One of the most amazing things about the United Kingdom is their extensive list of services for recovery. That is why when I began my internship, I was instructed to learn about the other organizations within the recovery circle and pick a few I would be interested in visiting. CASA is known as a first step program. This means that anyone in the borough can come in to drop in, receive an intake assessment and ultimately get some help. Therefore, I was interested in learning more about the next couple of steps.
Outside of the Blenheim Network, CASA works with two major organizations: IDASS and Cranstoun. After only hearing back from IDASS, I found it was very important to meet with them as my organization works with them daily. IDASS has two sectors: North and South. South works mainly with alcohol issues while North works mainly with drug issues. Often, CASA will refer clients to IDASS South as they are more inclined to deal with high risk clients. This entails a substance misuse situation with other major factors such as involvement with social services or a severe mental disorder.
On the day I went to IDASS I was unsure what to expect. I had contacted the manager, known as A.C for anonymity, to see if I could tour the facility and ask some questions. I had meant to imply that I was interested in interviewing her as she had been so helpful in my previous weeks but I was unsure if that message came across. In the end, though, it worked out and I was able to sit down and ask her questions and just learn more about the field.
The primary take away I took from our conversation was that experience does not necessarily need to be in the field you hope to pursue. You will learn valuable skill sets in whatever job you do. A.C. began her career 25 years ago in a very different field working in business. She decided to test the addiction field as a way t pass time until she figured out her next step. This ultimately led to her being the manager of IDASS South. The reason this advice was so important was that halfway through my internship I felt very lost. I was not doing what I was promised I would be doing and I did not see how my internship would benefit my future career. For many weeks I was placed at reception in the morning and instructed to file cabinets in the afternoon. However, it was after meeting with A.C. that I began to understand how the work I was doing could help in the future. I was learning valuable skills and this summer would work as a stepping stone for the next major opportunity. I was able to network with various individuals in the recovery process so in the future I can reach out to an organization that is tailored more to my future. A.C. taught me that it is not about what you learn, but how you immerse that knowledge into your life. While I may not be working in the exact field I want or doing the exact things I want, I’ve still learned skills that will be beneficial to my success in the end.