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Mick’s Story: From Peer to Career

“Peer work was the part of the puzzle that was missing”

When Mick first engaged with ROADS, he had been abstinent for a few months. However, he had been clean a number of times before, but had never been able to maintain sobriety. As Mick himself says, “getting clean is the easy bit, staying clean is the hard bit”.

Mick can now identify that what he was lacking in his recovery was structure. By doing the peer training with Developing Health & Independence (DHI) and then signing up for placements, he was then expected to be in certain places at certain times; there were people depending on him.

In his 15 months of being a peer with DHI, he undertook a huge range of different roles, including: 1:1 work with clients, a placement at a mental health hospital, detox support, Drug Education Programme talks, influencing policymakers within Bristol City Council, giving talks to student psychiatric nurses, and attending drug related death meetings.

Mick says that his peer work was instrumental in getting him back into work. He says that it helped to build his confidence, to believe that he had something to offer people, and to be more responsible.

When a trainee worker job came up with Bristol Drugs Project (BDP), he was encouraged by DHI staff to apply for the role. He had gained skills and experience from his peer work which had prepared him for exactly this type of job.

In April this year, Mick started his job as a Trainee Community Detox Link Worker. He is now getting hands on experience in the BDP Health and Harm Reduction Centre where he works in the needle exchange, on outreach projects including at clubs and festivals, and on the mobile outreach truck. Later in the year, he’ll be transferring into the BDP shared care team, which he is excited for.

Mick’s life has changed enormously in the last 18 months. He has gone from living in a dry house to now renting his own place with a friend; he has gone into full time work; and he is studying for a level 3 qualification in Health & Social Care.

Both DHI and BDP are rightly proud of all that Mick has achieved, and while he might have moved from one charity to the other, he doesn’t really see it that way. He says: “Everyone knows each other in ROADS. People work together really well and it’s great to still be under the ROADS umbrella.”

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