The opportunities self-directed support could offer for people in recovery from substance misuse Part 2

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One of the things that is immediately attractive about Self Directed Support (SDS) is that it offers new opportunity and choice. For some people, that choice will be getting help from formal services where the individual is the ‘client’ of the service. For others, that choice will not be about being a client but a citizen free to do as they see fit in their community.

Increasingly people in recovery recognise that “a human with all their flaws is more imaginative, adaptable and creative than the most perfect formal service”. SDS can help individuals believe in their own ability to solve problems rather than be dependent on services to solve their problems for them. This is about returning power to the people and SDS has the potential to do just that.

Hopefully when folk are looking for advice about SDS, they will hear less of: “Hi, my name is xxx; these are my qualifications; what’s the matter with you?” This kind of needs analysis always generates the same answer: “you need our service”! Instead, folk should increasingly hear: “Hi, my name is xxx, what is it that matters to you?”

For many people, services are essential but they are not sufficient. Connecting to family or achieving a sense of purpose and belonging in the community are just as important. People who attend Fellowship meetings will be very familiar of the idea of maintaining their recovery by “giving it away to keep it”. People freely  and willingly acting as sponsors, peer supporters or offering some other kind of service to their community have much better recovery outcomes than those that don’t. Such behaviour carries the message of recovery to the next person. Could SDS help people to do this in their community?

People are motivated to do things in their community for different reasons. Which of these could SDS unlock for you?

·         Having a dream (for you, your family or community). How could SDS help you discover your dream and help you move towards it?

·         Being worried about something. How could SDS help you or your community get away from something that concerns you?

·         An opportunity to identify and develop the gifts you already have so you can give them away. How could SDS help you liberate your skills rather than focus on your deficits to enable you to give something back to your community?

·         Opportunity to connect with people. Everyone needs an opportunity to belong. How could SDS grow your choices of things and people to connect with?

·         Politics and social justice. Folk in recovery often feel marginalised and unimportant. How could SDS help you take your power back and become active and a strong voice for others who might be struggling in your community?

Choice. Let’s see how imaginative, adaptable and creative we can be with the choice offered by SDS.