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The best-kept recovery secret in Scotland – Kuladharini guest blog

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KuladhariniLet’s brief you on one of the best kept secrets in Scotland. There is a new world being created that is gathering momentum and getting bolder and cheekier. You won’t have read about it in the mainstream press, seen it on the TV or heard from us at a work conference that you had to pay to go to.

Scotland has a thriving and exponentially growing recovery from addiction movement. Its been growing undercover for the last 2 or 3 years, gathering in greater numbers and breaking out in areas once only thought of as ravaged by poverty and addiction.

Places like Parkhead where over 300 people gathered on one Wednesday this April to launch a new weekly community recovery café. Places like Aberdeen where local recovery activists have set up a recovery hub. Like Hamilton where the Blameless Recovery led charity with 1000 members organises events for hundreds of families affected by addiction on holidays and weekends. Edinburgh already has the first 7-days-of-the-week recovery social enterprise café in “Serenity Café” just off the Royal Mile. In Greenock, best known for shipyard closures and drug deaths, here too recovery grows; Inverclyde Recovery Café is now open 2 days a week and has a monthly Saturday brunch.

I recently counted more than 20 recovery cafés placed all over Scotland. There are even 2 in prisons (HMP Greenock and Perth) and more open up all the time. Paisley is just about to get its first “Sunshine” café and South Ayrshire its second as the long running Café Hope develops in other areas. There are many Recovery Arts, theatre and music groups with names like Sweet For Addicts, Sound Inner space, ARIA, The Lonely Hearts Club Band. There are recovery cycling groups, men’s groups, many more women’s groups, exercise groups and even an Urban Recovery Ninjas group.

Global Business NetworkNew forms of recovery mutual aid are growing and happily co-existing along side the well established, respected and much-loved 12 step and SMART recovery mutual aid fellowships. There is an All Recovery Share meeting at which anyone with any addiction shares their experience of recovery and a Sit and Share recovery meeting; where people use their meditation and ethical practice as a basis for building their recovery. New tools like ‘world style’ conversation café, once seen as strange and marginal, are now familiar as a great way for official systems of treatment to engage with more informal networks of recovery assets in the community.

In 2012 there were only 11 of these visible, independent recovery support groups in Scotland; in June 2014 we counted 72; led by people in recovery and friends of recovery for people in recovery and the communities they inhabit. In 2012, the chances of them knowing each other were slight. Now the 72 are building into a conscious national network as they lead the planning for this year’s Recovery Walk Scotland. Last year over 800 individuals took the Forth Road Bridge in the first ever Recovery Walk Scotland. This year we take to the capital’s streets – we have no idea how many people there will be.

It is just as Arundhati Roy, the author of the God of Small things, said:

“Another world is not only possible she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

In Scotland she is more than breathing, she is singing for joy! Join the movement…

 Kuladharini July 2014

[Next time I‘ll let you into the secret of how it might have happened and where and when the next recovery walk is in Edinburgh]

Kuladharini is the Chief Executive of the Scottish Recovery Consortium

    10 Responses to "The best-kept recovery secret in Scotland – Kuladharini guest blog"
    1. djmac says:

      In 2012 there were only 11 of these visible, independent recovery support groups in Scotland; in June 2014 we counted 72; led by people in recovery

      This is astonishing in only two years. I mapped a little bit of mutual aid growth recently and the result was pretty amazing.

      In Lothian there’s plenty of evidence of recovery activity – dynamic, organic, embedded in communities and driven, for the most part, by recovering people. What a thrill to hear it’s happening more widely across Scotland. Kind of knew it was going on, but it’s great to see it documented.

      The secret part of it is truly fascinating. If this was a political movement it would be in the news. I wonder if people in recovery are the only ones recording this remarkable history. Where are our academics and social commentators? Perhaps they are not needed.

    2. I love these posts in the blog. I just shared this one and the one on smoking on our facebook page, You Are Linked to Resources for Families of People with Substance Use Disorder and in the app for cell phones and tablets that has over 6,000 links that we have created. If there are other links we should put in, please send them to ncd86@u-recover.com.

      • djmac says:

        Thanks for the positive feedback. Delighted to be linked to your page and for others to get an opportunity to read (and hopefully comment on) the blog. I’ll certainly flag up any posts that might be of interest, or you can sign up for email alerts when new posts go up. I visited your Facebook page and it’s clearly a great recovery resource.

    3. Jo says:

      Hi KD ……looking lovely 🙂

      Its great to see the investment in recovery which Scotland have prioritised.

      It’s developing at such a fast rate. It’s a joy to hear about.

    4. David Ryan says:

      An inspiring example of the development and growth of Recovery in Scotland and a shining example to us all! Thank you

    5. Peter Sheath says:

      Well done K, I love you and everything you do. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone as inspiring and driven as you are, the light and energy you carry shines brightly in all the dark places.
      On behalf of all those kids who have got their mums and dads back, mums and dads who have rebound their kids and the hundreds of hungry ghosts who have found the light, thank you. May your light continue to shine bright

    6. leighton says:

      This group of friends help me get my life back now it’s our turn in fife to put our name on the map…keep on keeping on 🙂

    7. Viv Hamilton says:

      Amazing achievement. Great to see the social movement mobilising and influencing the current system in a positive way x
      a few seconds ago · Like

    8. angela scully says:

      hiya all,
      truelly inspirational report on the “Recovery Revolution” in Scotland. I live in Durham City, England, and I am buzzing with excitement while watching recovery erupt all around me. Gone are the days of the addict
      sitting at home, alone, scared stiff and rattling for days. As someone who has been in addiction for over 40yrs, feeling helpless, the Recovery Revolution has shown me numerous paths to recovery and an alternative way of living a balanced afterwards.
      This is an exciting time. Positive affirmations pop up all over the place, reminding and encouraging me and encouraging me. Mutual Aid, is what its all about. The days of rattling in the dark, are past.

    9. Keith McKenzie says:

      Kuladharini thank you. Kx

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