Recovery is like any puzzle – you start at the Edge.
I love my job. Wait a minute, I don’t think I’ve stated that with enough emphasis. I LOVE MY JOB! If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you will be aware of my involvement with The Edge Café, a ground-breaking new recovery café which has just opened in Cambridge. The Edge is a community café with a recovery heart; our aim is to provide individuals in recovery from substance misuse a safe and supportive space to meet, connect, develop skills, rebuild lost confidence and generate opportunities for positive change. We provide a visible demonstration of the possibility of recovery from substance misuse and addiction.
We have a range of arts and crafts workshops, skills-share and wellbeing groups in development which will run out of the café including ‘Knit and Natter’, Poetry and Reading, Art, Mindfulness and Meditation, IT Skills, Job Application and CV writing, and Pilates. We also have a conference room in the building, ‘The Hayman Room’, which is fully equipped for meetings and can be rented out by the community, local groups or businesses. The room was named after a much loved local recovery worker who tragically died recently. AA, NA and OA fellowships are already using it for their weekly meetings.
I became involved as a volunteer, sanding down tables and painting during the up-cycling of donated furniture, and immediately met a group of new friends. As is typical in the recovery community, this was a group of tenacious, determined and passionate people with a wide variety of skill-sets, all with the café’s success as their goal: creating a peer-led, recovery hub for the community. People in recovery are truly amazing. It is just a matter of refocusing the planning and organisational skills that being an addict demands. The café is managed by Sarah, also in recovery, whose delicious, healthy food and great coffee are already bringing people back for more.
I now have a job there as Recovery Coordinator. At last, a job in recovery. Something I have wanted for a long time. My role is to develop the peer mentor program, arrange workshops and exhibitions, apply for funding, build links with the local community and nurture the recovery of everyone involved with the project. The response so far has been truly heart-warming. I have previously written a piece for this blog called How to Become a Magnet; now, with a remarkable team of people, I have been involved in building a magnet. Every day people walk through the door of the Edge Café offering to help or wanting to be a part of this awesome project. Some people simply want to come and enjoy our wonderful food and coffee and soak up the positive aura. People can just come in for a hug!
We have a working group, or committee, called Closer to the Edge, which is entirely comprised of people various stages of recovery. They are an inspiring group of people with amazing skills, who have already become close and deeply respected friends – and I don’t make true friends easily. The aim of our current and wonderfully understanding board is that the board itself will eventually be made up of people in recovery. Addicts are doing it for themselves! Teamwork, togetherness and a true passion for the project to succeed have built something quite phenomenal. You can become a magnet. You can build a magnet.