Each year, we send a letter to the Halifax Courier asking them to thank our communities for their support throughout the previous year. Here is a copy of the letter for 2018.
It’s the time of year that many of us reflect on the year passing, and look forward to what’s in store for the new year. It’s also a time that we at The Basement Recovery Project (TBRP) say thank you to all those who have helped us over the last 12 months to support people who are affected by the illness of addiction.
This year, we would like to share the thoughts of a person in recovery who, by expressing addiction and recovery so clearly and honestly, helps to reach out to people who may be struggling at this time, or throughout the year.
“I remember telling my ‘friends’ that I was going down to the Basement …… because I’d finally decided to face up to my addiction and do something about it.
They told me that I was wasting my time.
They’d been there themselves already and it didn’t work.
The people down there were just ‘full of ….’ because they hadn’t been able to ‘cure them’.
They’d given it their ‘best shot’ but still found themselves gravitating back to the canal bank, clutching a cheap, 3-litre bottle of Frosty Jack cider on a bitterly cold afternoon whilst everyone else was indoors sheltering from the rain.
I’m just thankful that I had enough of my sanity left intact for me to risk giving it a go, regardless of their best advice.
Walking through those doors into the Basement doesn’t guarantee you anything, but the help & guidance you receive from the people down there is your best chance of YOU getting YOURSELF out of the hole that YOU got YOURSELF into in the first place.
It’s not magic. Nobody can do it for you.
Sure, your peers can give you advance warning about some of the things you will come up against along the way and advise you about ways of dealing with situations and the inevitable feelings of guilt, shame, regret, cravings, sleepless nights & all the rest but YOU are still going to have to FEEL all those things for YOURSELF because, as much as your peers would like to, they can’t feel any of those things for you.
It’s like those people who buy ‘self-improvement’ books thinking that merely by buying the book and reading it, they are going to dramatically improve their lives.
A few months down the line, when nothing has changed for them, it’s the book’s fault.
The book was a waste of time and money and the author is a fraudster who got rich by selling his books to gullible people like you and me, right?
Well, actually no.
He didn’t get rich that way at all.
He got rich first and then decided to write a book telling you about how he did it.
Maybe, the book DOES work.
Maybe it’s just YOU who can’t make the book work for YOURSELF because YOU aren’t prepared to follow its advice to the degree necessary in order for it to start working for YOU.
At the end of the day, recovery from addiction is something that you simply can no longer afford to risk playing the blame game with anymore.
It’s not a game. It’s not a T.V. drama.
It’s not something to complain about like the bloody weather.
It’s life or death.
So, best make sure that the person you see in the mirror each morning knows that as well.”
This year we have been supported by Grayson Perry and Channel 4, who’s ‘Rites of Passage’ programme depicted a positive and hopeful portrayal of addiction and recovery – thank you for addressing stigma on mainstream TV and showing that Calderdale people care.
We can only keep the doors open to the possibilities of recovery through the generosity of the many people who support our projects, including the Christadelphians, Asda, Incredible Edible, Calderdale MBC, Borough Markets, Lidl, Tesco, Vanda, the Mission, Radio Aire, the local Rotary Clubs, the people from Rocket Rons and our friends from Lloyds and many many others.
Finally, we would like to thank everyone in Calderdale who has shown kindness to our communities in Calderdale and Kirklees and we wish you a peaceful and safe Christmas and New Year.
Michelle Foster, CEO, TBRP