We belive that recovery is about people (re)building meaningful and valued lives, where they can realize their aspirations, be treated with respect and dignity, and contribute to society. Our vision is to provide ongoing emotional and psychological support in a peer-led community setting, with professional help from experienced recovery coaches in a warm, friendly and informal environment. We also aim to create a space for clients’ self-realisation and opportunities for growth. We would like to make continuing support accessible and approachable and create a recovery community, that will help to raise awareness and put a face and voice to recovery. Our services are free of charge.
The LRC provides support for those engaged with and leaving clinical service provision with a view to eventual formal transfer out of these services and into longer-term support through community based recovery support services. Collaborative working is at the heart of the LRC’s approach.
The LRC has existing relationships with local statutory health care provisions and clinical treatment and support services, receiving referrals through these avenues and community based referrals. To date 44 external partner agencies or organisations have referred to the Living Room, in addition to community based and self-referrals. The LRC also maintains a database of over 80 professionals who are kept informed about the services available and current news and information. The LRC also works collaboratively with a range of partners to address the diverse and changing needs of service users, signposting and supporting service users to access numerous organisations throughout Cardiff and the Vale, and involving the centre in the overall picture of recovery within Wales.
The LRC’s philosophy embraces Prochaska & DiClemente’s Integrated Model of Change and the principles of the 12-Step programme. Services are 12-Step informed but also utilise other interventions including MI, CBT, NLP, and talking therapies, amongst others, according to the individual service user’s needs. The LRC also utilises the support of Fellowships, including AA, NA, SSA to further imbed the recovery philosophy and provide additional on-going support and aftercare to those in recovery from various addictions. In 2011, the LRC and WCAOD led partners in the first ever Welsh National Recovery Walk in Cardiff to counter the stigma and discrimination that still exists in society towards people with substance misuse problems and mental health issues. Mutual aid approaches are supported through annual lectures, Tree of Hope ceremony, Volunteers Ceremony and Birthday Concerts, including more frequent events, sessions, groups and activities on a service user led basis.
The process of recovery is augmented through the use of the LRC’s peer-based recovery support services, spanning the various stages of recovery and encompassing support at an individual, family, neighbourhood, and community level, further support improved treatment outcomes. All services, groups, classes and social activities are service user led, with confidentiality and mutual respect being paramount in all service areas. Provision is not mandatory, nor restrictive with regards to timing, thereby allowing service users the freedom to attend in a manner they identify could most benefit their recovery. Those in recovery are encouraged to talk about and share their recovery with others in the recovery community. Such activities demonstrate recovery capital as ‘real’ for individual service users, rendering it maintainable and achievable for themselves and others and ensuring that recovery capital is highly valued in the eyes of others. People with low recovery capital could be described as having “burnt their bridges”. Services provided by the LRC “lend” those seeking recovery some of the peer’s own recovery capital and social credit, until such time as the recovery seeker can regenerate his/her own personal and social assets. Such assets may include (amongst many others) hope, determination, self-confidence, socialisation, clothing, food, money or shelter. Working on a holistic basis and becoming a “giver” instead of a “taker” is fundamental to the LRC’s recovery philosophy.
Past community members matter to the LRC as much as present ones. Contact with those who have or are at risk of disengaging is additionally maintained through the Telephone Recovery Support Service. This service reaches out to service users through our Living Room Recovery Radio programme on Cardiff Radio 98.7FM and by ‘keeping-in-touch’ telephone calls, the frequency of which are pre-agreed through the client agreement completed at the point of registration. The LRC’s weekend on-call crisis line also addresses the needs of those currently engaging and provides access to support outside of the LRC’s usual service delivery.
LRC also utilised its Recovery Champions in articulating ambition, championing routes to recovery, supporting individuals in treatment; keeping a recovery focus at all stages of a service users journey and challenging assumptions, such as ‘people with Addictions don’t recover’, ‘recovery is distinct from treatment’, ‘those with Addictions can only be addressed in acute care settings’ and ‘that treatment can only get better if you throw more money at it otherwise you can change very little’, etc.
LRC is represented at the Substance Misuse Network meetings; Supporting Substance Users Task Groups, the drug and alcohol users’ forums (CARDUF & ASFA) and the Children & Young People’s Substance Misuse Task Group (CYP); and our CEO represented the Recovery Community on the Substance Misuse Strategy Implementation Board. LRC, through its CEO, is a member of APoSM Recovery Group, which formulated the Recovery Framework for Wales, and which will be responsible for monitoring its roll-out nationwide.
Counselling is delivered by trained, accredited Counsellors, with Recovery Coaches being trained in delivering appropriate and accessible support to service users. Training and monthly supervision is provided to all staff and volunteers by specialist trained professionals both internal and external to the organisation.
The LRC is volunteer led and maintains a volunteering structure which encompasses the diverse needs of individuals whilst aiming for “sharing, learning and personal development”. The programme was designed involving the service users and includes a placement facility for those wishing to learn more about addiction and recovery. All service users wishing to volunteer and contribute towards service delivery within the recovery community are matched to appropriate roles following assessment of their recovery status, skills, experience, personal drive and learning objectives, in order to ensure that all service users helping to provide services within the recovery community are supported, trained and equipped to fulfil the needs and obligations of the roles they undertake.