During April 2022 The People Powered Press worked with Project 6 to install the first in a series of murals and poetry in Keighley created by groups from the community.
Thank you to People Powered Press for providing the platform, and to the people from Project 6’s Progress Recovery Service for bringing their words.
Oh, darling, tortured town
What do you want from me now?
I’ve told you
Time and time again
Your wretched chaos
And moments of hopeless kindness
Are never enough for me
Whilst also being
Far too bloody much.
Words have power
It’s difficult to stay anonymous in a close community like Keighley. Problem substance-use doesn’t go unnoticed. Both society’s moralistic view of addiction, and the troubles connected with associated behaviours mean people who are struggling often face stigma and find themselves on the margins of the community.
Recently referred to in Westminster as “hapless addicts”, people are often viewed as part of the problem, grouped as making a ‘lifestyle choice’ that says more about their values than anything connected to their experience.
We believe this is an ineffective and unhelpful way of viewing the issue. Partly because it ignores the impact poverty, childhood trauma, lack of mental health provision and other health inequalities play in addiction; it also prevents others who find themselves in similar situations seeking support. Fear of judgment, shame, and a misplaced belief that they are beyond help become barriers to people finding their way to services.
That’s way visible, personal experience of recovery and change are essential for breaking down this stigma. If you can’t see it, how do you know it exists? Through sharing our experience, Keighley now has a wall full of hope, and evidence that change is possible.
Displaying a poem you wrote about your recovery from drug and alcohol use up on the wall in the town is incredibly brave. However, in doing so you demonstrate a huge amount of faith in the community you belong to. Being able to speak openly about your experience and show pride in your progress shows a trust that those hearing it will be able to understand, empathise and value what you have to say. You have to believe that your words have the power to change a point of view, and also that people are willing to hear it.
Progress is people powered because Keighley is people powered.