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  • Q&A with Craig & Oscar - Peer Support Workers @ Addicted Australia

    Join us as we talk all things addiction and recovery prompted by Addicted Australia and the Rethink Addiction campaign.
    Bamboo [facilitator]
    Community Manager
    Posts: 223
    Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2020 7:46 pm

    Q&A with Craig & Oscar - Peer Support Workers @ Addicted Australia

    Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:03 pm

    Welcome everyone :) You may have seen the recent episodes of Addicted Australia, a four part series aiming to bring the conversation about addiction into the public consciousness. The series, a joint project between Turning Point, Blackfella Films and SBS, follows 10 Australians and their families as they live with addiction and engage in recovery. Addiction is one of Australia’s most misunderstood health conditions. We want to change the conversation about addiction and tackle the stigma and misinformation that stops people getting the help they need.

    We’re excited to announce that this Thursday 10th December from 2pm – 4pm AEST we will have special guests Oscar and Craig joining us for round 2 of Q&A on the forum. You might remember seeing Oscar and Craig on Addicted Australia running the Peer Support group for the participants. Both Oscar and Craig bring with them a wealth of knowledge and real lived experience on the journey of recovering from addiction. They will be available to answer your questions and share their experiences.

    We invite you to post Craig and Oscar any questions you may have about addiction, recovery, treatment or the documentary in preparation for our live discussion on Thursday.

    Join the conversation, we know the story of addiction is powerful and we want to strengthen the story of recovery.

    Learn more about Craig and Oscar below.


    Craig's bio

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    Craig's current role includes Counselling and Group Facilitation within Turning Point's 28-day detox and stabilisation program at Wellington house and Ward 1East. As well as providing therapeutic, educational, creative and relapse prevention groups, Craig also conducts activities such as bush walking, swimming and other mild outdoor pursuits. Craig aims to assist clients to understand their addiction, adopt strategies to achieve their abstinence or harm minimisation goals, and establish a positive routine moving forwards working off four main elements of discovery, hope, empowerment and connection.

    Craig holds a Diploma of Alcohol and Other Drugs and a Diploma of Mental Health. He has also completed Intentional Peer Support (IPS) Training and Peer Worker Training. Craig has a lived experience of addiction.

    What made you want to become a peer support worker?

    The rehab I attended was owned and operated by people with lived experience of addiction. I found connection and hope through shared experience with the workers that hadn’t existed for me before. More importantly, I found a purpose and decided to use my experience to help others in the same way I had been helped. I left rehab and five weeks later began studying my diplomas.

    See more here.


    Oscar's bio

    Image

    Oscar's role as a peer support worker is to share his lived experience of addiction & recovery, role model hope, provide recovery education through group facilitation, assist people in making new connections after leaving treatment, and to walk alongside people on their journey.

    Oscar also provides bridging support for people at all stages of the referral process for detox, counselling and care & recovery. Oscar is currently completing a Diploma of Community Services and has completed IPS (Intentional Peer Support) training and SHARC Peer Worker training.

    See more here.

    Post your questions by clicking "Post reply" below and join us back on Thursday at 2pm for a chat with Craig and Oscar :)
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    Succulent
    Junior Member
    Posts: 2
    Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2020 12:55 pm

    Re: Q&A with Craig & Oscar - Peer Support Workers @ Addicted Australia

    Thu Dec 03, 2020 11:26 am

    Hi guys, thanks for doing the q&a session. In your opinion what is the best way to overcome the fear and stigma of reaching out for support? Do you have any advice from your own experiences?
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    forest
    Junior Member
    Posts: 15
    Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:40 pm

    Re: Q&A with Craig & Oscar - Peer Support Workers @ Addicted Australia

    Thu Dec 03, 2020 1:35 pm

    Hi Craig and Oscar, thanks so much for doing this Q&A.

    My question is:
    What do you think peer support offers that formal medical support doesn't? How can the two complement each other?

    Look forward to hearing what you think :)
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    AnnAnn
    Junior Member
    Posts: 10
    Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:41 pm

    Re: Q&A with Craig & Oscar - Peer Support Workers @ Addicted Australia

    Thu Dec 03, 2020 1:59 pm

    Hi Craig and Oscar,

    My questions are
    - How can we decide when peer support or formal treatment is more appropriate?
    - What role do you think the criminal justice system plays in addressing drug addiction?
    1 x
    Bamboo [facilitator]
    Community Manager
    Posts: 223
    Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2020 7:46 pm

    Re: Q&A with Craig & Oscar - Peer Support Workers @ Addicted Australia

    Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:00 pm

    Hi everyone we are kicking off our live Q&A with [mention]Craig PW[/mention] :) Oscar will be joining us around 3pm.

    We're really excited to have you both on the forum to share your lived experience, peer support work and involvement in Addicted Australia documentary. It was incredible to be able to follow the recovery journey of 10 very brave individuals and their families.

    What was that experience like for you to be a part of?

    What do you think is the biggest barrier for people in getting treatment?

    How did you get started with your own recovery journey?

    I can see we already have a couple of great questions from our community too :)
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    Craig PW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 95
    Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2020 1:35 pm

    Re: Q&A with Craig & Oscar - Peer Support Workers @ Addicted Australia

    Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:10 pm

    Howdy! Great to be here.........I think I'll get stuck straight into the questions from the community and then answer yours [mention]Bamboo [facilitator][/mention]
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    hto26
    Junior Member
    Posts: 1
    Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:04 pm

    Re: Q&A with Craig & Oscar - Peer Support Workers @ Addicted Australia

    Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:12 pm

    Hi all :)

    Love the show and the treatment plans provided to the patients. I was wondering if this treatment option depicted as a whole is aimed to help people with more social supports/ current stable living arrangements. I can see it works extremely well for those that have a stable home to go back to/some financial income. But can imagine some would struggle attending appointments to then go home and have all the right supports to help them abstain from whatever they use.
    Is this kind of treatment better for those who have perhaps just finished rehab/ detox and are needing them supports post returning home?

    Thanks!! :)
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    AnnAnn
    Junior Member
    Posts: 10
    Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:41 pm

    Re: Q&A with Craig & Oscar - Peer Support Workers @ Addicted Australia

    Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:13 pm

    - What impacts do you think the documentary will bring to people who are going through or seeking treatments for addiction?

    - What role do you think the media is playing in regards to providing misconceptions about addiction?

    - What are your opinions about the spiritual dimension in the treatment of addiction?

    - How do you think other mental disorders co-existing with drug addiction will affect drug addiction treatment?
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    Craig PW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 95
    Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2020 1:35 pm

    Re: Q&A with Craig & Oscar - Peer Support Workers @ Addicted Australia

    Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:22 pm

    First up is [mention]Succulent[/mention]

    This is going to sound really simple but.........just do it

    My experience has been that stigma has been greatly reduced in recent years. As soon as I tell people I'm in recovery it starts a conversation about someone they know or even of their own struggles. The judgment is usually my own...............it's my own fear telling me not to speak up. Once I started to share with other addicts I found that I wasn't alone and lots of people shared the same fears I did

    GP's can be great to start talking to and put you in touch with drug and alcohol services

    Get yourself to an AA or NA or any of the other 12 step meetings and tell someone it's your first meeting.............you'll be met with nothing but an amazing welcome and they'll look after you (they're online at the moment which is even better and makes it easier to just sit and listen). You might choose to sit and listen - you don't have to say anything at a meeting and plenty of people have taken a long time before they speak

    Speak to people about their experiences on places like this forum.......................I think the resounding message will be that the hardest thing to do was take that first step but that once they did it became easier

    Remember.....................the addiction is trying to isolate you so the best thing you can do to take its power away is to talk about it
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    Craig PW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 95
    Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2020 1:35 pm

    Re: Q&A with Craig & Oscar - Peer Support Workers @ Addicted Australia

    Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:32 pm

    Hi [mention]forest[/mention]

    One of the biggest things is that peer support isn't necessarily about getting an outcome. It's about listening and sharing experiences. It's just about being there to talk about things which is often what is needed most

    I've found that people open up much quicker to me as a peer and will tell me things that might take a clinician three or four sessions to get to the answer. This then allows me to advocate for the client and talk to the clinician - if the client has agreed for me to share the information. As a peer I work in a confidential space and what we share stays between us.

    But clinicians have their areas of expertise and require information from the clients so if we can help speed up that process then it's a better outcome for everyone but most importantly for the person suffering from addiction

    Peers advocate for the clients and make sure they're needs are being met and that they have a say in how their treatment runs. Basically we can help you navigate the system
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    Stopppies
    Junior Member
    Posts: 7
    Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:56 pm

    Re: Q&A with Craig & Oscar - Peer Support Workers @ Addicted Australia

    Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:35 pm

    Hi Oscar and Craig, reading your bios I can see you have worked hard to change stuff in your life, I'm curious how being a peer worker has impacted your recovery? TIA Stopppies :)
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    Craig PW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 95
    Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2020 1:35 pm

    Re: Q&A with Craig & Oscar - Peer Support Workers @ Addicted Australia

    Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:49 pm

    Hi [mention]AnnAnn[/mention]

    In answer to : How can we decide when peer support or formal treatment is more appropriate?

    It depends what you mean by peer support...................but I think it should make up a part of formal treatment and can be a continuous part of the treatment. For instance if you contact our service we can get a peer worker to call you while you're on the waiting list for counselling, detox or whatever. Then we have peer workers at the detox. After your treatment we now have a new peer group that you can join and check in to once per week. We can also get a peer worker to call you after you've discharged and maintain contact

    Aside from formal treatment though I'm a big advocate for 12 step recovery and believe that you can achieve recovery that way too. Basically I think it just depends on what works for you and you have to try everything to find out. try formal treatment. Try 12 step. Try other peer groups. Try doing it ALL and see what works.........................this is an individual process

    In answer to: What role do you think the criminal justice system plays in addressing drug addiction?

    I've seen some great results through the Drug Court and know people who have turned their lives around with the help of the justice system. I think we can do more to help and the Portugal model is something that should be acknowledged and implemented in Australia - or at least our version of it. We have to look at this holistically and provide more avenues out of addiction rather that keeping people trapped in the cycle.

    We need to do more as far as the justice system is concerned but there has to be consequences for some crimes too
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    Angelgirl
    Junior Member
    Posts: 3
    Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2020 12:54 pm

    Re: Q&A with Craig & Oscar - Peer Support Workers @ Addicted Australia

    Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:50 pm

    Hi. My lovely Dad passed away suddenly in May 2018 and although it has been 2 and a half years, the pain hurts like yesterday. N my opinion, anyone who says "time heals" or "move on" is very insensitive, because until you've walked in these shoes (grief/addiction), you really don't know how it's going to hit you. Part of my heart was gone and that part of my heart will never ever replace, because he took that with him. To top it all off, I am a qualified Social Worker, although I do not work in the AOD field. I am unable to talk to my colleagues about my alcohol addiction, as I work for a religious organisation and I am in a supervisory position. What is your advice for human services professionals who find themselves struggling with such an issue? Thank you :-)
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    Craig PW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 95
    Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2020 1:35 pm

    Re: Q&A with Craig & Oscar - Peer Support Workers @ Addicted Australia

    Thu Dec 03, 2020 3:05 pm

    Now to your questions [mention]Bamboo [facilitator][/mention]

    What was that experience like for you to be a part of?

    Amazing!! I have to admit that going public had a big level of fear associated with it but I hope we've been able to break some stigma and to start people having conversations about addiction. To be part of such a great team from clinicians to film crew and most importantly the participants who all shared the common goal of wanting to make change to the way we treat addiction was pretty bloody special.
    Working with the participants for 12 months now has been awesome. Getting to know them, getting to share the victories and the tough times and watching them all make progress over an extended period of time is something I'll always be grateful for


    What do you think is the biggest barrier for people in getting treatment?

    People don't know where to start - people just don't know what great services are out there and that they are free. They also don't know what to expect from treatment so that perpetuates the fear. Fear of the unknown is a major barrier which is why we need more people to share their experiences.
    Shame plays a massive part too - once you start though it's easier to continue. You start to connect with others, to share the ups and downs and realise that those f****d up thoughts you had aren't so bad - most people have had the same thoughts or worse!
    The hardest thing to do is start - but no matter how long it takes you'll be happy that you did

    How did you get started with your own recovery journey?

    I spoke to my GP who was absolutely amazing..................it was 5 years later that I went to rehab though. She supported me though, planted seeds, worked with me and still does.
    Eventually when the pain became too much to handle I rang a rehab I'd heard about on the radio. I went to rehab and now 5 years in recovery.
    That sounds really simple but between the first conversation with the GP and rehab there was a whole lot of denial...........and a whole lot of pain. Rockbottoms kept getting worse........I thought one day I would control it. What I've learnt is that the only way I can control it is to just not put it in my body or start the behaviour. Once I start I CAN'T stop and there's no shame in that. Now I have accepted that my life is amazing.......not perfect but far better than the alternative
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    Craig PW
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 95
    Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2020 1:35 pm

    Re: Q&A with Craig & Oscar - Peer Support Workers @ Addicted Australia

    Thu Dec 03, 2020 3:10 pm

    I'm a slow typer but am getting there
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