"Trafford Bridging the Gap,to whom I owe my life "

About: Addiction Dependency Solutions / Trafford Bridging the Gap

(as a service user),

My story begins with 20 years of abusing my body with a range of party drugs. You name it, I've taken it, or dealt in at some point in my drug taking career. I felt I had no life any more. I hid away from the real world, and could be found in the local bars most of the time, drinking with the bar flies. I had no confidence, low self esteem. I was truly at my rock bottom, with no direction in life, and I could not find a way out of the rut I was in. I truly believed that I was destined for a life on the dole, until the day I died.

I had been through drug services, namely The Edge in Stretford, where I was given so much help in understanding that I could change things, that life was not as bleak as I was making it for myself, and a worker there offered me the chance to go on a course called Bridging The Gap. I was nervous, but I went to an interview, and purely from that interview for the course, I felt I was given hope, and encouragement.

I was told I could start the course in Nov. 2011, which I did. I started there, with my head under the table, shy, retiring and unable to speak to my peers. I would shy away from group activity and be quietly spoken when given the opportunity to express myself in the various forms that the course allowed.

This changed for me with my first "assignment" which was a "shoebox" talk, in which I was told I was to give a 5 minute talk to my peers, about subjects close to my heart, with the aid of something visual. I found the encouragement I received from my tutor really spurred me on to fulfill what was for me a very hard task. I finished the shoebox to a round of applause from my peers, and I had a renewal of faith in myself from that moment on. I would throw myself into everything, with a great group spirit. I slowly came out my shell and began to interact with my peers, and soon felt that I was part of something bigger. With the help and encouragement of both my tutor and my peers, I became a person people would turn to, to ask my opinion and to help them with problems.

I found the course itself to be very rewarding. The things I learned on the course itself are things that will stay with me forever, covering a range of topics, all very informative, but kept at a level that was easy to understand, and I feel that they truly helped drive me toward a goal of my own. The tutor herself, although not promising voluntary posts to everyone, and I honestly included myself in that conclusion, gave me a chance to be a peer mentor on the next course, which I grabbed with both hands.

In response to others, who say they had to do everything (sort, educate, learn, observe), I say that this was the point of the course, to help you, to help yourself. Nobody was going to do it for you. The course was a way of helping you build your confidence, your self esteem, and your low motivation.

As for the accusation elsewhere of having not given other people the skills to go forward with skills, hopes, dreams of employment, once again, i think that is wrong.

The skills I took from the course helped me to become, if I do say so myself, an excellent mentor to the students on the course after mine., The skills I gained from the course, have now given me the opportunity, the confidence, and the motivation to work within Trafford Drug Services, something I never would have been able to do without the help and dedication of Bridging The Gap and its staff. You're looking at a man who could not pick up a phone when it rang, let alone talk on one, and now I work in the offices at Trafford Drug Services, Voluntarily, a post/opportunity, given to me, gratefully, doing much more than I ever thought I could. This is due to the Motivation, . self esteem and confidence instilled in me by attending the course, learning from each of the separate topics, and gaining the skills, through them, to be able to move forward.

I now am looking forward to gaining more skills as I'm pushed willingly through the system, and hope to gain skills that will help me become the best support worker that I can be, and all thanks and praise is due to Leigh and the staff at both Bridging The Gap Trafford, and Trafford Drug Services.

Bridging the Gap is a course that you get from it, what you put into it.

I feel that it is a shame that this course may be ended due to funding being cut, as it has been EXTREMELY beneficial to me in my aspects of my life, it has helped me gain so much, and for other users out there who want to change, it will be a big loss when they do not have the chance to attend a course which will help them greatly! It was more beneficial to me, than, for example Intuitive Recovery, and has done so much more for me in helping me to get my life back on track, and it could also do the same for many, many others, if funded again, and keeps being funding, I believe it is an essential part of a recovered substance misuser's pathway back to a life!

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