For too long the field of addiction has focused on ‘What’s wrong with…?’ Rather than ‘What’s happened to…?’ At the Salvation Army we have a 150 year history of journeying alongside people living with addiction and believe in each and every person’s unique strengths, character and capacity to thrive given the right circumstances. We actively engage clients to tell a more powerful and profound story about themselves, one that shapes their future so that it is not dominated and dictated by their past.
The Salvation Army has three commissioned addiction services within our 100 plus homeless services; as well as a vast array of outreach services, corps, and community services that provide support with addictions too. We follow a harm reduction philosophy to support people to stay as safe as possible and minimise risks to themselves and others.
Our homelessness services are ‘psychologically informed environments’. When we provide our services we consider people’s thought processes, personalities, feelings and the things that may have happened to them in the past. We are rolling out our addictions strategy with a view to each and every service being able to deliver structured, low threshold, and therapeutic programmes. As a result it will help to reduce harm, build resilience, and develop the individuals’ core beliefs in their own capacity to evoke change and gain control over the choices they make.
The services within our Lifehouses are for people who are, or at risk of becoming homeless, and who generally have a local connection to the area. However, Gloucester House is a ‘rehab’ centre that has recently been awarded an Outstanding rating from the regulatory body, the Care Quality Commission. It is open for treatment for people who can access local authority funding or source private funding. Our corps and community-based programmes can be accessed by all.
We believe that addiction is a maladaptive way of coping. It can often be viewed as a normal response to abnormal experiences and situations often based in our early years and sometimes in later life experiences. Addiction is the result of a complex interaction between our nature and the way we were nurtured – and while we build relationships with people, we will ensure they are nurturing, strengths based and unconditional.
Any individual can use their addiction as a source of temporary relief from pain, so we shouldn’t be asking ‘Why the addiction?’ – we should be asking ‘Why the pain?’ and ‘What can be done?’ We have embraced a ‘harm reduction approach’ to enable everyone using our services stay as safe as possible until such time that they feel they are ready and can implement the change they want to make in their life. Our services are tailored to individuals to support their journey to a life of independence.
If you would like help and support with an issue relating to addiction, you can contact your GP who may offer you treatment or refer you to the specialist agency working in your area.
Alternatively you can look on the Frank website for services near you.