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[ Opinion ] [ Personal Narratives ]

Working in Drug and Alcohol Services

I have worked in these services for nearly eight years as a complementary therapist; I offer ear acupuncture, massage, reflexology and nutrition.   These therapies help in many areas; relaxation, anxiety, depression, stress and to help with cravings.  It should be celebrated as it  is a great help to addicts who need the non judgemental encouragement that is given.  Service users use the treatment services every day if not every week.  We have a range of services that include; psycho-social, prescribing services, groups, activities, complementary therapies and drop in for initial help or ad hoc help that may be necessary for emergencies.  We also offer arrest referrals.  

I have been touched by addiction through losing two friends seven years ago.  One died of an overdose and the other committed suicide.  It was a painful time and although I was already working for a service in Oxford city it spurred me on the bring the awareness and stigma of addiction more known.  Addicts do not choose to be addicts.  It is so important that we understand this and allow questions to be asked and answered fully without any judgemental comments thrown in and to be able to let someone in recovery to tell their story.  It disappoints me when people make throw away comments about drugs and how they think that anyone who takes drugs deserves to be in that situation.  It is an illness in some people’s eyes and in others it’s a lifestyle choice.  It doesn’t matter what it is but we are all different and this needs to be accounted for.  Abstinence is encouraged by all at our services.  

We encourage many to be brave, honest and to face up to their feelings as to why they may drink or use drugs.  We do not judge, we listen yet we challenge if someone has been doing well but then arrives and they have used or had a drink.  If they have come in and they tell us they have used or drank it means something surely?  It is two steps forward and one step back quite frequently but we carry on and give the individuals the time they deserve because for many it is the one of the only places where they feel safe.