‘When it’s not always raining there’ll be days like this’
As we try to navigate ourselves safely out of lockdown, those worry-free days which Van Morrison’s mama told him about seem few and far between.
The rain definitely doesn’t help, but it’s more than Scottish Summer blues that is seeing our referral rates rocket for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Back in March when we moved quickly to replace our face-to-face counselling and groups with online and telephone support, none of us expected that six months later we would still be delivering support in this way.
At DACA we have always prided ourselves on offering a holistic service — seeing and supporting the whole person, not just their drink problem.
Over the years this has taken many different forms. While one-to-one counselling has always been at the core of our work, we have also offered a range of diversionary activities such as gardening, walking and fishing; as well as creative groups, cooking classes, relaxation sessions, well-being clinics, social drop-ins and much more.
The one common ingredient of all of these groups and activities was social contact in a safe and supported space. For many of the people we work with, this was the most important element and crucial to their recovery.
So when we were required to withdraw all of these groups and the social connection they offer almost overnight, it left a huge gap for many.
Of course most of the world has been socially isolating over the past few months and forced to find new ways to stay connected with friends, family and colleagues.
But six months in, even the most tech-savvy have become weary of virtual meetings and craving real life human contact.
For many of DACA’s clients, connecting online isn’t easy, so we’ve been careful not to put all our eggs in the digital basket. We’ve kept some old-school, low-tech pathways, such as delivering activity packs and newsletters out to people’s homes (and nabbing a doorstep chinwag from 2metres away while we’re at it).
Together, whilst apart, we’ve grown tomatoes and sunflowers, painted stones, coloured mandalas, shared photos, got creative with our writing and put relaxation techniques to the test. We’ve even managed to enjoy a meal together at our weekly Supper Club — courtesy of Facebook Meeting Rooms.
But it is perhaps now, as the rest of the world starts to reconnect in person with a BBQ in the back garden or a pint down the pub, that we are reminded once again that this pandemic doesn’t treat everyone as equals.
Because many of the social options on offer in Phase Three of Scotland’s lockdown are not designed for people in recovery.
While beer gardens and bars have been packed to capacity, the gyms, sports clubs, community centres and libraries that are safe, alcohol-free refuges for people in recovery, remain closed.
Problem drinking rarely exists on its own. Poor mental and physical well-being, unemployment, loss and loneliness are common travelling companions.
Give Us A Call
So if you know a friend or loved one, or perhaps a neighbour or work colleague who struggles with alcohol, bear in mind that their lockdown is probably far from over. If they need some extra support, please tell them about us.
We have a team of experienced local staff and volunteers, backed up by a peer support network who understand the often unique challenges faced by people affected by problem drinking. And we’re here, ready to help. Our community might not be meeting in groups in a cosy social room and sharing plates of toast and having sing-songs. But we’re still a community.
And it’s in the sharing of jokes, songs, recipes, activities and food — online, over the phone, or in snatched doorstep meetings — that we help each other remember there will once again be days like this.
Contact us on 01389 731456 or 0141 9520881 to find out more about the support available or visit our website www.daca.org.uk