My Experience of Pilotlight

Back in September 2015, I was told about a course called Pilotlight which would be running in Aberdeen and was briefly told it was about recovery and there would be people in recovery from alcohol and drug misuse and practitioners and we would be discussing and working together to see if there was any improvements in the process of recovery.

On my first day I was very nervous and wasn't sure that this was for me but I managed to get myself there and thankfully it wasn't an early start. When I arrived, everyone was very welcoming. I could see that the rest of the people like myself were also just as nervous as I was. We were introduced to Judith Midgley and Kate Dowling who work for Iriss and they would be facilitating the 8 workshops once a month.

We then had to do a brief introduction of ourselves in order to get to know one another. We then were told that the workshops were about self-directed support for substance misuse recovery and peer support work. Pilotlight has brought together people with lived experience of substance misuse recovery and practitioners from Grampian Health Board, Aberdeenshire Council and 4 voluntary sector providers

(Turning Point Scotland, Cair Scotland, Alcohol and Drugs Action, and Aberdeen Foyer.) We were exploring the barriers and opportunities that self-directed support presents for people in recovery. The workshops have been designed to prepare co-design members with lived experience to be ready to apply for two posts.

Before I knew it, it was lunch time and the food they served was lovely and plenty of it!

After getting through the first day I wasn't sure that this was for me but I knew I had plenty of time as it was only once a month I had to attend. Before I knew it, the month had flown in and it was time for the second workshop. When I arrived, everyone again was very welcoming but I had noticed we were one member down! We were now starting to get a bit more involved and learning all about self-directed support, peer worker roles and test budgets. Food again was lovely and a few jokes were made about the soup, which made us all relax even more.

While workshops 3 and 4 were going on, I had a few family problems going on, which made it very difficult to concentrate and felt that I may not be able to continue in the project. I had feelings of being a failure, which then led me to feel very disappointed and very stressed out. As the workshops were now getting more involved with case studies, working themes, test budgets and maximising outcomes. we also had guest speakers and we were continuing to plan for the peer worker roles. I found this very difficult as I had not done anything like this in years and had started to dread the workshops. But I managed to pull myself together and get back into the course learning more and more about self-directed support and peer support work and also writing blog posts for the Pilotlight website.

I am now at the end of the Pilotlight project with only one more workshop to go. I feel that the peer support roles are not really as well organised as they should be with issues on how long the posts are for, whether the workers will be working on there own or not and kind of feel like we are the guinea pigs for the project.

At this moment I'm not sure wither I will go forward for the job or not but I'm glad I was part of the project and it has opened my eyes and learnt a lot from it and I have also met a lot of nice people through the project.