This week is Volunteer’s Week and our helpline volunteer Rebecca has written a few paragraphs on why she volunteers with us and what her role is all about.
Our helpline advisers listen to anyone who calls or webchats us who may be going through a difficult time, looking for information, or who may be struggling to cope with what is happening in their lives. People contact us with all kinds of problems. It could be alcohol or drug use, grief, depression, loneliness, stressful situations, money worries, relationship issues, and many other things.
As a helpline adviser, we ask you to listen, give the person the chance to get things out in the open and talk things through with them. This is what Rebecca does.
‘Growing up, I often felt alone and frightened because of the effects of alcohol use and the destruction it brings to families in the form of anger, sickness, and just total chaos. It was not discussed much because it was and still is not well understood and stigmatised. For a long time I thought it was normal, I thought the anger and chaos was all my fault. As a child, I struggled to have fun, be happy and enjoy life the way a child, teen and young adult should. As I grew older, the problem became more apparent but we still didn’t discuss it in the family. Nobody asked how I felt and there was nobody to talk to about it.
‘I eventually found the support that I needed from a local meeting group for family and friends when I was much older. We would meet and share stories, sometimes crying and sometimes laughing – it was an enormous relief – the power of just talking about problems and concerns is profound. Knowing that there were many people learning to cope with the same strange behaviour and sadness that I was allowed me to grow up from a frightened child into a caring and happy adult. I learned that it was not my fault and came to understand addiction.
‘My family history is my strongest motivation for volunteering with Scottish Families, a charity that provides listening as well as practical support to those who are affected by someone else’s alcohol or drug use. I have been a volunteer for around nine months and simply listen to the stories and concerns of people who love someone who is using alcohol or drugs. Sometimes it is upsetting but knowing that the person may feel less lonely and be on the road to looking after themselves is invaluable. I get a sense of wellbeing from being part of a charity that helps people with the chaos of alcohol and drugs.
‘This is why I support Scottish Families and will continue to do so for as long as possible.’ – Rebecca
We are a small team and we couldn’t do half of what we do without the support from volunteers. Whatever way you volunteer, it means we can continue supporting people in Scotland who are concerned about someone else’s alcohol or drug use.