This week, we joined thousands of organisations across the UK to mark Alcohol Awareness Week.
It’s been an opportunity to talk about alcohol harm within our community and take stock of where people are in their relationship with alcohol. Throughout the week we held a number of activities in Tower Hamlets to increase awareness and encourage an open discussion about substance misuse.
Treating alcohol misuse is core to our work. We manage the Reset Outreach and Referral Service, which is funded by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets Council. It's a free and integrated service providing drug and alcohol treatment to Tower Hamlets residents aged 18 or over.
From our resource centre in Aldgate East where we work with people affected by homelessness, we see daily the detrimental footprint of alcohol misuse. Tragically, homelessness and addiction go hand in hand.
The majority of our clients have had extremely difficult, painful pasts. Many have been let down all their lives. Traumatic childhood experiences such as abuse and neglect are commonplace in their life histories.
Many of our clients note that drink takes the edge off the memories, particularly childhood trauma. Alcohol becomes a coping mechanism. When things get really bad with their mental health, they tell us, they need something which can block the trauma out.
Our clients don’t like the things they do when they drink, but don’t have any other means to deal with their pain and agony. When it’s freezing cold outside, they also turn to drink to keep warm.
Our aim at Providence Row is to be there for them during those very difficult moments and assist them in moving towards a substance-free life. This includes being free from drugs or alcohol and building an understanding of their addiction and also boosting their self-esteem.
Our focus is always on recovery from addiction and working with individuals to develop the resilience to cope with circumstances that would have previously resulted in a problematic drinking episode. In all of our work we try to see the person, not the problems.
We look at all the things our clients can do, not what they can’t. We help them believe that they can overcome their alcohol misuse and we walk with them as they lead their own transformation.