I’m really grateful that I was given the opportunity to be part of a wonderful and educational weekend – attending a mutual aid convention in London. It was great to be around like-minded people – many living their clean journey and others wanting and working towards that.
We had quite an amusing journey to London. I think we might have been the loudest people on the train. We were laughing, joking and playing cards all the way there. Someone joked that we were probably ‘the cleanest’ on the train as well! Just goes to show that you don’t need a substance to have fun!
I was rather excited when we arrived. We got our room keys and passes for the convention. We had planned to first go and do a little sight-seeing. I was particularly looking forward to this as this was my first time in London!
So off we went and saw The London Eye, Downing Street, Buckingham Palace and even the changing of the guard. One of our group was not convinced that the Queens Guard were ‘real’ – sometimes we all need a little convincing and take our time to trust something! It was all quite light hearted and lead to some funny conversations – recovery doesn’t mean life is over – it is quite the opposite! The people that I was with made all this even more enjoyable. I think I spent most of the day smiling and laughing.
The weekend away made me really realise that life is just beginning for me and already it has a lot more meaning and genuine happiness!
On Sunday, we spent more time at the convention itself. I went to quite a few different meetings and got different things from each. One that really stuck out for me was on the topic of illness in Recovery. I think I found it particularly interesting as I have Epilepsy myself. Some of the stories were quite upsetting, but it gave my strength knowing that people all over the world suffer from far worse illness and still manage to keep up their recovery and enjoy life. It was good to hear and made me more aware of the fact that I am not alone. Someone suggested that it would be useful to set up a meeting in our region for people in recovery who suffer from disabilities and illnesses – I think this is a great idea!
I think my favourite part of the convention was the closing share. We had a live link up to a prison – where inmates read out the cards. They also had a big clean time countdown at the end. There were people, not just from Great Britain, but all over the world. Hundreds of people celebrating, giving and sharing the hope of living clean.
At the end, we went outside and saw that a well-known celebrity was there! He seemed very friendly and seemed happy to have selfies with people! I remember watching him on TV a few years ago when he called a war on drugs. He got a lot of bad press because of his addiction. I think that for a celebrity to get out of that addiction, especially when all in the media, it just goes to show that it can be done! Life is not over because you get clean! It seemed that he was just as grateful to be there as every other single person at the convention.
It’s not easy getting clean and staying and living clean. It takes time, effort, work and support – but these things are there if people want them!
On the way home, we weren’t the loudest (except for those snoring – mentioning no names!) we were all tired, but happy, after a great, loud and fun weekend.