Here is Jordan’s perspective on Recovery Month. He has spoke to many people and then written up many of the stories you have seen. Any stories that have been written, he has seen before they have been published. He has shared what he has thought, felt and learnt from the month. Enjoy.

Throughout the month of September, I have been obtaining stories from many individuals from many different walks of life. It has been an eye-opening experience as I have met with some inspirational people who have gone through so much and to have got where they are, is simply remarkable.

Having been at Changes for less than a month, I started to ask to see if anyone who had been through Changes would like to share their stories. The reception I received from asking online was quite minimal but when people were asked individually, they were much more willing to share. I feel that if people are asked to do something individually, if feels more personal and respectful.

From the first story that was shared with me right up until the last I’ve felt privileged to be in the position that I’m in – as it is not just a story from people but it is their life. For people to share their story to someone that they don’t know very well, or at all, made me feel that I had a duty to do their stories justice. With one of the main values of Changes being honesty, I wanted to make sure the stories encompassed this as I would try to include everything they told me. I felt I also had a creative duty to evoke emotions in the story that may inspire people now and in the future.

I have laughed, I have almost been reduced to tears, it’s been an interesting experience. The amount of trauma and sadness I have heard from these smiling individuals I feel astonished at how happy they are today. Something that I found extremely fascinating is that the stories had started in many ways. Some stories started with parents who were indirectly causing addiction, but with others, the parents tried to do everything for their child and you would think they would have a great start to have a happy and fulfilling life. I found that a sense of belonging was a common theme amongst many stories which made me quite heavy hearted as not belonging is something that you don’t realise a lot of people feel and how serious the consequences it can lead to.

In such a short space of time I have learnt many things about myself and how I can improve in myself. A lot of the stories, drug or alcohol use was used as a cry for help which I know that if I or anyone else needs help then they should ask for it. Asking for help is not a weakness but is a sign that people want to improve. Anyway, everyone needs help in some respect and shouldn’t be ridiculed for asking, for it can impact on many lives – both friends and families as well as the individual.

I have met or talked to such lovely people that if I got the chance to do the experience again, I would relish the chance. I would be more experienced and know more about the recovery community now and so would produce more accurate information, however the raw emotion that I felt hearing these stories from the beginning cannot be replaced so I’d happily go back in time and do it all over again. If I could, anyone who would want to share their story with me, an addict or otherwise I would be more than happy to listen.

Everyone has a story to tell and I now know the full truth of the saying ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ as never does it fully reflect what’s on the inside!