Recovery Month: Facing up to challenges and barriers
Celine Dillen, Donna Doyle, Ciaran Byrne, Pamela Devereaux and Pearse Stafford in TU Dublin–Tallaght Campus

Recovery Month: Facing up to challenges and barriers

INTERNATIONAL Recovery Month was celebrated with an event in TUDublin –Tallaght Campus last Thursday evening, September 29, which saw students in recovery share their experiences.

The event marked the first time the college has celebrated International Recovery Month and was attended by local drug-project workers and students from the college.

Jobstown woman and social care worker Celine Dillon, who teaches the addiction and substance misuse modules to fourth year students in the college’s Applied Social Care course, organised the event.

“I’ve been teaching in the college for the last five years so there’s a couple of students I’ve taught who’ve been in recovery,” Ms Dillon told The Echo.

“I teach the addiction studies and substance misuse modules, so students will have conversations about recovery and some of them have been open about being in recovery.

“They’ve mentioned that they’ve done it without supports in the college – particularly over Christmas and exams, which tend to be trigger points to people in recovery.”

Many of the students have continued to receive support outside the college, but Ms Dillon said she hopes that students in the Tallaght Campus will be able to access services in the college to help.

At the International Recovery Monthly event in TU Dublin–Tallaght Campus

While those services are not provided in the college as yet, many workers from local drug projects who attended the event last week offered their support to the students.

Three speakers at the event, including UCD graduate and social care worker Pierce Stafford, and current students Pamela Devereux and Ciaran Byrne, shared their journeys to recovery.

“There’s stigma attached to people in recovery,” explained Ms Dillon. “There’s the struggle to get clean, the commitment they make to stay that way, and the struggle of getting stable and staying there.

“Recovery isn’t celebrated because it’s not understood, and there are challenges and barriers that people face in recovery that people don’t understand unless they’ve been there.”

James, Danny, Helena, Cheryl and Stefan

However, the event on Thursday did allow recovery to be celebrated, as did an event in the college on Friday, which saw the college light up purple – the official colour of Recovery Month.

“It was quite overwhelming and emotional that most people came to celebrate those who, I suppose, aren’t usually seen or heard,” said Ms Dillon.

Research is currently being carried out by staff in the Tallaght and Blanchardstown campuses to establish how many students are in recovery, and what supports they require from the colleges.

“I’m currently in the middle of a piece of research where every student on both campuses will be asked to fill out an anonymous survey,” explained Ms Dillon.

“It will show how many people are in recovery, and hopefully the data will allow us to access funding to put services in place in the college for those affected by addiction.”

In relation to the Recovery Month events last week, Ms Dillon wanted to thank AIB Tallaght, Kickstart Fitness, the Square, the Tallaght Drug and Alcohol Task and the Tallaght Rehabilitation Project for their support.


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