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Tosh’s Story

This is a brief account of Tosh’s relationship with drugs. It’s frank and told in his own words.  Thank you, Tosh, for allowing us to share your story with the wider community and showing that a life without drugs is possible, even for those who never thought it was.

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been a bad kid. I know there was a time I was happy and normal but that was too long ago. I had an unhappy childhood, I was the second child of five. Dad was a pisshead. I’m really not sure of the why but being unhappy must have played its part…

Allen’s Story

image of Allen from The Basement Recovery Project

If you have been watching Grayson Perry’s ‘Rites of Passage’ on Channel 4, you may have seen Allen featured in episode 4 ‘Coming of Age’.  The programme didn’t have time to explore why people ended up at The Basement Recovery Project and focused on the celebration of recovery.  Allen’s account of his relationship with alcohol is raw, unedited and told in his own words. Thank you, Allen, for allowing us to share your story with the wider community.

Grayson Perry explores coming of age which starts with his visit to the Amazon where he witnesses the Tikuna people celebrate the transition of two girls to adulthood. Thankfully, we don’t do that here and he’s not suggesting we do, but he does think we can take something from it.  He’s even more convinced after talking to London teens and people in recovery at The Basement Project (who he describes as “kidults”) – older people who can’t take responsibility for themselves or their lives.  He sees both groups as reaching the end of one stage of their life and beginning another and wants to mark that in a celebration, something we don’t do enough of in recovery circles.

 

Fiona’s Story

If you have been watching Grayson Perry’s ‘Rites of Passage’ on Channel 4, you may have seen Fiona featured in episode 4 ‘Coming of Age’.

In this episode, Grayson explores coming of age which starts with his visit to the Amazon where he witnesses the Tikuna people celebrate the transition of two girls to adulthood. Thankfully, we don’t do that here and he’s not suggesting we do, but he does think we can take something from it.  He’s even more convinced after talking to London teens and people in recovery at The Basement Project (who he describes as “kidults”) – older people who can’t take responsibility for themselves or their lives.  He sees both groups as reaching the end of one stage of their life and beginning another and wants to mark that in a celebration, something we don’t do enough of in recovery circles.

Fiona’s story briefly touches on the struggles and consequences of addiction and you’ll see why we need to celebrate when we ‘come out the other side’.

 

Oh we do like to be beside the …

A Big, Big Thank you from us, David and Brenda for our enjoyable day trip to Whitby.

Despite the delays on our outbound journey, we had an amazing, non-eventful and fast journey home.

We cannot ever remember seeing as many people in a resort before, quite a contrast to our time there in January! The fact it was annual Regatta Day and the weather was good compensated.

Embarrassing to say negotiating the wall to wall people and the cobbles made us really recognise our ages, Darby and Joan! Our Boat Trip outside the Harbour was recorded on camera, thank you, Gina. Over lunchtime, we found a fishery recommended by Trip Advisor. Both of us voted they were the best fish and chips we’d eaten in years.

We cannot thank the Basement staff enough for the amazing help and the funding which gives such hope to those who have almost lost hope for recovery in Halifax, Huddersfield and Dewsbury, and for everything they have done and do for the families.

David & Brenda

David and Brenda on board with the Basement Recovery Project in Whitby

 

Slow the Flow – It’s not about drugs – but then again, it is.

Hi, I’m a volunteer/client with The Basement Recovery Project and have been for two months now.  When I first moved into Halifax and started getting help from TBRP, I was broken.  I was broken physically, emotionally and financially and I’d been a huge problem to my community for many years, sucking the life out of the system and services.

Going through the TBRP programme, something had “clicked”.  Something has changed this time. I no longer wanted to be a leech to society and wanted to give back.  I was quickly introduced to Kev, one of the Basement Recovery Builders and I have to say, what an inspiration he is.  We are now really good friends. Kev talked about volunteering with an organisation called Slow the Flow, which helps slow the waters of mother nature.  Last year, if you remember, many areas around Rochdale, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden etc suffered life-changing floods due to heavy rain. Their plan was to build fashionable but purposeful means to slow the flow of rainwater into the local drainage systems and came up with such a great idea (rain garden planters) that I wanted to help.

Me, Kev and two other friends went down and got stuck in. Following a few firsts, like working hard and working for free, I had the opportunity to meet the Mayor of Hebden Royd Town Council, Councillor Carol Stow who officially ‘opened’ the planters with a bit of a party and ceremony. It was the first time in my life that I had met a public figure not only for the right reasons, but to be recognised for all the hard work we did, as a team, together.

I explained what the idea was and how we quickly got down to business. I told Councillor Stow about the sense of pride and happiness felt by a man that, months earlier, couldn’t stop stealing and taking drugs to now being clean and doing stuff for nothing. Getting involved in a project like this not only helps to stop the rainwater, but it helps to stop the madness surrounding active addiction, it’s beyond priceless and I look forward to getting involved in more volunteering work.

Sincerely,

Joe D.

It is easy to feel complacent in this beautiful summer of hot, dry weather – but heavy rainfall now could easily result in surface water flooding, as hard, dry ground sheds water more easily to the drains. For inspiration on the many ways to help Slow The Flow in urban areas, please visit our ‘You Can Slow The Flow’ pages: http://slowtheflow.net/you-can-slow-the-flow/

Eleven local citizens ask for help after Russell Brand visit

A great afternoon was had by all when Russell Brand dropped in at our Huddersfield addiction recovery hub, Union Bank.

Russell and I come from the same town in Essex, so it was great to talk the Essex lingo with him over a cup of Yorkshire tea.

Russell was visibly blown away by our hub saying he could feel the positive energy when he first walked through the door.

He took the time to speak to all our regular ‘citizens seeking recovery’ and stopping for several dozen selfies.

I explained to Russell how challenging it had been for a small community-based organisation like TBRP to transmit hope to those that are struggling with addiction in an environment where national treatment providers have historically called all the shots.

Russell suggested we make a short video together and he promised to post it on all his social media forums and anywhere else that may help raise the profile of the tireless work TBRP are doing in the communities they support.

He also promised to send 10 copies of his new recovery book “Recovery – Freedom from our addictions” and offered as many tickets as we needed to attend his new stand up show Russell Brand Re:Birth currently touring the UK.

True to his word the books arrived, the video went viral and 20 of our guys and girls have seen his show in Leeds and London. Russell has contacted me several times since his visit expressing his genuine support of our cause, and I quote:

The Basement Project is providing precisely the support addicts of all varieties need; community, connection and opportunities to grow. We should all be proud to be a part of such an advanced and beneficial venture that generates hope for individuals, families and society as a whole.

Indeed, his visit has already instilled hope. The video we made was posted in the local paper, which again, was shared on social media. 11 local citizens struggling in the darkness of addiction have already contacted the project and are now taking steps towards the welcoming luminance of recovery prevalent in all our hubs.

For this Russell… we could never thank you enough.

GB and hope to see you soon x

Larry Eve,
Service Manager
The Basement Recovery Project
Huddersfield

If you live in Calderdale or Kirklees and have an addiction issue, contact us now and we may be able to help.

I’ve found an internal calmness I never had before

Our Yoga classes in Huddersfield have been a welcomed therapy for those who have given it a go.  Our tutor, Emily, gives us an insight into how it became a way of life for her.

My journey began on the Yoga mat, In 2008 during a very tough period in my life. I was in my second year of University feeling anxious and depressed, struggling to engage in social situations and I often felt afraid to leave my flat. Up until this point, I had been taking various drugs for about 3 years. This took its toll in a way that meant my ability to function in my day to day life became a real struggle. After I accidentally caused a flat fire and broke my wrist on a night out, I realized I needed to journey down a new path, one that would lead me to better mental and physical health.

I started to attend a yoga class, once a week, with a wonderful teacher called Edward. This Yoga class helped me deeply transform my life, I hold my teacher in great reverence, as he taught me so much. I can say to you in all sincerity, yoga and meditation healed me in a way that nothing else ever has. It gave me the ability to be in a safe space with other people while working through challenging emotions. I started to develop a deeper physical awareness of my body and was able to work through some energetic blockages. I became a regular at the class and in 2010 my Teacher advertised a Yoga Teacher Training course. I just had to continue the journey. Initially, the pull to do the yoga teacher training course was more a personal step to deepen my own journey. However, on completion of the 2-year training, I flowed quite freely into a teaching role, I had great gratitude for what I had learnt on the training and felt I would like to share this with others.

Yoga is a way of life, a set of principles that I live my life by. Yoga is mastery over the mind, to guide the spirit to what is called Samadhi (bliss). In a beginner yoga class, we focus on Asanas (postures), Pranayama (breath control), Dhyana (meditation), and of course that wonderful point in the class we all enjoy, relaxation. Yoga has a deep and rich ancient philosophy, originating in India, it is scientifically proven to have great benefit on our mental and physical health. Yoga in Sanskrit means ‘Union’ with the body, mind and soul.

This phrase gets thrown around a lot however in our western culture, without people always fully understanding what that means in all its aspects. The 8 limbs of Yoga are a key point of study for any Yogi (male) or Yogini (female) wanting to take a step further on their journey, and therefore I encourage anyone interested in practising yoga to also understand the philosophy, as it has so much to offer. I have named this practice of Yoga Santosha after one of the limbs of yoga, which means contentment. I believe no matter whether we are a beginner or have been practising for many years, we should remain content and as my yoga teacher use to say, “keep the beginners’ mind”. Yoga is not a religion, it has a moral code of how to live your life. I believe yoga is an open path, one of personal self-discovery, whether Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or any other religion, you can practise yoga, it is non-sectarian.

In conclusion, Yoga can reveal many life lessons to us, it is ongoing and there is always more to learn, and more to uncover about ourselves. Yoga is a personal experiential journey. If you choose to come to a yoga class, come with an open mind and open heart, this way you will surely receive all that you need from the practice. You may just find some transformational shift begin to happen in your life, one that you never dreamed could be possible.

Emily
Find Emily on Facebook

“I am a complete Yoga novice but thought I’d give it a go… I’ve enjoyed it so much and get so much from it, it is now part of my weekly routine. The class is taught on the teachings of Hatha and Kundalini yoga practises.

The practice brings so much peace to the mind and body through incorporating asanas (yoga postures) with pranayama’s (breathing exercises).  We work on core strength, stretching, balance, repetitive postures, breathing and relaxation techniques. Anyone can join in as the class is open to all levels, you listen to your body and work at the level comfortable to you. It’s a fun and dynamic class.

The Kundalini aspect emphasis’ on breathing, meditation, chanting and tuning into the chakra’s – this is really good for calming the mind and Emily has such a calming relaxing tone to her voice it’s captivating.

I’ve found greater flexibility already in my body although I’m not going to even attempt the headstand !, and an internal calmness I never had before. I love it and hope the Basement is able to make Yoga a permanent fixture.”

Many Thanks
Ninder
Participant

Yoga Classes are run at Union Bank:

Service users: £2
Low waged/Concession: £5 (£25 block booking for 6 weeks)
Usual price: £7 (£35 block booking for 6 weeks)

Intermediate class: Wednesday’s: 6.30pm – 8.00pm
Beginner class: Currently Friday’s but starting 7th September Thursday’s: 6.30pm – 8.00pm

How life changes when you’re in Recovery

A few weeks ago, I went on a weekend trip to Ingleton with friends from Calderdale in Recovery. We were also joined by people from Kirklees in Recovery – which was nice as I got the chance to make new friends. We stayed at a place called ‘Pinecroft’ in a massive log cabin.

It was a beautiful few days away with some lovely people. We were all blessed with some lovely weather which made it even nicer! I had actually been to Pinecroft before (about two years ago when I was quite early into my recovery). I realise now that back then I didn’t fully appreciate the beauty of the nature, the greenery, the waterfalls and the wildlife. This time around, however, I did. This is because whilst being in recovery I have learned to look at the beauty of the things around me in a different way. To appreciate them and to have gratitude.

On Saturday, different groups of people chose to do different things. For me, it was a great day that I will always remember. About ten of us walked to the Ingleton Waterfalls and then walked around them. From start to finish it was fantastic. From walking along and seeing the beauty of the place, eating sandwiches next to the stream and even taking my shoes off and having a paddle, to getting covered in water from a bit of a water fight! It was a good few days in the life of Colin!

Before I came into recovery my weekends would have been so different. I would have spent most of my time isolating indoors. I would only go outside to find ways and means of getting more drugs – like shop lifting or trying to get my sister to give me money. I would never have noticed the beauty of anything around me.

But, thanks to The Basement Recovery Project and Calderdale in Recovery, I no longer need to live that life and now I have the opportunity to take part in lots of different activities that I would never have done before. I would encourage anyone in Recovery to get involved in things like the weekend away staying at Pinecroft. It’s great to socialise with others in recovery who understand what you have been through. The whole experience was good for my mind, body and soul.

Colin.

Read Kev’s Story from Prison to Recovery

My dad was an alcoholic. He would swing from a happy every-day comedian to a violent bully. He always seemed happy when surrounded by his mates and in the pub, but things were often different when at home. We’d often feel the wrath of his frustration through not being able to work due to arthritis. I remember all the times I was verbally and physically abused. I’d even received a broken nose for eating a lettuce sandwich – that kind of sums up the environment I was brought up in. Mum tried her best, but her best was always hindered by dad.

As soon as I left school, I left home too. Living there, the environment changed on a day to day basis depending on how much he’d had to drink (or how much he hadn’t). My mum was, most of the time, very depressed and unhappy. As soon as I left the house she got divorced from my dad. I was the last one to leave (the youngest of five kids) and this was what she was waiting for, all the kids to leave home so she could leave too.

Link to full story.

My Journey Beginning – a poem by G. Crosbie

my journey beginning - poem by g. crosbie

This story starts with me ending time on remand

Being released to a strange and new land

The first step was easy, stay sober and clean

Oh how my mum smiled she was so pleased

The second step was to visit lifeline

So I’m sat there thinking is this worth my time? Read more