Loved ones honoured at addiction vigil

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Candles were placed around the room at the vigil. Pic © Tiarnan Quigley JMU Journalism

A candlelight vigil to remember those who have been lost due to addiction was held to mark this year’s Alcohol Awareness week at The Brink in Liverpool.

The city’s first ‘dry’ bar and restaurant hosted its 10th vigil at the Parr Street venue, with a night of poetry, songs and heartfelt stories.

Eve Christian, a team mentor at The Brink, spoke to JMU Journalism about her experiences of working with people with addictions and their families.

She explained that over the years the vigil has become a place for people to come to terms with their loss, saying: “It’s about allowing yourself to grieve and it’s a place that you can start that process if you haven’t already.

“Or, if you’re moving through your grief, it’s a place to help others and to extend something to other people, to feel connected and know you’re not alone.”

Ms. Christian feels that society’s views about addiction have hindered efforts to help those who are struggling by making them feel too anxious to come forward.

She told JMU Journalism: “People view addiction like it’s a crime. You could have someone who is addicted to a video game, but because drugs and alcohol are more problematic it is frowned upon more and not as many people as we’d like get the help they so desperately need. It’s about encouraging people to talk about it.”

Twitter: Tiarnán Quigley 

Different times of year bring new situations to Eve and her team and the Christmas holidays are a particularly difficult time for the people in her group.

She said: “Families don’t know what’s best to do at this time of year: do I drink? Do I have alcohol in the house? What people don’t realise is that there’s not only the difficulty of losing someone but also the difficulty of having someone still alive.”

During the vigil, friends, families and people recovering from addictions shared their personal stories of loss and triumph in a series of poignant speeches including poetry and songs.

The night ended with the traditional release of white balloons with messages of hope and notes to loved ones attached.

Twitter: Tiarnán Quigley