Darren Murinas like myself is a recovering addict whose addiction led him to brushes with the criminal justice system. Having managed to find the right support he is achieving a great deal regarding helping others in similar situations to give voice to their experiences.
He talks about the power of stories to bring about change. His own is pretty remarkable having gone from institutionalisation in education and later in prison to where he is now – confidently presenting to a parliamentary committee with the charity Lankelly Chase for whom he is now a Trustee.
I have gone down a similar path. I remain wary of being touted around as an “inspirational patient”. I find the tone of some “storytelling” initiatives rather patronising at times with more than a hint of “listen with mother” after which I am treated to a pat on the head and told how “inspirational” I am.
This is not what I want. What I want is genuine change and to be part of conversations as to how to bring this about. Hence, I love what Darren has to say about the need not just to tell our stories but to be part of seeing those stories used to influence policy. This is beyond “patient story” beyond consultation towards the shared leadership that I am many others like me advocate.
I look forward to hearing what Darren gets up to next. Watch out world.