My name is Donna and I am the Recovery Services Support Advocate for FAST.  The recovery services support advocate assist’s FAST’s recovery services team in developing recovery services and activities on site at 2A Wellmount Road in Finglas.  This role is the first paid role in line with the National; Drugs Strategy around Peer to Peer support for people at all levels of recovery from substances.

In 2017 following my own experience overcoming addiction where I was availing of services for many years, I applied to undertake a degree in Social Care in Blanchardstown University.  The reason I went into this was because I wanted to be able to offer the same level of support that was shown to me while I addressed my own addiction.  For many years I had been on the outer side of the GP’s desk, but I was lost and didn’t even know my own worth or capabilities.  Thankfully I was encouraged by my peer group and family in that they had more belief in me then I had in myself.    Throughout this life changing process, I learned I had good communication skills, I am good at engaging with people and I am good at processing information. I learned I work best in a team as I  still need support sometimes, I respect anyone who takes on the recovery journey and know first-hand how difficult it can be with many obstacles and barriers along the way and yet with the right support you learn to believe you can do or be anyone you want to be.  I hid too long behind my addiction, and this was my chance to shine.

I started my role here at FAST two weeks ago and cannot believe the range of supports available to people for the Finglas area. I was very encouraged by the level of interagency work and how services help each other out.  I am now the lead in the recovery social group and recovery planning group and feel this is where my skill set is, helping others to gain what I have worked so hard to keep, my recovery.  I have developed recovery capital in terms of healthy relationships, goal setting and achieving, housing, drug free, education and reducing stigma.

We do recover!!!!!