Situation

We created Foundation for Change because we repeatedly saw and heard that the drug and alcohol treatment system was desperately failing those it was intending to help.

UK services are seriously under-funded, over-saturated and increasingly unsustainable given pressures on public finances. Operating in anything but firefighting mode to address escalating problems means that the roots of the problems – the addiction only being one aspect - are never addressed and frequently reoccur.

The latter stages of treatment – aftercare and employment support in particular – have borne the brunt of cuts to funding. Individuals are exiting treatment having stopped the drugs or alcohol without having a clear idea of what caused their addiction in the first place. Given ever-shortening treatment times, people are leaving not being equipped to live in the world without the crutch of their substances.

Unsurprisingly, relapse rates are high and a revolving door culture exists that comes at a significant cost to society.

To the individuals themselves, who feel they are unable to sustain their recovery, there is a personal sense of failure, defectiveness, shame and helplessness that is reinforced with each relapse. These are the feelings that keep people excluded from society.

Our response

We believe a significant change is needed.

We have an evidence-based approach crafted over a ten year period. It emphasises the need for people with histories of drug or alcohol addiction to be able to make sense of their experiences, understand the reasons they were using substances problematically in the first place and develop the resilience needed to live in an increasingly challenging world.

Our approach uses applied psychology, philosophy and feminist theory to help people understand the root causes of their addiction not just from the perspective of personal experience, but – importantly – within the wider context of social inequality. Both of these have a powerful, de-stigmatising effect and help people let go of much of the shame they carry about their pasts.

We do not know of anywhere else that looks at addiction in this way

"FfC brought me into contact with ideas, psychological models, a view of myself and a sense of hope in a way that no psychiatrist, rehab, keyworker or therapist had ever done." - Sandra

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