Where are my keys? What about the flowers? There’s flowers? Who’s got them? What if no-one comes? Damn I’ve bought cordial instead of the sparkling elderflower juice thingy drink! Is anyone coming? And off we go….a teeny weeny insight into about 0.000005 of a millisecond of my thought processes for around 5 hours (minimum) before an event.
The day before “the big event” the sun had shone relentlessly and Wisteria cascaded over, up and around every wall and corner, teasing us into thinking it was the Summer. But it was my Book Launch for Steering The Mothership, an event in May in the UK, so the rain came. Inevitably. And of course, it mattered not one bit!
As I entered the room where the Book Launch would be held, my jaw literally hit the floor. You see, this wasn’t some ponsey, champagne flutes in a swanky London hotel kind of event. (Although I’m sure those affairs are very lovely in their own sweet way). It was so much much more than that. The event was held at The Ley Community (TLC), a therapeutic intervention recovery centre for addiction.
The residents here were welcoming, cooking, serving and generally looking after the guests and before any of that commenced, they had decorated the room and it was beautiful. Bunting circled the walls, flowers were on every table. It was perfect. It really really was. (Here is a pic of Wendy Dawson CEO of TLC and me with my Angel painting that was auctioned on the evening. )
The room started filling up nicely at around 6.30pm and by 7pm we had an audience of around 60/70 people and we were ready to begin. My amazing publisher, Julie, was MC and auctioneer for the evening and set the scene for the speakers.
I spent time talking about trauma, attachment, complex and interrupted mothering and why we were having the Book Launch at TLC. Without going into the full story here, I can tell you that we there because of Craig, someone I met during my time in care back in the 1980’s.
We both self medicated but I got sober at 20. He on the other hand nursed a 15 year heroin addiction and a life of criminality. TLC saved him, created and gave him a life which he now embraces fully so of course, he said a few words too.
Next up came the beautiful Anne-Marie who lost Martha, her 15 year old daughter last July to half a gram of MDMA. Not a user. An experimenting teenager who paid the ultimate price. And when Anne-Marie speaks, the room is honourably silent in the stillest of ways as we listen to the story no-one wants to be the teller of…..
Finally we heard from Wendy Dawson, the CEO of TLC, talking about the programme, how it works and what makes it gift an 84% success rate of recovery to it’s residents. A charity. And that my friends, is why I’m raising funds for them.
And what made it so special? Love, honesty and vulnerability. One of the greatest gifts that people spoke of afterwards had been listening to the stories of the residents while they were being shown around TLC. Connection. When we as a society start to understand that mental health and addiction, more often than not, are the manifestation of childhood trauma, compassion will finally be the order of the day as opposed to incarceration, medication, loathing and judgement.