Recovery check-up calls success

A pioneering telephone check-up service is helping Doncaster people who have experienced drug and alcohol problems to stay on track with their recovery.

Doncaster Drug and Alcohol Services’ Peer Led Recovery Check-up sees specially trained volunteer peer mentors who are in stable recovery offering motivation and support to people who are in the early stages of their own addiction recovery, by way of a simple weekly phone call.

Service Manager Stuart Green said: “Peer mentors are all people who want to develop their skills and give something back.

“Thanks to some fantastic training from Sheffield Alcohol Support Service, which included developing counselling skills and building clear and consistent boundaries, these people are providing a vital support network within the recovery community.”

Neil Batten (49), who is currently receiving the weekly calls said: “This service has helped me so much and I can’t praise it highly enough.

“After six months of intense support, it was quite daunting to be back in the big wide world, but weekly calls have stopped me feeling isolated.

“It’s a good feeling to know someone’s looking out for me who understands what I’m going through, and who recognises just how far I’ve come.”

Peer Mentor Pat Tweedie has been part of the check-up service since it was introduced in April 2015, she said: “We ask a series of set questions, but because we’re talking on the phone and can’t see any facial expressions we’ve been trained to pick up on inflections in the voice, which might suggest someone needs some extra support.

“By extending the conversation, we’re able to find out about any difficulties people are experiencing and offer reassurance and advice.

“It’s very rewarding to be helping others in this way, we’re able to share our own unique knowledge and provide living proof that recovery really is possible.”

Since launching in April the Recovery Check-up service has received a tremendous 77% take-up among people in the Doncaster recovery community.

Stuart Green added: “We’re proud of the fact that Doncaster Drug and Alcohol Services are below the national average for people representing to our services following a failed recovery.

“Thanks to initiatives like the Recovery Check-up people are continuing to engage with our services instead of relapsing into old habits – which ultimately improves lives and saves money.”

Neil Batten (left) and Pat Tweedie (right).
Neil Batten (left) and Pat Tweedie (right).