Nick Barton, Chief Executive of Action on Addiction launches ‘A Moment of Opportunity’, an online exhibition challenging misconceptions to show the true face of recovery.
One in three people in the UK are affected by addiction, and there is no ‘standard’ face or story for an addict. However, whilst the effects of alcohol and drug misuse on the body and mind have been well documented in art and the media, recovery is a subject of mystery and even taboo - hidden behind private doors and often epitomised in public by the uninspiring glass of orange juice at a drinks reception.
With a ‘A Moment of Opportunity’ we aim to throw open these doors to focus on what recovery really looks like - revealing the lesser-seen, perhaps more surprising, stories of how people re-build fulfilling and joyful lives after addiction
The idea for the exhibition came from the very talented photographer, James Oaten. He felt inspired by the work he had seen us do in Bournemouth, his home town, and approached us with an idea to share some of the inspiring stories of recovery which we see at SHARP Bournemouth every day. The goal of the exhibition is to challenge people’s misconceptions about who recovering addicts are and what recovery involves. As can be seen throughout, these people are functioning members of society who are doing the very best they can to contribute.
The recovery pictures were taken in a variety of Action on Addiction centres including:
- Clouds House, our residential detoxification and rehabilitation treatment centre in rural Wiltshire;
- SHARP Bournemouth, where Working Recovery programmes help people build the skills and qualifications they need to find meaningful work and carve out positive roles in their community; and
- The Brink, our innovative dry bar in Liverpool which provides support for recovering addicts as well as a vibrant space for all to socialise without the pressures to drink alcohol.
Recovery can be a long and often difficult process but, as those who have made the journey will say, there is little else that is more rewarding or worthwhile and that’s what inspires Action on Addiction to do the work we do.
Ultimately, I hope that the bravery and resilience of the men and women in these photos has inspired you personally as a viewer, and will help promote a greater understanding of what it means to struggle against addiction.