Action on Addiction celebrated five years of its Essex community recovery programme for people addicted to alcohol and drugs at its annual reunion in Chelmsford on Friday, 23 November 2018.


The national charity, whose patron is the Duchess of Cambridge, delivers a Self-Help Addiction Recovery Programme (SHARP) county-wide from its centres in Braintree and Wickford.


Funded by Essex County Council, 294 people have graduated from its services since they began in September 2013. The Wickford centre opened 12 months ago following the success of the 48-day abstinence-based therapeutic support delivered from Braintree over the previous four years.


Mike Archell-Green, Service Manager for Community Recovery Essex at Action on Addiction, said: “We are the starting point for long-term recovery and abstinence for many people across Essex who are in the grip of active addiction. Many clients are in a desperate position when they come to our doors – some have lost everything and are finding it hard to see what there is to live for.


“However, with the right treatment and support, it is possible to live a fulfilling life in recovery and many of our clients are able to begin rebuilding their lives - regaining custody of their children, returning to work and rebuilding broken relationships. The annual reunion is an opportunity for our clients to celebrate their recovery and share their stories of hope with newer graduates of the SHARP programme.”


Helping people to achieve and maintain abstinence is a very difficult thing to achieve. However, independent evaluation shows that almost 80% of clients from the programme did not return to any treatment service for at least the first six months following completion.