Substance use is common with most adults and nearly all will use substances in a way that does not cause harm to themselves or to others. For some however, their substance use can develop in a way that causes significant harm and possibly dependence. Many people have a different understanding of what recovery means. MELDAP is happy to use the definition that “Recovery is a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life and strive to reach their full potential”.


MELDAP with its partners have developed a Recovery Orientated System of Care (ROSC). The ROSC could be thought of as a network of community based services and supports that is person centred and builds on the strengths of individuals, families and communities.


If you are just setting out on your recovery journey then remember to take it slowly and one step at a time. It is important to connect with the recovery community and there are many ways to do that:



Recovery Cafes

Horizons is Midlothian’s first recovery café. The café is run by people in recovery for people in recovery or affected by addiction. The café provides a safe, substance free, sober and recovery focussed environment that all people of a similar mind are welcome to come. Children are also very welcome to come and can even participate in craft activities. The café run a programme of activities ranging from arts and crafts to acupuncture.
Hot drinks and food are served from 10am until 2.30pm by a group of volunteers in recovery who are learning new skills and gaining work experience.
Monday 10am – the Baptist Church, North Wynd, Dalkeith
Friday 10am – the Baptist Church, North Wynd, Dalkeith
Tel: 0131 660 6822
Starfish is East Lothian’s first recovery café. The café is run by people in recovery, carers and volunteers, they offer a safe place that is drug and alcohol free where people can socialise and share their aspirations – but also a centre for the whole community to enjoy. The café opens at 11am offering a host of tasty food for you to enjoy.
Wednesday 11am @ Loretto Community Hall, Newbigging, Musselburgh
Tel: 07843339963

Friday Friends

Friday Friends is an outreach programme for those in Haddington or surrounding towns, providing support and friendship to those who are experiencing some degree of exclusion associated with alcohol and/or drug use issues and/or related mental health issues. People who come will find a very warm welcome and be able to enjoy a free lunch. Also on offer are crafts/activities, pool, Xbox; and 1:1 counselling if requested.
Tuesday 1pm – 3pm at Nungate & Haddington Community Centre, Haddington
The Fa’Side Cafe is being revamped and more details of the new location and times will be posted soon.
Tel: 0784339963

Connection Cafe – Get the Support You Need

The Connection Cafe is based in Penicuik at Food Facts Friends. The cafe provides a safe space for people to have a chat with our Peer Support Workers over a cuppa and a bits to eat. Tuesday 1pm @ Food Facts Friends, 42 John Street, Penicuik.
Tel: 01968 675 417
Starfish @ The Light House Cafe in Prestonpans provides a safe space for people to have a chat with our Peer Support Workers over a cuppa and a bite to eat. Thursday 1pm @ The Light House Cafe, West Loan, Prestonpans EH32 9NT
Tel: 0784339963
The cafe provides a warm safe space for people in recovery. The Ridge runs regular support sessions, befriending, wellbeing workshops and volunteering opportunities, please contact the Ridge for further information. Friday 1pm @ The Ridge, 40A High Street, Dunbar, EH42 1JH.
Tel: 07849743066

Recovery Services

Lothian & Edinburgh Abstinence Programme (LEAP)
LEAP is a programme for people dependant on drugs and/or alcohol who want to achieve drug and alcohol-free recovery (abstinence). LEAP is a day programme in central Edinburgh which lasts 3 months and involves structured activities every day.
To be referred to the service or to find out more speak to the professional involved in your care.
Web: LEAP Website

Community Lived Experience for Alcohol & Drugs Recovery (C.L.E.A.R)

C.L.E.A.R is a Midlothian project that uses the lived experience of people who have had substance misuse and mental health difficulties to support adults who are still experiencing these challenges. To find out more or self-refer contact C.L.E.A.R.
Tel: 0131 663 1616
Web: CLEAR Midlothian

Alive and Kicking

Alive and Kicking

Alive and Kicking offer support to men who are experiencing mental health issues including alcohol or substance dependency. The aim is to improve fitness and wellbeing through football. In addition to the football coaching session there will be a peer support group, where you will meet others facing similar issues.
Tel: Ninian Cassidy on 07957845969


Anamcara provides self-management programmes for women experiencing stress, anxiety or depression, through providing coping strategies, we empower, motivate and inspire women to take control, increase their confidence and self-esteem and enable them to make long term positive changes to their lives.
Tel: Maria on 07977879848 / Fiona on 07551774089


Recovery College

Transitions in partnership with MELDAP have developed a recovery college that operates within Midlothian and East Lothian to provide people of working age, who are in recovery or are carers of people with addiction, the opportunity to participate in a free educational programme which will enable you to learn new skills, gain qualifications and further your training. You will be able to participate in accredited learning through our classes which are taught by tutors of Edinburgh College. For more information or to refer either speak to your worker or contact Transitions direct.
Tel: Claire on 0131 260 9721 / 07741293496
Midlothian Council Lifelong Learning and Employability Service
Lifelong Learning and Employability (LLE) supports children, young people, adults and families to improve their life chances through the development of skills for learning, life and work.
Tel: 0131 271 3708
East Lothian Works
East Lothian Works can help with advice on jobs, training and skills development. The office is located in Haddington and is open 5 days a week.
9am to 5pm Monday – Thursday and until 12noon on a Friday.
Tel: 01620 827 262
In addition to all of the services/recovery cafes/education/employability organisations out there, there are many groups that meet on a weekly basis throughout Midlothian and East Lothian where your anonymity is carefully protected and everyone is welcome regardless of age, race. Sexually identity, creed, religion or lack of religion.
For more information see our SMART Recovery and Mutual Aid Groups sections.

Options for Giving Back

Some people in recovery want to give back to the community and do this by working with others who are earlier in their recovery journeys. People can find this sort of volunteering beneficial in a variety of ways, building their own self-esteem and confidence, widening their social networks, giving activity and structure to their lives, gaining new skills and helping them cement their own recovery, by using their past experiences to help others.

Starfish/Horizons Cafes

These cafes are run by people in recovery and the family and friends that support their recovery. Both cafes offer a range of opportunities from working in the kitchen, front of house to board members. To get involved contact the cafes direct. See more information about each of these in the Recoveries Cafe Section above.

SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery encourages anyone who has attended SMART meetings to register and join the SMART community. You can also take a SMART training course to build your knowledge of SMART tools and techniques and further help your own recovery. Once training is complete you will receive a certificate of accreditation authorising you to become a facilitator and facilitate your own peer-led SMART meeting. To find out more contact, click HERE to see our Where to Get Help page

NHS Lothian

Within NHS Lothian Substance Misuse Directorate (SMD), there are number of peer volunteer opportunities. These include Peer In-Research to the Ritson Clinic and Peer Support at Harm Reduction Services at Spittal Street Centre. There are regular recruitment sessions held throughout the year advertised in local SMD services and training and support is available to all those recruited to posts. For more information contact your local NHS Substance Misuse Service.

Lothian & Edinburgh Abstinence Programme (LEAP)


Peer Support opportunities (with training) are available at LEAP to support patients going through rehab. These would suit people with a year or more of recovery and who have knowledge and experience of rehab settings. For more information click HERE to visit the LEAP webpage.

Twelve Step Fellowship

Since the first Twelve Step Fellowship in June 1935, sponsorship has been at the heart of the recovery journey. Experience has taught the Fellowships that reaching out to those still suffer is the best way to prevent their own potential relapse. The sponsor base this on their own experience and understanding. Sponsorship also highlights the pitfalls on the recovery journey as well as offering friendship and introducing any newcomer to a wide network of support within the fellowship.
To find out more on sponsorship contact:
Alcoholics Anonymous (Edinburgh & Midlothian)
Alcoholics Anonymous (East Lothian)

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Substance Use: It’s Everyone’s Responsibility

Substance Use: It’s Everyone’s Responsibility