Fulfilling Lives

Issue 6 of RecoveryTimes we featured an article by Danielle about making amends. We recently caught up with her and ask what she had been up to …

making-amends-blog-TBRPThe last time I wrote for RecoveryTimes (Issue6) I concentrated on making amends, the amends I had to make with the local curry house. For me it was also about giving back to the local community I had taken so much from over the years. Well that was about two years ago and in the succeeding two years I learnt that after all the amends I have made (and am constantly making) I needed to make amends to myself.

I needed to stop giving myself such a hard time and I needed to have some self-belief. I have always felt not quite good enough and this would often stop me from applying for jobs. It stopped me moving forward in life in general. I was 32 and I felt I was on the scrap heap. I felt I had ruined any chances of a “normal life”.

WI-FI-West-Yorkshire-Finding-Independence---Big-LotteryAfter a lot of love from my friends in the recovery community, my beautiful partner and my family I started to see that I did deserve to be happy and I did deserve to go for things in life. This new-found self-belief helped me put my all into volunteering for the West Yorkshire – Finding Independence (WI-FI) project. The project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Fulfilling Lives programme, aims to support people with multiple needs (someone with at least three of the following; homelessness, addiction, re-offending behaviour and mental ill health).

I started to find the direction I wanted to go in and jumped at the chance of a real job -Service User Involvement Coordinator but the old shitty committee in my head doubted me right up until the day I started. It is amazing that I could put all that work in and even after completing the application form and interview process AND getting the job offer, I still felt that the day I started they were going to say they had made a mistake.

Going from volunteer to worker is the hardest thing I have done in recovery. You go from someone every one congratulates for giving them your time to someone accountable and getting paid. It’s very scary. The thing that has helped me the most in my new working life is the management. I have had a look back on my first six months at work and I can’t believe how I behaved. I would work till 3am to prove I was as good as anyone else there. I have fab management from Becky and Heather, who have helped to shape me, without making me feel in the wrong. They have listened to my experiences and I have listened to theirs and together we make a good team as we are doing things from all different angles. I’ve learnt that a good worker can be dedicated and get everything done during the work hours. It doesn’t mean you care less; it is no good burning yourself out. You need the work/home life balance.

I can honestly say 18 months in I deserve my job and I am passionate about it. I feel part of the team. I can still have the old doubts but I really do think my team’s support has been amazing. I have learnt so much from them. I recently had a bit of a hard time with ‘normal’ life things and my work team were behind me 100%. My higher power chose my team for me and looking back over the last 3 years of my life in recovery everything does turn out alright. I am so glad I could finally see that I deserved to be happy and to aim higher than I previously thought I was worth.

Danielle x

Article featured in RecoveryTimes issue 9