Wandering Biku (his pen name) came to BCHA following alcohol rehabilitation and with “no direction” in his life. Here, he describes how BCHA’s employability and skills programme, run by the Ignite team, not only boosted his confidence and gave him new found direction, it also unearthed a stunning talent for poetry.
“I joined Ignite after I had completed a 12-month community alcohol rehab programme with REACH in Christchurch. I’d always been a heavy, self-destructive drinker and in 2016 I lost my partner to breast cancer and my life really hit the skids.
“I drank all day every day for around two years before having to seek help.
“Once I’d finished rehab I was sober, but my life really had no direction. I was in my early 40’s, had had to move back in with my parents. I was receiving treatment for moderate anxiety and depression. I was in no state to return to work, but I needed some sort of day to day focus.
“I’d found out about Ignite in rehab and decided, reluctantly, to enrol.
“I did the course, learned a little here and there and met some really nice people which was great, as my social life had taken a hit since I stopped drinking. But it wasn’t until I did the course for a second time that I was able to tune in properly. Instead of just learning the lessons on offer I started to implement more.
“It was during one of course leader Irwin’s classes that I revealed that I had been writing poetry. It had started from journaling, just to get what was inside my mind out.
“I had no intention of making it public and I was typically dismissive of it. But Irwin picked up on it, saying I should “write to express, rather than impress...” He also suggested that what I was writing might help or interest others going through similar things.
“I started posting a few poems here and there on social media and was surprised when it was received quite well. I was encouraged to write more and eventually submitted eight poems for publication in an anthology. Five were accepted and the book From One Line was published in August 2021. I continue to submit work where appropriate in hope of further publishing.
“If it hadn’t been for those key words from Irwin, I would never have taken my interest any further and I’m very grateful for his continued encouragement.
“BCHA Ignite is a fantastic resource. Through my time there I gained confidence, direction and a big dose of self-belief, something I was sorely missing because of addiction, loss and mental illness.
“I still volunteer in addiction services where I can and always suggest Ignite as a stepping stone after rehab aftercare is over. It provides a safe space to learn and discuss, discover and further oneself.”
BCHA’s Ignite is an employability and skills programme which focuses on supporting people to find greater self-belief, break free from benefit support, get back in to work and live life. Delivered in partnership with Skills & Learning and BCP, Ignite offers a range of workshops for people to choose from, which are all tailored to build a person’s self-esteem and confidence and to support people them achieve their goals.
For more information on BCHA’s Ignite employability and skills courses and to download a referral form visit: Ignite