AS we are approaching the end of Recovery Month, I thought I would return once again to this area of our community life.

So many events have taken place in Inverclyde to mark Recovery Month, and so many people have worked hard behind the scenes to make them happen.

I hope that October brings welcomed rest and relaxation for all!

The Battery Park, The Beacon Arts Centre, Coronation Park, Clyde Square… all places of recovery.

This year’s Scottish Recovery Walk came here to Inverclyde.

Telling life stories, remembering friends, urging attention on issues, celebrating recovery. Lots of people with lots of reasons to walk, but the presence of the walkers was certainly felt.

You know that something is going right when you’re attending a conference in Perth, and within 32 minutes of each other, seven lovely people from Greenock’s West End are messaging you to ask what’s happening on their street – and further, are delighted when you tell them.

Whether working hard in Recovery Month to tell your own story or to facilitate the telling of someone else’s, I think I’m safe in saying that the whole month, everything that has been planned, has been successful and impactful.

The most impactful event for me was the Stigma presentation from Jericho Women, staged at the Beacon earlier this month. The authenticity of what we saw on stage and the reality that was laid bare for us was really powerful. The support and care of the group members to each other was also evident, and so important for the journey – connect in with other people who can help you.

I must add though, as someone who really does enjoy and has seen a lot of theatre – the acting from the Jericho Women’s Group was simply outstanding. I know that the process is about bringing forward work that is unscripted and naturalistic, but my word, it was excellent!

It is a piece of work that I have thought about often since seeing it. Short phrases have come back to me over the weeks – another mark of success. Because surely, during Recovery Month… and beyond… we could all do with taking a few moments of reflection and remembrance. Reflection on where we are, and what our next steps are (no matter what space we occupy in recovery), and remembrance of deep losses keenly felt within families and friend groups.

Listening to the Today Debate on the radio last night, as Scotland is on the cusp of deciding whether a Drug Consumption Room should be opened in Glasgow, I was struck by the comments made about the context of drugs and recovery in Scotland.

Good treatment options are essential. Availability and trained use of Naloxone is a great step in the right direction but needs to be compassionately administered with assurance of onward medical support – as there would be where someone used a publicly available defibrillator to bring someone back from heart attack.

We must resolve the placement of drug policy as a reserved issue, firmly rooted in justice, when we know that we need a public health context in order to save lives.

My goodness, we need to be freed from fighting this war with one arm tied behind our back.

Recovery month draws to a close, but the work goes on, the journeys continue. Step by step, day by day. A thought from the Moving On Art Exhibition – Recovery is not a journey for those who need it, it is a journey for those who want it.

There will always be people to support you when you are ready.