Telly seems to be famine or feast and this weekend was a total feast with the new series of The Crown, the continuation of His Dark Materials, War of the Worlds and if like us you’ve got teenagers in the house I’m a Celeb. The second season of Craith also started on S4C and I’m waiting for a lull in the comings and goings in the house so I can concentrate on the spoken Welsh, with the English subtitles, as my Welsh is not all that, the English version Hidden is back later in the year but I can’t wait that long.
At the end of last month I was at the Mountain Healthcare Vulnerabilities Conference at TVP’s police training centre, attended by police from across the country, councils, NHS, Public Health, Probation, Service Users, Fire - a full on multi approach approach.
Elizabeth Burton-Phillips gave an intro to DrugFam, talked about what drugs did to her family, answered questions and signed books, It Is What It Is did a production of her book “Mum can you lend me twenty quid”. No matter how many times I see the play or hear EBP talk about addiction and recovery it makes my eyes prickle. (I might have had a prickly eye when she told me about her Special Recognition Award at the National Lottery 25th Birthday and I most certainly did when I watched it on Tuesday.)
There were a number of speakers whose lived experience and advice was shared during the day. A middle aged man who first became homeless at 15, once had a huge beard and was unrecognisable. When his clothes fell apart he put donated ones on top, he didn’t wash for a year and was very ill. His 15 year old daughter found him living on the streets and she gave him a mobile phone so they say goodnight every night. He said he had every good intention about not using the next day “then the beast needing feeding each morning”. He's now in recovery, no beard, clothed, working as a gardener, rebuilding relationships and presenting to the Police.
A woman who dabbled in drugs and unsuitable boyfriends, became a teacher, took Subutex during the week and loads of drugs at the weekend, got caught driving under the influence, banned from teaching, got pregnant, got clean, relapsed, gave birth to a baby who for her first 8 weeks was weaned off heroin, now clean she is a mentor. Even now her story makes my eyes blink and my cheeks damp.
Both of them said drugs are bad and mucked up their lives.
Omar Sharif (not Dr Zhivago) talked about knife crime and winning Pride of Britain.
This is real life, this is what some people are living with, this is so far far away from the perfect life portrayed on Social Media. Sometimes we need a reminder that vulnerabilities come in all guises, that the world isn’t perfect or ideal and that wherever you are there is help available - even if you don’t think anyone cares.