First Steps Good Practice Guide

25 October 2023


Recovery Cymru and Alcohol Change UK

Working with peer supporters to build motivation in people who are ambivalent about engaging with alcohol treatment and support.

Why you should read this guide

Substance use issues are rarely simple.

They may arise from past trauma or current adversity. They may be linked to other physical and mental health issues, and to social and relationship difficulties. They may cause, co-occur with or result from any of these other issues. All these complex needs demand appropriate support, but also create barriers to accessing that support, and it is not always reasonable to expect someone to show obvious motivation to change. It is often about as reasonable as requiring a drowning person to swim to the shore for help.

The experience of implementing Alcohol Change UK’s Blue Light approach has shown that if people need support but don’t come into services, services may need to go out and find them through assertive outreach. That means making time to work with people in their own settings and build engagement with them through consistent and persistent interactions. This guide is about how people with their own lived experience of substance use can make that outreach more effective.