Eight months ago, I walked through the doors of SCT, not quite knowing what to expect. I had heard about SCT from someone at my AA group, who had recommended it to me. When I first came to SCT in March this year, I started attending their computer skills course every Wednesday, and it was here that I met the Digital Skills tutor who helped me with learning the ropes of using a computer. The world of technology was opened up to me, and I soon bought my own computer.
I had a lot of self-doubt when I first started out here, but it was rewarding to be given the opportunity to write in both French and English, my native and adopted languages. It has allowed me to grow as a writer whilst improving my grammar in both languages, and every week I can see the progress I’m making.
As my journey continued, I started attending the art classes at SCT. This was an opportunity for me to revisit my love of art, which began when I was a child attending art classes in France. However, this was not without its challenges. Self-doubt and self-criticism were my constant companions in the early days, but gradually, over time, I’ve felt and seen this begin to fade.
The atmosphere at SCT is relaxed, positive and encouraging. In the art classes, we are able to express our creativity without constraints.
My artwork, titled “Le Souvenir,” which was featured in the exhibition, was a process. It started as one thing but evolved into something entirely different, just as I have evolved over time. My painting references and symbolises elements significant to my life – music, the gothic subculture, the 1980s, and my star sign, Libra. It also draws from a cherished memory of my childhood when I lived in a house with a courtyard full of roses. This artwork merges various aspects of my life together to create a piece of self-expression.
It was exhilarating to see my artwork in a new light during the exhibition, literally and metaphorically. I felt the emotion from my painting, and it was so fulfilling to know that something I created was appreciated by others.
Another opportunity that SCT has presented to me was the encouragement to apply for a community journalism project at Groundswell, another homelessness charity. This project, driven by lived experiences, aims to improve healthcare access and life expectancy for people facing homelessness. My successful application led to my role as a community reporter, and I have so far written two articles that have been approved and made positive connections with others. My confidence is growing all the time.
My inherent anxiety has held me back for a long time, and alcohol used to be my coping mechanism. However, going to AA and attending classes at SCT is helping me to overcome my anxiety, one day at a time. Alongside the digital skills and art classes at SCT, I have also participated in the ‘Futures Academy’ in partnership with 100 Shoreditch. This progression course has given me both practical skills and confidence skills to help me more forward both personally and professionally. I’ve realised that there are a lot of opportunities out there for me.
I’m approaching 5 years of sobriety, and SCT has been instrumental in maintaining my recovery.
It’s the camaraderie, the connections with people who understand what I’ve been through, and the support from staff, who have not only offered me guidance with my artistic endeavours but have also helped me with practical things, such as a recent job application. I look forward to every class, and I’ve even explored my culinary skills in the new cookery course. Trying all these new things and developing in the way I have is not something I thought I would ever be able to do before.
As for the future, I’m determined to continue with art, which is a crucial part of my recovery. I’ve come to believe that everything that is happening to me and all the opportunities that are coming my way are happening for a reason, and I am embracing them. SCT has given me the support and tools to where I am now in a position not only to learn and grow myself but also to give back to others. Though it is not an easy journey, I want to keep going. I can see a definite progression within myself since I first walked through the doors of SCT, as well as continuing to attend AA. I am very grateful for all of the support, guidance and opportunities I have been given. My journey is not over, but I am facing the future with hope.