where weekly and long term goals are important. My mentée has been taking methadone for 30 years and thanks to the support of CLI is now committed to coming off her drugs. Eventually, when she is completely free of medication, she wants to become, herself, a mentor. So she has a goal for the future.

“I really believe in CLI, it’s ethos and its heartfelt intentions. To harness people’s time, energy, and their innate humanity is so worthwhile and fulfilling. It benefits all of society and supports overstretched services in the community.”

If you want to find out more about becoming a volunteer, click here.

For more information about the Moving On group contact Bev at beverley.copestake@communityled.org.uk

PHOTO: Diane is pictured centre.