Addiction Education for Professionals.
Choose Life Addiction Education for Professionals
The essence of “CHOOSE LIFE” is our Volunteers, who have all had many years trapped in a cycle of addiction and experienced many years in the judicial system (Including custodial sentences) due to their addiction. Often they have been through the care system and some of the women have worked in the sex industry. The content of the Volunteers’ personal life testimonies cannot be underestimated as a tool for people to empathise and understand the diverse issues related to drug use.
“CHOOSE LIFE is not an event, it’s an experience”
Dave Roberts. Director of Independence Initiative, Bootle, Merseyside.
We have trained over six thousand Professionals including the Police Recruits of Merseyside, Lancashire, Cheshire, North Wales and Greater Manchester Police. We have also trained Professionals from such diverse fields as Social Work, Probation, Psychology, criminal justice field, Park Wardens, Job Centre Plus and various national and regional charities.
We could tell you ourselves about the impact our fully trained volunteers have in educating around the issue of addiction ,but we would rather our clients did;
PC 7202 Mike Burns, Greater Manchester Police Tutor
“The session was probably the most impactive session I have ever witnessed. Steve’s delivery was superb with lots of live data to back up his PowerPoint programme, which kept all the students interested. Brian and Julie were absolutely open and honest delivering their stories, which clearly had a massive emotional effect on the students. I don’t think it is too far-fetched to say that these people have changed some Officers way of thinking when they next deal with drug addicts.
Dr Alana Barton, Lecturer in Critical Criminology. Edge Hill University.
“In all my experience working in higher education, I have not encountered such emotional and enthusiastic feedback from students.”
So what can you expect from a Choose life training day ? You must remember we will listen to you and tailor your training to your Students/Workers. All our training is mapped to DANOS (Drugs and Alcohol National Occupational Standards).
Here is some of the sessions we deliver.
Life testimony of a recovered drug user.
One of the most powerful sessions is when one of the volunteers gives the audience the privilege of hearing their life story. This normally takes about thirty minutes and is an insight into a world very few people know about.
The Project Manager Steve Duffy started counselling inmates in HMP Liverpool and because he was from Bootle and his Father was A Docker he thought he “knew the score”.
The testimonies he heard staggered him. He has now heard over six hundred life stories and is still shocked at some of the stories he hears.
Social Worker Student Liverpool.
“It was amazing. Hearing the stories about the way in which people have to pay for their drug habits. You don’t realise things like this go on. It was so interesting”
A day in the life of a Drug User.
Very few people have the insight into the world of a drug addict. Understandably, it is hard to understand the hour by hour structure that develops when a drug habit gets out of control and takes over someone’s life. Imagine your life being completely governed by drugs, imagine all of your thinking, motivation and behaviours being filled with drugs, getting them or the money to buy them and using them. You can then begin to get some idea of what it is like, but there is much more to it than that. Every account is different from each volunteer.
When the “Choose Life’’ volunteers sit in front of people and talk openly about this day in day out cycle and discuss things that they feel ashamed, embarrassed or even guilty about, it leaves the listener with an understanding that cannot be learnt in any other way.
Youth Offending Team Worker: Liverpool YOT
“The course content was emotive, informative and well delivered. The project volunteers were excellent and professional. Awareness was raised through ‘real’ experiences. Brilliant!’’
The recent murders of young prostitutes in Ipswich highlighted an area where we could raise awareness of the difficulties and issues regarding street working girls.
Having a volunteer who is willing to open up her past of working on the streets is an asset to “Choose Life” and helps to open the eyes of professionals and others who had once pre-judged women working on the street without the understanding of why they did this.
We look at;
- One of our volunteers life testimony of life working the streets.
- Why do girls (and boys) work the streets?
- The Hierarchy of Prostitution.
- Problems of being a Mother and Prostitute.
- Myths of Prostitution.
- Links between alcohol/ Substance Mis use and exploitation
Why do people go to prison?
This presentation looks at the statistical information and the trends of the prison population over the past couple of decades. It also explores some of the links between imprisonment and drug use, poor mental health, literacy and innumeracy, the care system etc.The Project Manager also recalls anecdotal evidence of his many years as a Prison Officer and Counsellor working in the Prison System.
The session looks at the human statistics behind the criminal justice system.
- The amount without basic skills
- The number who were in care
- The quantity in dysfunctual families
- The men and women with mental health problems.
Project Worker @ Liverpool Young Runaways
The course was brilliant. It really opens your eyes to the things that people go through and the lack of understanding we can have in society around addiction. I admired the volunteers so much for speaking so openly and trusting us with their personal experiences and stories. It will be something that I will share with the young people we work with and hopefully it will make them think about their own futures and life choices. Thank you all so much.
“It’s their choice they want to take it!”
This presentation comes from an incident in a Liverpool School were as the Project Manager was preparing to set up, a young girl said to him “I know what you are going to do, your going to put recovered drug users in front of us,and then expect us to be sorry for them; it’s not going to happen,i t’s their choice they wanted to take it, let them get on with it”!
We believe many people have this attitude simply because they do not understand addiction. In this presentation our volunteers explain why people take drugs, they explain graphically how hard life can be on drugs and why it is so difficult to stop their habits. They dispel many of the myths around drugs and allow people who have suffered addiction the opportunity to explain to others why and how it all happened.
Anne McDonough: CLP Volunteer and mother of two chaotic drug users.
“It was only after I started going out with “CHOOSE LIFE” and started listening to the other volunteers that I started to understand about drugs and how difficult people find it to come off. Before I was just angry, and frustrated with my kids.”
Drug Dealing in our communities.
There are many issues around Drug Dealing and our attitude towards it. Our volunteers go through a power point presentation put together by Drug Dealers serving between ten and fifteen years for drug Dealing.The issues covered are;
- Consequences for our community.
- Manipulation of young people by older Drug Dealers.
- Manipulation of vulnerable people by Drug Dealers.
- A Drug Dealers life testimony.
- The legalisation debate (What happened after operation Wolf in Ipswich)
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
When a woman drinks alcohol during pregnancy, she risks giving birth to a child who will be born with full-blown fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). The Project Manager came across many inmates that he believes showed many of the characteristics of FAS. Our volunteers talk about their experiences of alcohol and its damaging affects.