‘I want to be free to be myself, to be part of a family but an individual who can flourish creatively with sense of self awareness. I think that’s what makes us strong’. 

The word ebullient seems to have been created for John.  It seems like only yesterday this shy young man walked through the doors of the New Hanbury Project. Conversely, such has been his transition, it seems that John has been a regular fixture in our Recovery Community for so much longer.

John first became a student at ‘The Hanbury’ taking Creative Writing classes. This helped with the barrier of dyslexia as well as providing a conduit for expression. Having been through rehabs and other recovery services, being part of the SCT community seemed a completely different experience. 

“I think that the key to my recovery has been in being open minded to new ideas and not getting stuck in dogma. There seems to be a lot of that around generally, I suppose It’s because there is a history of drug and alcohol services not getting proper support and having to rely on whatever’s out there.”

“Here at SCT there seems to be a different philosophy. Your encouraged to be yourself and engage in a way that you find productive.” 

With this in mind working with SCT’s Progression Worker John has found a placement at the Tate Modern “My background is art, I studied it at uni’ for a time, and in the time I was there I learned to not get to bogged down in singular ways of doing things while I was being encouraged to find my own style. That’s as true in finding my true vocation as its is in recovery. I feel right at home at the Tate. Like with SCT I am with like minded people and I really want to be an artist. I have skills, a mind and a life” 

John certainly exudes his own style and co-ordinates many of the social activities of  ‘Choices’, SCT’s recovery community. “This community is completely unique compared to anywhere else, you learn to trust people for all the right reasons and you learn to find and be yourself. You take us in and it’s beautiful. Choices is like the ‘life’ in the work/life balance of recovery. Life is good, always a challenge but that’s life and that what keeps you moving forward”. 

Does he get a kick out of seeing others having a good time on the many Choices outings and activities? “Without wanting to sound too ‘new agey’ I think we are all interconnected in a sense, certainly we are social animals.”

“If other people are having a good time it gives me a buzz. There is power in having fun together.” 

That certainly is what makes us strong.

If you want to read more about the Choices recovery community, check out Normal Magazine.

With thanks to Roj Whitelock for his portrait of John.