LEAP achieves landmark with their 500th Graduate, Emma

A mother-of-two has achieved a major milestone after becoming the 500th graduate of a pioneering drug  and alcohol detox recovery programme.
Emma Hogg, 37, has battled her addiction to alcohol to successfully complete the Lothian and Edinburgh Abstinence Programme, known as LEAP.
Emma, from East Lothian, has marked 12 weeks sober, after she was referred to the ground-breaking programme, which offers clinical, medical and therapeutic help from its base at the Astley Ainslie Hospital in Morningside.
She said: “When I was in the height of my addiction, drink always won, the disease always won, even over my own children.
"You have to make the choice between giving up everything for one thing, or giving up one thing for everything.
“It's the best and hardest thing I've done in my life and I’m so pleased I’ve done it. The staff are great. You come in and say you're feeling fine, they know you're not fine. They know more about me than I know about myself". 
Emma’s life began to unravel three years ago when she developed her addiction to alcohol and her situation became so bad that she had to leave the family home and her children.
She moved into supported accommodation and began working with a support worker from Mid and East Lothian Drugs (MELD), but she still struggled until she began the LEAP programme.
While many people with addictions have substance abuse issues within their family, this was not the case for Emma. One of the many services LEAP had to offer was support for her family to teach them how to help her.
Around 20 patients at different stages of recovery take part in the three month LEAP programme at one time. As well as providing medical care and therapy, patients are encouraged to support each other and are also assisted with housing, education and training.
The intensive programme began in 2007 and research shows most people with addictions do make a recovery.
 A study of LEAP graduates, carried out over the last five years, shows that half are still sober and of those, where the number who completed after-care regimes the figure increases to two thirds (66%).
Emma officially graduated from the programme at a special ceremony this week.
Dr. David McCartney, clinical lead of LEAP, NHS Lothian said: “Today is a really special day for Emma because it marks a key point in her recovery. It is also a major achievement for us because Emma has become our 500th graduate.
“LEAP is a challenging and intensive programme aimed at those with the motivation to become substance-free. It’s not an easy route but we believe part of our success is down to our partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council and the charity Transition, and also due to the after-care programme we offer which involves peer-support groups and counselling over two years.” 
  • LEAP is for patients aged 18 and over.
  • LEAP is a collaboration between NHS Lothian, City of Edinburgh Council and Access to Industry
  • Transition, part of Access to Industry, provides training and education courses to help equip patients with skills and qualifications to allow them to move on with their lives once they finish the programme.
  • LEAP runs a well established aftercare group which operates four times a week. The group provides on-going support for patients in recovery and focuses on relapse prevention and connecting people to mutual aid and the recovery community in the city. 
  • The City of Edinburgh Council provide supported accommodation for clients during their time with LEAP and help find housing solutions after graduation, continuing to offer support and help.
If you would like to know more about LEAP, please visit: http://www.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk/services/a-z/leap/Pages/default.aspx