Massages helping drug users and alcoholics to kick habit at Hull centre
RECOVERING drug users and alcoholics are being given head massages and acupuncture treatments to help them kick their habits.
The therapies are part of an intensive three-month programme at a west Hull rehabilitation unit, which this week celebrated its first 12 months.
The RecoveryWorks unit was launched a year ago after a previous supported housing project in St George's Road lost its funding.
The funding cut prompted social housing group Riverside ECHG to rethink its operation at the site and open a nine-bed residential rehab unit instead.
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People with drink and drug problems are usually referred there by health specialists after assessments are carried out by social services.
Places are also available for people who wish to fund themselves.
"The programme we offer here is unique to Hull and is a first for Riverside, too," said RecoveryWorks team leader Gail Lyon.
"Our approach is very much based on empowering people to find their own route into recovery.
"The programme includes daily group meetings involving all our clients, group therapy and one-to-one counselling sessions.
"We also offer a full range of holistic activities, including therapeutic treatments such as Indian head massages and acupuncture, which are particularly good at dealing with cravings."
People who go through the programme have to remain free from drugs and alcohol for the duration of their stay.
So far, the unit says its clients have managed a 100 per cent abstinence rate over the past 12 months while 80 per cent have completed the programme.
"When some people arrive here their lifestyle is often very chaotic," Ms Lyon said. "They might have been through a detox programme or just lost their way.
"As a result, they receive very intensive support in the first couple of weeks but we always encourage all the clients to take a leading role by helping each other."
Calvin Knowles, 38, is currently staying at the unit and is halfway through the programme.
He said: "I was drinking a one-litre bottle of vodka every day along with bottles of cider.
"I was clean for five weeks before I came here and I am proud of myself to have got this far.
"The group sessions have really helped me because we all share a lot of stuff and support each other."
Once they have completed the programme, clients can move into temporary accommodation next to the unit provided by Riverside or return to their own homes.