IF you ever really wondered how things look through the legendary “beer goggles”, then an alcohol awareness group gave you the chance last week.
The infamous goggles - showing how your perception would be altered after drinking around a dozen pints of beer - were part of Calderdale In Recovery’s armoury to show people how alcohol can negatively affect lives when it becomes an addiction, and that help is available.
Calderdale In Recovery representative Neil Capstick, of Walsden, and other team members were out and about in Calderdale last week to mark alcohol awareness week, promoted by the Alcohol Concern charity.
Neil said the team were on hand to offer information and advice at Hebden Bridge market last Wednesday and on Todmorden Market last Thursday.
They caught the eye with their beer goggles and had had a special door built, people being given the chance to don the goggles and then see how hard it was to go through the door, recreating the experience someone who had drunk a lot of alcohol would have.
Neil said Calderdale In Recovery, with help from NHS Calderdale and other agencies were supporting the Alcohol Concern campaign and encouraging people to log on to www.alcoholconcern.org, where more information and an online charter were available.
Although the beer goggles test was a fun eye-opener and the issue of alcohol abuse is serious, Calderdale In Recovery does not aim to preach but is an enabling organisation, able to point people in the right direction of what sort of help is right for them, once they have decided they need to seek it.
Neil explained that Calderdale In Recovery is made up of people who have been through issues with alcohol or drugs themselves. He had alcohol problems but it was now four and a half years since he stopped.
“Everryone who works through Calderdale In Recovery has gone through experiences themselves and are in recovery, now acting as champions for, and able to mentor, people.
“We grew from initiatives such as the Basement Project and we are now setting the national standard for a project like this,” he said.
As well as established organisations like the Basement Project, which offers help and advice relating to drink and drug problems, Calderdale In Recovery has links with many other bodies incuding GPs, treatment services and community help groups. Project Colt, Conn3ct, ARC (Asian Recovery Community), Contour from the Calderdale Alcohol Service and En-Route are others it has close links with.
It is an enabling group and can offer advice on which path to recovery was the right one for a person to take as not all were the same.
“They key to recovery is finding your own way through it. We have representatives from all the different angles. The will has to come from the person but the support we can offer can be invaluable and it can make such a big diffrence and save people’s lives,” said Neil.
They were able to show that being in recovery people can contribute to the community, with a support network of family, friends and other help.
Help in running the weeks events had come from several quarters - as well as NHS Calderdale, Calderdale Council had given Calderdale In Recovery the relevant licences to run the campaign, the council’s markets department had donated stall space, Calderdale College had made the free-standing door for the “goggles” test, and other space had been given by various media to promote the week.
“For me it represents local communities working together. It is more effective and relevant when local people are involved. The ‘Big Society’ may be a bit trite for some people but in something like this it can really work, a return to old values,” said Neil.
The team had received a good response throughout last week - they also held events in Halifax on Monday, Sowerby Bridge on Tuesday, Elland on Friday, the week ending on Saturday at an event hosted by the area’s emergency services at Halifax Piece Hall.
If people are worried about their drinking or that of someone close to them, they can also speak in confidence to their GP, their practice nurse or any of the organisations supporting people to stop drinking in Calderdale, project Colt, the Basement and Calderdale Alcohol Service.