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Calling Dear Albert in the first instance can be the first step to resolving the problem and getting access to the help required.
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What We Do

At Dear Albert we know all about addiction, both through the story of our founder, and through the strengths, experiences and on-going training of the whole team. Dear Albert knows all about the fears and challenges that face those reaching out for support and appreciate how hard asking for support can be.

We also know about how to provide that support. Addressing substance misuse is probably the most significant action a person with a history of drink or drug abuse will ever do. We understand how difficult taking those first steps towards personal discovery and recovery can be. Dear Albert knows how to ensure that when people do take those first tentative steps towards asking for help, the right kind of support is waiting for them. That’s the focus of Dear Albert: ‘we’ve been there, done that’, and now we can show you how to do it too’.

From this secure base Dear Albert delivers targeted support, combining innovative approaches with evidence based initiatives. Our proven approaches can be directed towards individuals and organisations that come into contact with those suffering from active substance misuse. This also includes supporting those that have already achieved abstinence/sobriety, but who want to remain connected to a recovery community as an on-going resource.

We can also help organisations not directly involved with substance misuse, but would nevertheless benefit from some of our approaches in terms of reducing costs, utilising exiting community assets, peer mentor training.

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The Story of Dear Albert

The name Albert was the street name of our director, Jon Roberts; before he entered into drug and alcohol treatment. It relates to the times when he was becoming more and more out of control; eventually leading him to ‘hustling’ for drink and drug money on the streets of Leicester and elsewhere. Albert was his street name. The Dear preceding Albert comes from the time when he finally decided to ask for help and look seriously at ‘saying goodbye to drink and drugs’.

‘In Rehab, one of the things they asked me to do was to write a letter saying goodbye to the addict within. Usually these letters start Dear Addict. When I went back to read what I’d written, I realised I’d written Dear Albert. At that moment I started to understand what was really going on; that my drug and alcohol use had become part of an elaborate falsehood. From that moment on I decided that I didn’t want to be Albert any more’.

Suddenly it became clear to Jon that the name ‘Albert’ was in fact representing nothing but a false persona, part of a false life. Albert had come to represent all the falseness and non-reality of an existence perpetuated by excessive drink and drug use. The name Albert personified a character living a lie, holding onto a name that was not his, constantly pursuing the next ‘hit’ or drink at the expense of his family, his friends, his own life and real self.

‘It felt as if I was running away from running away’.

‘Letting go of such falsehoods, breaking through a layer of denial, going beyond pre-contemplation and looking instead towards acceptance. These are some of the painful challenges facing anyone who’s approached what is sometimes referred to as the ‘gift of desperation’. There will hopefully come a time, an experience, when that ‘penny dropping’ moment arrives, a therapeutic shift is instigated and the need for change is not only appreciated, but the direction of its travel understood’.

Dear Albert works with many people, from all walks of life, to help find these shifts, and once identified, supports individuals (and the organisations they are working with) to maintain a direction of travel away from active addiction, and towards on-going recovery.

When a person is ready to start telling their own story, it usually means that they are ready to start putting in some action to getting well. Although the consequences of drug and alcohol misuse are commonly known (relationship break-ups, loss of self-respect, physical and mental deterioration, social isolation, etc) each individual story is different and the reasons and motivations behind the drinking or drug use very personal.

But in the first instance, if you are ready to start telling your story,

call 07712707999 / 01162917298

Active drug addiction and alcohol abuse stifles what is good, congruent, honest and true. What may start off as a bit of a laugh, an immature coping mechanism or an ill planned response to some of lives pressures, can eventually become a very severe problem needing professional guidance and help. Sometimes it’s a case of social ‘using’ becoming out of control; nobody sets out to become a ‘drug addict’ or ‘alcoholic’. A few beers or a glass of wine was innocent enough at first, but for some of us a negative relationship takes hold. The drink or drugs, at first a magical answer, eventually end up only adding to the problems they were initially helping to keep at bay. The fairy-tale of drug taking and alcohol use for some will eventually turn sour. The unchallenged use over time only tends to become worse, not better, until the right help and the right kind of action is sort and instigated.

Albert came to know only too well the ins and outs of living a lie, and the on-going descent into eventual desperation, confusion, pain and isolation; the hallmarks that constitute active addiction. The compulsion to use drugs and alcohol slowly takes hold as fantasy established itself over reality. Relationships with family and friends became damaged and then eclipsed by the all too familiar companion of the bottle and the fix.

The film ‘Dear Albert’ by Nick Hamer from Intrepid media, offers further insight into Jon Roberts and his journey from Albert to Jon.

To find out more about the film click here.

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Who we work with

Leading up to our launch, and since, we’ve worked hard and been involved with lots of local, regional and national organisations, ranging from large successful companies to dedicated individuals. We are massively grateful for all of their help and support, direct and indirect, paid for and volunteered, always delivered with kindness, understanding and respect. We’re also very grateful to all of those that make such support available, without such support and guidance Dear Albert would not be in the position it is today to help others.

Past and existing partners and those that we have been grateful to receive help from include: Leicestershire and Rutland Probation Trust (now Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland community rehabilitation company) and the Criminal and Justice Drugs Team (now LIFT), Leicester Recovery Partnership (particularly the Innovation fund), Voluntary Action Leicester, UK Recovery Federation, Public Health England, University of Leicester Enterprise inc, Quality of Life Service, Nottingham Business Venture, Reaching People, Phoenix Futures, Coventry Recovery Community, New Leaf Recovery Birmingham, CASE (Co-operative and Social Enterprise) and many more. Countless others have been involved in the support and set up of our organisation, including many service users, people in recovery, fellowships and mutual aid, professionals, friends and family.

Vital to making Dear Albert an effective partner and a trustworthy company is not just the company it keeps and the strengths of those that helped build the team, but the team itself. ‘Dear Albert’ has a voluntary governing board which meet regularly to ensure the needs of our communities are met and that we, and our partners, including other stakeholders, are delivering the services the local community needs. Collectively the Dear Albert steering committee has over 90 years’ experience of active alcohol and drug addiction support, over 50 years of personal experience as service users in drug and alcohol treatment services, and over 40 years of continued sobriety/abstinence. The Dear Albert team can also proudly state that between us we have over 30 years’ worth of effective drug and alcohol interventions experience, often directly delivered to high risk and demanding clients. As well as those that just needed a bit of support and guidance along the way. Work positions and job titles that have been held throughout the board vary from: Service User Engagement Coordinator to Recovery Practioner; Recovery Navigator to Health Trainer; Senior Peer Mentor to solicitor. Trained group facilitator to qualified counsellor.

Our experiences overarch the business, voluntary and third sector. It is this wealth of joint resources, experience, abilities and skill sets that inform our decisions, the direction of the company as a social enterprise and the effectiveness of our work. But perhaps just as importantly, Dear Albert has this true, poignant and very personal story at the heart of the organisation. It is a story, like most stories, of a journey. In the case of Dear Albert, this was a journey that started in active addiction and continued into active recovery and beyond. It’s a journey we want others to partake in if they wish.

The film ‘Dear Albert’ by Nick Hamer from Intrepid media, offers further insight into Jon Roberts and his journey from Albert to Jon.

It’s this story that continues to inform how we reach out to those still struggling with drug and/or alcohol abuse, and also how we support them to make the changes needed. From planning the details of training/ facilitation programs and therapeutic peer led sessions, to messaging strategies in marketing and promotional campaigns, the true life stories of those involved in the company are harnessed as a message and a means of recovery and hope. Dear Albert supports and is a working example of harnessing service user involvement and initiatives to full potential; continuing to support co-produced delivery.

Although the Board is primarily made up of those with personal past experiences of substance misuse, individuals with particular skills are also invited to provide balance, perspective and extend the skill base.

If you think you can support Dear Albert help others, please get in touch.

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Want to know more?

Download our information pack and find out why we started and how we work with organisations to help people say goodbye to drink & drugs.

Download Pack Here

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