New peer support group set up in Wigan borough to help with recovery from addiction
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Louise Westhead, from Hindley, established the group with others in order to help people battle of substance abuse such as alcoholism.
Having experienced the process herself, she believes that she can provide support by passing on experiences and advice to them.
Held at The Salvation Army in Atherton from 10am to noon every Monday, the group meetings provide a safe space to discuss their particular ups and downs with people who understand.
Breakfast sandwiches and hot drinks are also provided to anyone who attends. Louise believes that it is important to be able to talk to people with lived experiences.
She said: “There isn’t anything else like this in our area, unfortunately.
"This is led by people such as me who have been there and can not only empathise but guide others and help them on their journey."
The first hour of the sessions gives people time to have an informal chat with a drink and something to eat, while the second hour is peer-led group support where topics such as cravings and triggers as well as ways to cope are covered.
Any worries that they may have such as detox or medical advice can also be discussed, there is also the opportunity for referrals to be made or numbers be provided to seek further help.
Louise said: “The group is more of a listening ear and the fact that we know how they feel makes it completely confidential and anything goes. They can say whatever they want without shame or judgement as we have all been there ourselves.
"You never get over addiction: you live with it. I needed a chemical detox as I couldn’t do it on my own and it took me five months to get into a centre with the help of We Are With You.
"We’re self-funded and not relying on anyone else, there is a small group of us with lived experiences and want to give back. Addiction doesn’t have to be a never-ending nightmare.”
More information can be found on the Atherton Salvation Army Facebook page or by contacting 01942 888382.