Hello again readers
So to keep you all updated have now been at Phoenix Residential the Wirral for 4 weeks now. So to this week’s events, the biggest eye opener for me is how my life has changed through my adventures through Phoenix Futures. Eight months ago I was lining up to give urine tests now I am the one who is administering the test. Also I had a big bunch of keys which emphasises trust. For someone with my nefarious past you can’t realise the implications this has on you as an individual. It is very pleasing and shows through time people will see and your faith in society and more importantly your self will be restored.
This week I have been helping with dynamics within the community- as just like a close family not everyone can get on with everyone all of the time! We have also had an influx of new residents. It was an uplifting experience when on Friday they announced to the residents who was going on what leg of the Voyage of Recovery. This is major sailing expeditions around Britain which was a major boost to everyone in the community.
The staff are starting to adjust to me personally and are now starting to point out areas for me to develop in the role. This has also been an eye opener but the one thing i have learned through my life is the adaptability you can learn to fit into your role. As going from a resident on a Therapeutic community inside prison to a volunteer in the community is a challenging one and I relish the challenge. This is some of the gifts I have learned over the last few years since my own recovery started. Well till next time take inspiration from yourself and share your love.
The following passage is from Social Work Student Ruth Emond who completed her 100 day placement at the residential Residential Service in the Wirral last Friday
When I found out I was going to be spending my six month Social Work placement at Phoenix Futures Wirral Residential I was excited but did not know what to expect. I did not have experience working with service users in addiction recovery as I had only worked with individuals who were living a chaotic lifestyle with addictions to drugs and alcohol either within a family support setting or with an outreach team working with homeless individuals. The individuals I had worked with in the past did not have the willingness, strength or support to eliminate drugs and alcohol from their lives and so I was eager to work with people who had found this inner-strength and decided to embark on a life-changing programme.
When I first visited the service, a recent graduate of the programme James showed me around and told me what Phoenix Futures was all about. As soon as I walked through the door everyone was so welcoming and I instantly felt at home. At that moment I knew this service gave so many individuals an opportunity to practice a more positive and fulfilling lifestyle and I knew it would open my eyes to the challenges of addiction recovery and show me how it is possible for individuals to make necessary changes to their lives. James’ story inspired me greatly and I could have stayed all day talking to him. He displayed such a passion for the programme and demonstrated a true knowledge of the TC model. After I left I was itching to get back to the house and get started!
In my first week of placement I shadowed all the different members of staff and spent my time getting to know the residents. I enjoyed talking to every member of the community and seeing the motivation and enthusiasm for change. In my second week of placement I completed the Therapeutic Community ‘Virtual Rehab’ training with other new staff members from different TCs around the UK. It was an emotional week that I will always remember. During this week we lived as ‘residents’ in order to learn about the models, methods and theories behind the TC and also to gain an understanding of what it felt like to be a resident in recovery. During a couple of the group sessions I talked to the community about my life and it felt wonderful knowing that I had the support of all my peers around me. I also spent time working on each of the departments which was tiring but satisfying. However it was here I received my first ‘pull-up’ for being late for a department check! This opened my eyes to how intense the programme structure is but also showed me how by sticking to the rules of the TC helps to aid change in all areas of an individual’s life (I definitely ensured I was not late again!). The training week was extremely rewarding, heart-warming and inspiring and from this I have gained a great support network with the other staff members involved in the training.
My whole time working with Phoenix Futures has been incredible. I have met the most inspirational, enthusiastic and hard-working individuals who will always have a place in my heart. I have been given so many opportunities to build upon my own professional skills such as attending an open day in HMP Kirkham prison, spending a day in HMP Styal prison, spending time working with Phoenix Community services, supporting clients with family arrangements and also visiting many different external services. However my most memorable moments would be during my time working with the service on a daily basis to support them in what could be the most worthwhile time of their lives. This placement has shown me how support and guidance from Phoenix Futures has enabled individuals to change their lives for the better and this has been a wonderful process to be a part of.
To all readers
Hello my name is Gareth Edwards and I am 39 years of age. My use of substances started at an early age roughly 12 experimenting with cannabis. My first use of what is termed as hard drugs was aged 14 years when I tried heroin. My past is no different from many a tale you will hear in this field. I ended up a serious addict to heroin and crack cocaine at the age of 19, but was already on a wrong course spending time in H.M.P for supplying. This was my life cycle for nigh on 15 years. My personal discovery of Therapeutic Communities occurred in 2006. Enrolling on one at H.M.P Garth in 2007, basically it changed my life and I could write a book on changes that occurred personally. It took another 5 years to secure my release and my personal journey. This is still ongoing and felt I would write a personal blog for anyone who is interested in following my personal journey.
So how are things today… I applied for a voluntary position at Phoenix Futures Wirral Residential Service. This was secured although through policies and procedures it took until last week June 11th for my position to begin. It took a while to start due to my past behaviours and hurdles but it is another tool I have learned through treatment; patience or not to have instant gratification as it is known in our communities!
So now my first week is completed and how could I explain the process, I love it! Personally it has given me a lot to focus on in my life. Having never had a job which is embarrassing to say also being selfish most of my adult life having learnt to work with a team and now actually doing this my self it is actually helping me flourish. The team here at Phoenix are great and have made me feel really welcome.
So to what I have been doing I have been coming to work here 3 days a week voluntarily and using my own experiences in supporting staff and residents. My first week I have found enlightening even though I have completed a T.C there are still a lot of issues I present personally. Being back in this environment has me concentrating on my own personal presentations and it has made me more self aware. This has become apparent through my facilitating groups and general demeanour through the community.
All I can say at present is I am thoroughly enjoying the process I assisted delivering 3 groups sessions to different residents. Have assisted in the floor running; have been enrolled in the C.C.F coursework which is highly relevant to working here. I have 1 more day and then I have finished my first 2 weeks.
I have just returned from taking the residents for a walk up Bidston Hill. The difference in the residents when they are out is great to see, you could see any tensions evaporate and we could all laugh and enjoy the walk. You can really see the residents deflate and start to open up and it is an experience in itself. All I will say is the first couple of weeks have been a learning curve for me and I am now becoming more aware of my surroundings; Peoples names staff and residents, the building, the programme, how each person deals with things, who I can learn from and develop. All I will say is it is an exciting time for me personally and will keep you all informed of how things progress.