Haringey residents are celebrating the launch of theWORM, a new service-user-led magazine aiming to overcome the stigma faced by local people in recovery from alcohol and drugs later this month.
In July last year, a group of people accessing Haringey’s alcohol treatment programme got to talking about how alcohol (and drugs) had taken over their lives and, now that they were recovering, they wanted to do something to address the stigma faced by people recovering.
So what are those misconceptions that people in recovery face? “That we’re all on the dole, lazy and lack self-control,” one group member told us.
Jac Geraghty, a founder member, told us that: “As a group, we believe that alcohol and drugs have ruined a tiny part of our lives; the rest is still in front of us. We dreamt up the idea of magazine to get that positive message out there.”
Alex Gostwick, Service-User Involvement Coordinator, at the Haringey Recovery Service, who has worked with the team in making the project happen, said: “theWORM magazine is hard proof that people in recovery are both talented and capable of producing great things. Given the right space, treatment and support, people can achieve a full recovery from addiction, and in the process work to overcome recovery misconceptions.”
The magazine’s name, theWORM, came next and aims to encapsulate the ethos of the project: working to overcome recovery misconceptions.
Buoyed up by general enthusiasm about the idea, Jac, now Editor-in-Chief, and staff at Haringey Recovery Service applied for a pot of funding available for alcohol and drug service-user projects, Bright Sparks, provided by Haringey Council. The bid was successful – now the hard work started.
“Mainly the magazine grew through conversations in the backyard over a cuppa. Someone would say ‘Oh I could maybe do a cartoon but I’m not sure…’ and we’d give them the time and encouragement to needed to do it,” said Jac about the process of building the team.
Soon the magazine had a cartoon, feature articles, haikus, artwork, recipes, a resident agony aunt and a sports page.
The first edition of the magazine is now back from the printers and being hand delivered to over seventy locations locally and nationally, including libraries and GP surgeries. The team are now moving into the brave new world of business, Jac told us: “After the initial grant we got runs out, theWORM has to be totally self-funding. We’re inviting local businesses and charities to buy advertising space to enable us to continue breaking down stigma.”
Residents are cordially invited to the official launch on Wednesday 22nd July at Haringey Recovery Service, 590 Seven Sisters Road, London, N15 6HR from 2pm to 4pm. The launch will include food and refreshments, music, a poetry slam and a film screening.