Some days are better than others – and working with men who are often ex-addicts brings its own peculiar difficulties.

In my life, before this, I employed quite a few people and the day after a bank holiday was never great… I called them ‘come-down Tuesdays’!

Man walking through fieldSo after the recent May bank holiday I wasn’t entirely surprised to find that Lenny was the only man standing – a prison hold-up and a couple of other bank holiday type occurrences had conspired to cause rather low numbers.

No matter; an excellent opportunity for some good one-to-one working. Lenny has more than his fair share of issues and to be honest, he is at times a wee bit intense, so we would make the most of this unusual opportunity.

As the morning wore on, it became apparent that his initial disclosure about his own ‘off-key’ lifestyle was just the tip of something rather more onerous.

You can imagine how glad I was to see Mic. Mic is an inspirational woodworker and talented artist; the guys adore him and his unique, quirky teaching style is wonderful – engaging everyone.

“It is difficult to describe the full-on intensity of one recovering addict”

He comes in once or twice a week, delivering basic carpentry skills, whilst providing a friendly shoulder. Mic took over from me and I made us all a nice cup of tea.

Over the ‘nice cup of tea’ it became apparent that we were both finding this unusually hard going; it is difficult to describe the full-on intensity of one recovering addict. “It’s all about me” is barely a taster, let alone some of the detailed descriptions, which whether true or not can be quite disturbing.

As we slumped exhausted at the end of the innings, a period of reflection was needed. Lenny was only a month or so in and our past experience clearly indicates that it gets easier.

These guys lead chaotic lives, full-octane and live-by-the-minute; drama everywhere. We concluded that in our normal group some of this daily intensity is dissipated and often others further on in their recovery help things along; we certainly missed them.

Anyway…better days are coming, better days ahead, but some days…just exhausting!