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Women in drug abuse recovery find therapy in dance and poetry

By Hayley Pearce

The Argus Brighton, 12 October 2018

WOMEN who were formerly addicted to alcohol and drugs have been transformed into performing artists.

Choreographer Charlotte Vincent and poet Lemn Sissay held workshops at Brighton Oasis Project (BOP) for 18 months, devising a dance theatre piece, and a poem, which will be publicly displayed in Brighton and Hove.

The Art of Attachment project, which was funded by biomedical research charity The Wellcome Trust, aims to challenge perceptions and provoke debate around parenting and substance misuse, and how attachment affects us all.

Charlotte, who is director of her own dance theatre company, Vincent Dance Theatre, said: “There is so much judgment of women who misuse drugs and alcohol – and even more so of mothers who risk losing their children into care.

“Art of Attachment gives voices to women who have not had the advantage of a secure base to work from.”

The work explores the emotional bonds between women in substance misuse recovery and their families and friends.

A 45-year-old mother-of-two, who was involved in the project, said: “I became an alcoholic after the breakup of my relationship, and I got caught driving twice over the legal limit two years ago.

“It was the lowest point of my life, but thanks to that, intervention started.

“I wanted to take part in the project because I didn’t want my therapy to just finish. It really intrigued me, but it was intense talking about my story in a group. It has taught me to own my own recovery.”

Psychotherapist Jo Parker, who works with women at BOP, said: “There were 25 women interested at the beginning, but these four were ready to engage with the project and give it their commitment.”

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