Volunteer story: Emir - Tayside Council on Alcohol
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Emir beside a pool table

Volunteer story: Emir

As part of Recovery Month we are talking to our volunteers at TCA who make a big difference to the lives of our service users. Today we spoke to Emir, co-facilitator of our young people’s group, Motiv8.

What has it been like to volunteer with TCA?

I’ve loved it. It’s been great being involved with the kids, just seeing them grow and develop over the last year and a half. When they first come in to the group they are a bit guarded and then their walls come down when they realise you are a trusted adult and they can have fun.

What brought you to TCA?

I received counselling at TCA in the past and my counsellor was really supportive, empathic and understanding. When I reflected back on the experience after my recovery, I felt really struck by how good the service was, and I wanted to give something back.

What have you learned on your recovery journey?

I used to be too passive before; I was saying yes to things that were not in my best interests and it was a kind of people pleasing thing. It was all too easy to say to people “yes okay I’ll do that” and neglect my own needs.  Early on in my recovery I discovered that “no” is an answer too. When I say “no”, I say it with confidence, in a nice way. Being able to stay consistent with my boundaries has been really important for my recovery. Another thing I learned is that every person you meet is either a lesson or a blessing and I find that to be a good way of looking at life.

What does recovery mean to you?

Emir with his two daughters

Emir with his daughters

Recovery means that I can be a dad, a son, a brother, an uncle and a reliable friend… someone who is accountable. It also means that I can enjoy life rather than living in fear of being found out; I can look people in the eye.

We are really glad to hear that you have a new job, tell us about it?           

I am working at Jericho House in Dundee as a Support Worker and Activities Co-ordinator. I was there as a service user in the past and have also been volunteering there for a year. I have just completed my first week and it is going fantastic. I’m looking forward to helping to change lives, not just for the people I work with but for their families as well. Recovery has a ripple effect on everyone and that happens in both directions; when someone is in recovery that is positive for everyone around them. It’s good knowing that the family members of our residents have peace of mind that their loved ones are in a safe place getting help.

What have been the best bits about volunteering for TCA?

Volunteering for TCA has given me confidence. It has helped me to feel worthy in the sense that I have the experience and ability to help others. I have loved seeing the kids grow and develop at such a young age. The fact that they have always looked forward to the groups is amazing. When they found out I was leaving for my new job, they were trying to come up with scenarios to make me stay, which was really touching. I’m so glad that I have been able to be reliable for them and a positive role model. The fun element of Motiv8 has also brought out my inner child. The experience as a whole has given me a deepened sense of gratitude about my own children and the time I have with them.

What would you say to someone else if they were thinking about volunteering for TCA?

I would say go for it, you are part of a team and it is almost like a family. In your head you can get a stigma between being a volunteer and being a paid worker, but here you are made to feel part of the team straight away. That feel good factor of being a positive influence and seeing kids develop – you can’t put a price on that. You see kids coming into the group and by week 3 or 4 they have become totally relaxed with each other.

If you would like to find out more about volunteering with TCA or would like to make a donation to help us keep doing the great work that we do, get in touch with us at volunteering@alcoholtayside.com or go to our Virgin Giving donation page. If you would like to find out more about the Motiv8 group or our other young people’s groups contact Georgia.Kinghorn@alcoholtayside.com or phone 01382 456012.

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