BBC Look East ‘Recovery in Isolation’

Earlier this May CLI featured on BBC Look East news. The interview detailed what ‘Recovery in Isolation’ looks like for some. Lockdown has undoubtedly changed a lot for most of us, so how are those engaging with support services like ours coping?

In the report you hear from Mark (supported by CLI), Mags, (a Volunteer and Mentor for SAMAS) and finally Zoe (Recovery Community Development Coordinator for CLI). Find the full report on our socials @communityledintiatives. 

Live from our Living Rooms

Reporter, Sam Reed, carries out the interview on Zoom with the three. He was interested in what CLI are currently providing in these uncertain times, the challenges of supporting others during lockdown, as well as how those in recovery are getting through. 

Mark, having previously struggled with alcohol abuse, spoke confidently about his experience of recovery, and the ongoing support he receives from CLI. Although we always encourage people share their story and hope that it will make a difference to those listening, we also appreciate how difficult that can be and how that situation needs to be managed carefully. Many challenges can come with speaking publicly about personal experience, so CLI did their best to prep both Mark and Mags before going ahead. 

"My son said I was brave"

Mark was delicately guided through a process to ensure he was happy and comfortable. We wanted this to be a healthy step for him and something that was well thought through. 

So, there were quite a few angles I needed to go over in my own mind first in terms of what kind of impact what I have to say will have. The first and most important thing, were my sons, and then my Mum, brother and sisters. Secondly I considered that I may say the wrong thing at the wrong time and the possible negative effect it could have had on CLI. But the benefits, for both myself, and potentially anyone who could relate to my story kind of put the whole thing in perspective.

This opportunity was one way of giving back to the services I have used. That coupled with the fact I am no longer ashamed about what happened to me when I was younger. It wasn’t my fault, and what I have to say may help someone else going through something similar. Furthermore, as alcohol continues to drain resources and affecting families, employment and the NHS, I feel it will begin to become less socially acceptable to abuse drinking and thus encouraging people to get help.”  Mark, reflecting after the interview. 

Mark stated the only down-side to giving the interview was that certain aspects of what he said in the original discussion were not aired. With news reports being mostly limited to a couple of minutes, it is of course difficult to include all the key points made by those involved. 

Overall Mark seemed to feel it was all well worth it. 

“All in all I found it quite liberating, I’ve spent enough time hiding in shadows and the past. If anyone wants to judge me for it then that’s down to them.

The feedback I got from my family was consistent, their texts were word for word identical ‘I came across really well’, whilst one of my sons said I was brave and the other would have liked to have seen the whole interview.” Mark. 

Combining Home life with Volunteering

Mags, Volunteer for CLI, was next to speak on the report. Currently mentoring a handful of people throughout lockdown, Mags is familiar with the challenges of providing ongoing support in this unfamiliar time. Being a mother, currently homeschooling, and juggling her Volunteering whilst getting some quiet time for herself is proving tricky at times. Although, it doesn’t seem to stop her determination to support CLI and those within it. 

Also, like most about to partake in a news report, she did feel a bit nervous. 

“Doing the BBC interview was exciting for me, but I was also very nervous. I’m not keen on the sound of my own voice when it’s recorded and never allow it to be done. I felt I jumped another hurdle and fear that I had by doing this.

I also felt very proud of myself for being able to do it, and I gained some more self-worth from it all.” Mags. 

The bigger picture

Finally, we heard from Zoe (Recovery Community Development Coordinator). In the full discussion Zoe detailed what CLI are providing as a whole during the pandemic. With a selection of group-work, activities, 1-1 mentoring, well-being packs, resources and other bits and pieces, we aim to find the best means to help people cope. Unfortunately, this element of the chat wasn’t aired, however, Zoe did manage to speak about some of the challenges we’re currently facing with remote support. 

Mental Health issues are, and have always been, a factor for many in recovery. Being unsure about how people are presenting in this time can be difficult. Over the phone and virtual meetings are a substantial replacement to our face to face work, for now, but you absolutely won’t be getting the same insight you would in person with regards to someone’s well-being.  

“I found the interview extremely powerful, the audience heard it from all sides of the coin. It highlighted that issues like addiction and mental health don’t just go away because there is a bigger problem on our hands.. support is still in place and we’re doing our best to adapt.” Zoe.

Overall, it was great to see CLI feature on the news for a second time within a year. Ensuring that the progress and hard-work of our Volunteers, Staff and those that use our service is getting seen in the local area. All the time hoping to encourage others to #believeinchange.