LOCAL drug users seeking help to recover from their addiction may benefit from a new service which started at the end of last year and is about to hold its first meeting after the Christmas break.
Cocaine Anonymous (CA) is a self-supporting group where people ready to stop using cocaine or other “mind altering substances” come together to go through a 12-step programme to enable them “to move on” and free themselves from addiction.
The spiritual organisation, founded in California in 1982, has many groups and meetings throughout Scotland, but up until very recently there was none in Shetland.
One of the core principles of the work is for group members to be able to stay anonymous and not be identified.
Frankie, who spoke to Shetland News this week about his journey of recovery, is not from Shetland but his story will no doubt resonate with many local drug users.
The 26-year-old said he started dabbling with drink while still at school and moved on to “other things” as he grew older.
“Certainly, any time there was a party on I made sure I was at it, but quite soon after I got involved with drugs the sort of honeymoon period had ended and it quickly became something that was a regular part of my life on an almost daily basis,” he said.
“The people around me started to notice that I had a problem, and they were trying to get me to see that for myself.”
He added that he “fooled” himself for a number of years that he could control his intake of drugs and that rather than himself, circumstances around him were to blame.
“It was only once I started to see for myself that I had a problem that I reached out.
“Someone mentioned CA but I thought that was not for me because, yes, I was running around using daily, but it wasn’t cocaine.
“I remember the person who chaired my second ever meeting. He had been an alcohol user and never actually used drugs in his life, but I identified so much with what he was saying; it helped me change my idea of addiction.”
Frankie said understanding that “addiction was the problem” regardless of what substance he was using was key to help him on his journey to recovery.
That journey, Frankie said, starts with admitting to oneself that addiction to drugs – or mind altering substances as it is described in the CA literature – has taken over and that life has become unmanageable.
As such the only requirement for people wanting to join the group and go through the 12-step programme of recovery is a desire to stop using drugs.
“I myself have been sober for three plus years now thanks to CA and what it has to offer,” he added.
The local CA group meets every Friday, with the first one this year tomorrow (7 January), between 12pm and 2pm at the new recovery hub office at Pitt Lane in Lerwick.
Due to Covid measures, anyone interested is asked to call either of the following two numbers for an informal chat first to help manage participant numbers as there are limits on people allowed in the room.
Frankie said: “They would like to speak to people beforehand because the last thing we want is for someone reaching out for help but been turned away because there is a capacity issue.”
The numbers to call are Jo on 07496 340793 or Di on 07788 267473.
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