Noreen Oliver is a successful entrepreneur, having launched Langan’s in Burton-upon-Trent. Her West Midlands tearooms offer guests the opportunity to enjoy some wonderful food and beverages in a welcoming atmosphere that promotes relaxation and conversation. Yet many of the guests do not realise that the establishment is largely staffed by recovering addicts. They also do not know that Oliver is a recovering alcoholic herself.
Oliver, who also runs an addiction recovery treatment clinic known as BAC O’Connor, established the tearoom to promote recovery through accomplishment. It is something she firmly believes in after having undergone treatment herself. She now devotes herself to helping others through the recovery process in any way to she can, including offering both paid and volunteer positions at Langan’s.
Accomplishment Provides Purpose
Spend some time in any group counselling session and you will quickly discover that recovering alcoholics and addicts lack a purpose in their lives. Most of them also lack self-esteem and any confidence that they could actually do something productive. For many, those attitudes are an open invitation to relapse. Where there is no purpose, it is too easy to go back to drugs and alcohol.
What Oliver is accomplishing through her tearoom is akin to giving recovering addicts their lives back. By offering them meaningful work, she is helping them to understand that they can do a lot more than they ever imagined. Volunteers and workers are learning that they can contribute value to their community by getting out and accomplishing something. Not only does working give them a purpose, it provides a sense of achievement that reinforces what they have been told in counselling. It reinforces the idea that they do not need drugs or alcohol to be fulfilled or to contribute.
Oliver’s tearooms have also helped change the perceptions of patrons who discover exactly who is serving them. Guests who previously believed there was no hope for alcoholics and drug addicts discover, by personal experience, that those in recovery are real people capable of amazing things. Changing community perceptions is an important part of the equation if Britain is ever to get a handle on its drug and alcohol problems.
Changed Behaviour Encourages Abstinence
The addiction recovery community generally agrees that the only cure for addiction is complete abstinence. The disagreement lies in how abstinence is achieved. In some circles, maintenance medications are given as a substitute for addictive substances. This is considered abstinence. Yet is it, really? In the end, putting a recovering addict on maintenance medications does not change addictive behaviour much, if at all.
In order to achieve genuine abstinence, behaviour has to be changed. Not only that, something needs to be put in place of the addictive substances being left behind. Otherwise the individual will go right back to them in time. By putting those in recovery to work in productive enterprise, people like Oliver are helping change behaviours that encourage abstinence.
Of course, putting someone to work in a tearoom is not going to be effective for everyone. For example, there are corporate executives who spend all day being productive in a business sense only to go home and drink themselves silly. Giving them another job to do does not necessarily change their attitudes. For them, a different kind of meaningful enterprise is needed. Volunteer work that causes them to give of themselves personally might be one good option.
Addiction Helper knows that different people require different treatments to overcome substance abuse and addiction. We are here to help you find those treatments. We offer a free, 24-hour recovery helpline along with sound advice and treatment referrals.