People in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction have praised the life-changing impact of a therapy programme which is being successfully delivered across North Wales.

The ‘Moving on in My Recovery’ programme, which is being delivered in Bangor, Rhyl and Wrexham, is helping people achieve a sustained recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.

Unlike many traditional recovery programmes, Moving On In My Recovery has been developed with service users based on what worked for them in recovery.

It is delivered by people with a lived experience of addiction, alongside staff from Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board’s treatment services.

Participants are encouraged to explore a number of key themes including life goals, dealing with loss, relationships and managing low mood.

The programme encourages people in recovery to discuss their experiences, learn from each other and set themselves weekly challenges to support their ongoing recovery.

Last month 50 people from across North Wales graduated from the Moving on In My Recovery programme at a special celebration event held at Eirias Park in Colwyn Bay.

Changing Lives

Stephanie Jones from Bangor is amongst those whose lives have been changed by the Moving on in My Recovery programme, which is delivered at Penrhyn House near Bangor. The 31 year-old mum-of-two has been in recovery for 18 months following a seven year addiction to drugs.

“My life has changed so much because of Moving On In My Recovery and I can’t thank those involved in the programme enough.

“At 17 I became a single mother and had to grow up way too quick. I got into an abusive relationship and used drugs as a crutch to carry on as life over time became unbearable. I was lonely, living on my nerves and walking on eggshells. I felt worthless and hopeless and all alone. Soon, every day my life depended on taking drugs.

“I was introduced to Penrhyn House where I would visit a friend who was doing really well there. I was scared of my own shadow and it took me about three months to build the courage to go into the building.

“Walking through the door was a new beginning. It felt warm and welcoming and just like a family. I was soon referred to a substance misuse worker who was brilliant. The ‘moving on’ programme has helped me in so many ways, particularly with my anxiety and low mood.

“Relapse was never an option for me because very soon after starting the course I realised that there was a life out there for me that was worth having. The loss session helped me so much to deal with my emotions without having to take drugs.

“It gave me the opportunity to find out who I was once again because I’d lost my sense of purpose. The weekly sessions gave me a sense of belonging because I was around like minded people who actually understood me. I’ve made some fantastic friends through Moving on and I’ve now been on a course so I can be a facilitator for the programme. My life has changed so much.

“I’ve now used my addiction as a motivator and I’m in full time employment with Caniad as a Substance Misuse Coordinator. All the bad in my life has now got a purpose because without the bad times I wouldn’t have learned how to have the good times.”

The Moving On In My Recovery programme has been developed by BCUHB Consultant Clinical Psychologist Dr Lee Hogan, using the lived experiences of people from across North Wales.

He said: “I was truly inspired by the celebration day we held at Eirias Park. Moving On In My Recovery is changing lives in ways we never thought it would: it is wonderful to see the freedom and creativity that recovery from addiction has given people.”

BCUHB have recently worked in collaboration with Bangor University to secure a £75,000 grant from Alcohol Research UK to undertake a study into the effectiveness of the Moving On In My Recovery programme.

Referrals to the programme can be made through BCUHB’s Substance Misuse Service.

Dan 24/7 is a free and confidential drugs helpline providing a single point of contact for anyone in Wales wanting further information or help relating to drugs or alcohol. Call Freephone 0808 808 2234 or Text ‘DAN’ to 81066

Photo: Stephanie Jones from Bangor who has benefitted from the programme