Dennis became involved in Comas' Serenity Cafe project after treatment for addiction. He was trying to sustain abstinence and looking forward to creating a new life. As a young man he had been in care as his own family life had been affected by parental alcoholism. Volunteering in the Serenity Cafe gave Dennis the confidence and self-belief to set up new groups within the project for others recovering from addiction, and he began to see a pathway towards a career.However, Dennis still felt that he struggled with his addiction, and when a crisis in Dennis' life occurred, his old coping mechanisms - drugs - kicked in. He relapsed and spent several weeks in 'madness and chaos' (Dennis' words) before getting in touch again. Over several months we have helped Dennis to feel he is still connected to the Serenity Cafe project and that his skills and talents will still be valued and welcomed, ensuring he has 'something to work towards' to regain control in his life and his addiction
What is behind this success story?
Again, hope and belief that individuals can make changes and create their own unique contribution has been an important aspect of helping Dennis feel he belongs. Often, relapse isolates people from the 'recovery community'. In the Serenity Cafe we have found it is essential that people see the project as a personal resource in their development of their own recovery, as well as a community collective creating a social hub for people to meet others in recovery. We create bridges towards belonging.