Thursday morning I tested positive for covid-19, so I had to rearrange my day. My team of volunteers, all who had overcome addiction, homelessness and the prison system, were going to need to be informed that I might have given them the virus and that we couldn’t deliver our session for the police new recruits that day. I didn’t know this would be one of my best work moments in 2023.
These sessions are proving popular and rewarding for everyone involved: students and contributors. Thankfully my contact at the Cambridgeshire Constabulary suggested we carry on with our input using the modern magic of video conferencing (i.e. Zoom).
It wasn’t easy telling our stories and teaching our material. We couldn’t see the looks on the faces of the students. We couldn’t read their body language, so we had to just “go for it”. Later I could tell from our feedback that students were taking in the truth that addiction is complex and comes from things that happen to us years earlier, often when we are children. The learning was helped by pausing so the students could take a few minutes to talk in small groups about what they thought was most important from the training so far. That really helped and I’m sure made a difference to the success of the session and high scores they gave us in their feedback.
I’m not sure why this is one of my best experiences over the last year or so. Maybe it was the moving feedback from police recruits showing appreciation and respect for someone who had been strung out on crack and heroine! Maybe it was just the rollercoaster of a day crashing due to my covid test as I imagined all my rewarding work for the next week morphing into boredom, then climbing to fullfilment of bringing together a room of people seeing our similarities, whether police or recovering addicts.