The Anglican Bishop of Jarrow, the Right Revd Mark Bryant, and Lord Lieutenant of Durham Sue Snowdon have visited a unique centre which helps recovering drug and alcohol addicts.
The NHS-funded Durham County Council Public Health Recovery Academy in Peterlee, east Durham, was set up to enable recovery from drug and alcohol dependency
Opened in December 2011, the academy is the first of its kind in the region and delivers a 12-step recovery model based on the original 12 steps of Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous, to enable recovery from addiction.
The visit by the Bishop of Jarrow and the Lord Lieutenant followed a service held at Durham Cathedral several weeks ago for recovering addicts.
Bishop Mark, who has worked with the Academy for some time and took the service, said: â€œIt was probably the most remarkable service I have ever attended at Durham Cathedral.
â€œWhat was most remarkable was the openness and honesty that they showed. I vividly remember one of them saying that the first thing he was told when he went to the recovery community was â€˜we will love you until you start to love yourselfâ€™ which goes to the heart of what we all need as human beings.
â€œI suggested to the Lord Lieutenant that she should meet what are the most remarkable group of people I know in the North East. â€œThey know what it is like to hit rock bottom and show an openness and honesty. It is a remarkable story.â€
Lord Lieutenant Sue Snowdon said: â€œThe people were very open and honest about their previous lives and how they are trying to turn their lives around.
â€œThe centre is about helping people who have come to the very depths and the centre allows them to share experiences and know that they are not alone. I am very impressed by the project. It has been an inspirational and motivational experience.â€œ
Dot Turton, Area Manager NECA, said: â€œThe visit means so much. The people that who have been in addictive addiction for years at times have been shunned by society and have lost just about everything, including friends and family. To have people show an interest in their lives boosts their self-esteem and their confidence which ultimately helps their recovery.â€
Mark Harrison, the joint Drug and Alcohol Commissioner for Durham County Council, said: â€œBefore we set up the Academy, we reviewed whether or not people could recover from addiction and found that 99 per cent of people thought that they could not because they were only seeing failures.
â€œOur success rate is 60 percent which is up there with the best national figures and the effect on communities and families is phenomenal. They are seeing people healthy and putting something back into their communities.â€