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My Story: Gin

About eight years ago I decided that I wanted to do counselling courses, this meant that I had to get volunteer placements in order to get experience and counselling hours that were required for the course. After qualifying I had to stop the volunteering work that I was doing due to other commitments. Then about 18 months ago I was in a position to start volunteering again.

I have a family member whom SMART has helped so I had a long conversation with them about how they had been supported.  I decided that it was something that I would like to know more about, so I enquired as to whether there were any volunteer placements available.

Gin - A SMART VolunteerAfter an informal interview and then an induction I was volunteering, this was totally out of my comfort zone as I had previously been working with young people and had not had much to do with drug and alcohol misuse.  SMART supports adults, of all ages, assisting them in finding the tools to assist them on their journey. I didn’t have much knowledge around drugs and alcohol misuse, but was willing to learn and SMART were willing to show me.

I have found the whole experience very rewarding. I have supported people with all variety of issues around their drugs or alcohol problems. There are some that are more willing to change and work with you than others, meaning there is always a new challenge around the corner and that I am always learning.

The staff are very supportive and are more than willing to assist if there is anything I am unsure of, making me feel like I have become an important part of the team in SMART.

I have now become a senior volunteer and have a little more responsibility, I am able to have my own case load, running a support group and there are plenty more opportunities for me to get involved with the day to day work that keeps an agency like SMART going.

SMART forms a vital part of people’s recovery from substance misuse and being part of the support network shows me that I am making a difference and that in turn gives me a real sense of achievement.

Gin, SMART Volunteer