Drop the mask and be yourself: A Warm Warana Welcome

By Jamie Levy, Peer Worker

Warana crew.jpgABOVE, FROM LEFT: Music makers Ryan, Zac, Russell, Mark, Michael and Kevin. BOTTOM LEFT: Sandra, Ged, Matt and Stephen. BOTTOM RIGHT: The Artwork ‘What recovery means to me.’ PHOTOS PROVIDED BY JAMIE LEVY

Warana is a peer operated and led service in Queensland which joined the Flourish Australia family earlier in 2018. We would love to share a bit about our Open Day with Panorama readers. 

First off, though, something about PEARL which describes what we do. It stands for Peer Engaged Assisted Recovery Lifestyle. 

This acronym was cobbled together after someone was inspired by the creation of a pearl. If you aren’t familiar with it, I will try to sum it up. An irritant or something foreign makes its way inside the oyster shell and as layers continue to develop around it a pearl is formed. 

So the metaphor is, that something which might upset our balance or be viewed as a negative can in fact be the beginning of a beautiful transformation. Then of course those layers could be viewed as our resilience. Or something like that! 

It was a fantastic Open Day with a great turnout. Although the weather was terrible we still went ahead with the BBQ. Thankfully, we have a wonderful covered outdoor area which quickly filled up once the lunch was ready. Peers got involved with the cooking and serving and ensured everyone was well fed and enjoying a cold drink. 

The atmosphere was so warm and it was a real celebration of community and connection. Many new faces popped in for a look around and a chat, some staying on for the music which added to the ‘party vibe!’ With the music playing in the background peers took the opportunity to add some words of hope and resilience to the canvas (below right), the message of which was ‘What Does Recovery Mean to Me?’

Through doing so we were all engaged in moments of reflection and acknowledgement of our individual journeys. This will now hang proudly in our foyer and will no doubt be a source of daily inspiration to us all. 

Many conversations flowed throughout the day but one in particular stood out to me. A peer shared that they had never been surrounded by so many people that accepted them just as they are, that they could drop the “mask” and be themselves. We all agreed that we shouldn’t leave it for a whole year to pass before doing it again.

Warana table.jpg

Warana art.jpg

Flourish Australia 

289 Nicklin Way 

WARANA QLD 4575

1300 779 270

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