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How is your week going?

I am just ordering my 4th breathalyser device.

For the last 6 years I have only had/needed one alcohol detection kit. But during this last year, readings have been so extraordinarily high that on two occasions the level of alcohol on an individual’s breath has permanently distorted and broken the device! I have discovered that it is essential to have two working breathalysers at any time, just in case!

I sense you have a certain amount of surprise that I even need to conduct alcohol tests.

Well, I do. Usually at 9 am, not every day and not for everybody, just when my suspicions are aroused. But, since lockdown, far more regularly than ever before.

My rationale for testing is twofold…

– Turning up on the site under the influence of anything mind-altering means you simply cannot be attending LandWorks and a 3-day time-out usually follows.

– I use this test to reflect back to an individual just exactly where they are on their recovery journey.

This allows, and often instigates, a remarkably frank and honest discussion. Because there is nowhere left to hide, no more excuses about a couple of glasses of cider the night before. You have to face the truth; you have to tell me about the drink you just had on the bus coming out here.

One individual’s hand was shaking so much we struggled to get the breathalyser to his lips… he was okay but detoxing.

A sad set of new records has occurred, each more unbelievable than the last one. Three times over the limit, 5 and then 6, and then machine malfunction.

Vodka is the most common poison of choice.

Before going to court, being sentenced, getting into recovery, and then attending LandWorks, drinking 3 litres of vodka/day is not uncommon.

Is it getting worse because of the pandemic and lockdown?

– Well, we are certainly working with many more people in alcohol recovery than ever before.

– Other support agencies are reporting a sharp rise in people presenting with alcohol problems.

– Street drug dealing has reduced, because (possibly) there are more police on the streets, and addicts looking for a hit just pop into the local supermarket to buy ‘cut price vodka’.

Substance misuse or addiction is often why a crime or multiple crimes have been committed. So, does attending LandWorks change anything? Does it work?

We are not a rehab clinic, but our normal supportive activities directly help, not afraid to reflect and challenge an individual’s thinking or behaviour as we go. We also provide weekly counselling sessions to support people on their journey. And recently, we have started hosting a weekly drug and alcohol misuse workshop provided on site by our local NHS trust.

For those who need a safe environment, support and who genuinely wish to change their lives… It can and does work.


25th February 2021