The Recovery Writer

Documenting The Road To A Recovered Life.

The New Enterprise Allowance – The Official Go Ahead

The new enterprise allowance official referral

I am pleasantly surprised at the speed of progression since I began to explore The New Enterprise Allowance. Directly after attending the NEA introductory workshop, I asked for an official referral. I had expected to wait a while for an appointment because it was so close to Christmas. Surprisingly I was offered a meeting for the following week, the 5th of December.


Preparing For The Initial Meeting

Although I was happy to receive an appointment date so soon, I had hoped for more time to prepare my business plan. My UC advisor said that it wasn’t necessary, but I wanted to make a good impression. I needed to demonstrate to Pinnacle People, who oversee the NEA, that I had a sound business idea. Because without their agreement, I could not be officially accepted onto the New Enterprise Allowance. Having attended the Eastbourne Commerce business start-up course in the summer. I used the template from that to draw up the first draft of a business plan.

First Meeting With A New Enterprise Allowance Mentor

I was more anxious at this meeting than I was at the last one! The importance of it and the fact that I would be meeting one to one, heightened my nerves. I was glad to have the business plan because my anxiety can make it difficult for me to answer questions. When anxious, I often stutter and get flustered in conversations. I find it easier to speak interrupted and have someone listen! Having a draft of my business plan prepared meant I could refer to it for help when asked questions about my business idea.

Receiving positive feedback

I was soon put at ease as it was clear from the onset that the mentor, Adrian, was as excited about my business plan as I am! Adrian was covering for someone who was away. He said that he really wanted to work with me on my business idea so was secretly hoping that his colleague didn’t return! That gave me a fantastic confidence boost!

Next Steps

Adrian said he wanted me to get going with my business as quickly as possible. He explained that the next step would be the official referral onto the New Enterprise Allowance. I would then attend the first seminar, which involved detailed guidance, on how to draw up a business plan to NEA standards. Over the following twelve months, further seminars would follow, on various aspects of running a business. I would also be able to meet with my mentor, to have one to one advice on any issues that arose or for additional support.

Offical confirmation of acceptance onto the New Enterprise Allowance

On returning home after the meeting, I received an email from Pinnacle people. The email contained official confirmation of my acceptance onto the New Enterprise Allowance! I wasn’t expecting to hear that quickly! A couple of days later, I received an email from Adrian, for a date to attend my first seminar. He also advised that I register as self-employed and obtain a unique tax reference numbr (UTR). I have now done this, which means I am officially self employed!

The next step is to attend the first NEA seminar, on how to construct the business plan to the NEA standards. In the meantime, I am getting this show on the road!


Finlay Games is the founder of The Recovery Writer and the host of Finntheinfinncible. He is a freelance writer and speaker for hire, who advocates, informs and inspires on topics of mental health, recovery, gender transition, and sexuality.

Universal Credit | Moving To The NEA

Universal Credit Moving to the new enterprise allowance. Picture of a nusiness plan folder and a notebook

I currently receive Universal Credit, as my mental health challenges have made it difficult to do paid work. In beginning to explore the New Enterprise Allowance, as part of my plan to gradually withdraw from Universal Credit and become self-employed, the first step is to attend an introductory seminar. After meeting with my work coach a week earlier, I received a date to attend on the 5th December.

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Reflecting on 2018 | The Best Worst Year Ever

Reflecting on 2018 - The best worst year ever.

Reflecting is a habit I enjoy and is a key tool for managing my mental health. I find it useful to look back and see where I’ve been, to better understand where I’m going. Reflecting at the end of a year helps me to acknowledge my achievements, big and small. Spending time reflecting in a constructive way,helps me to set new goals for the year ahead. 2018 has been incredibly surprising in many ways. If I were to give 2018 a title, it would be ‘The Best Worst Year Ever.’

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Dementia- The Ghost Of Christmas Present

Dementia the ghost of Christmas present.


Christmas can be a tough time of year for many people. There is so much unspoken pressure to be full of, ‘The joy of the Holiday Season’ but often that is the last thing people feel.  People struggle at Christmas for many reasons, for being estranged from families, grieving lost loved ones or, as in my case, struggling to come to terms with a mum who has dementia.

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Self Employment |The New Enterprise Allowance

Self employment exploring the new enterprise allowance. Picture of a blank diary open with a pen on it

As most of you know, this year I have been exploring new ways to return to paid employment. Specifically, I have been considering the idea of self employment. My biggest passion is mental health recovery. I love sharing my story of gender transition and recovery from addiction. Inspiring people to make changes to their own lives gives me great joy. I wanted to turn what I love doing, into a way to make a living and I have spent 2018 exploring how exactly I might do that. (Thank you for your patience with me!)

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How To Reduce Scars – 7 tips Post Top Surgery

A comparison of two pictures taken 5 years apart to show the progression of my chest scars healing after top surgery

Scars are the unfortunate downside to going through gender transition. However, with good care, scars can be minimised. When I share about my experience with top surgery, I receive a lot of comments about how well my scars have healed over these last five years. I am blessed to have a body that heals well. Also, I’m lucky to have developed a nice chest rug of dark hair which hides a lot. However, I also take recovery very seriously and have looked after myself, which has undoubtedly helped. People often ask about my post-op healing and scar care routine, so here it is for you!

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Top Surgery – A Five Year Post-Op Reflection

Top surgery a five year post op reflection. Gender transition surgery chest reconstruction

It has now been five years since my top surgery (chest reconstruction as part of my gender transition). I missed the specific day go past this year, but that doesn’t mean I ever take my chest for granted. Something frequently happens that causes me pause and reflect on just how blessed I am and how free I feel.

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Hypothyroidism – Early Management

Hypothyroidism and early management pf chronic fatigue

I am now six months into my treatment for Hypothyroidism, but my tiredness levels are still fluctuating. Despite my most recent blood test showing my TSH levels as normal, I am yet again experiencing chronic fatigue. Why is this happening if my levels are normal?

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Playtime For Adults | 5 Reasons Why I’m A Big Kid

Playtime is for adults too. 5 reasons why I'm a big kid. Playtime is never over when you are a transman in recovery

Playtime does not have to be over just because childhood has ended. As a transgender man and a recovering addict and alcoholic, my playtime has only just begun! I am well aware that l can be ridiculous at times. I get easily excited when visiting new places and seeing new things. The slightest thing, a  newborn lamb, a soaring seagull, a beautiful flower, any of these can cause me to bounce around with excitement like Tigger.

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Developing My Blog – Creating A Community

Blog development . Developing my blog Creating community

Today’s post is a bit of a ‘thinking out loud’ piece, reflecting on the ways I am developing my blog. In the six years since I first created it, this blog has been changed so many times, as I struggled to find a focus for it. Recently, in moving my career concentration over to writing, this, at last, gave me a purpose. In deciding to use this blog as a place to showcase my writing styles and abilities, I felt excited as I began to fill it regularly with content.

However, I am finding myself with a lot of frustrations and questions and am feeling rather unsatisfied and unsure if I am doing things in the best way.

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Gender Recognition Act Reform- Why It Matters

Gender recognition act - self identification consultation

If you do one thing today, please let it be coming out for Trans Equality. There are just two days left to give feedback on the Government’s consultation to’ reform of the Gender Recognition Act. The consultation is a pivotal moment in improving the lives of transgender people. Therefore we need as many trans people and allies as we can get to complete the consultation paper. The result of which will impact greatly on trans people’s lives

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The Comfort Zone And Why It Is An Illusion

Anxiety is such an exhausting beast. To venture outside my comfort zone, with it turning cartwheels in my gut, often feels like too much of an ask. Anxiety says that to keep it quiet, I must do as it commands. I must avoid all risks, avoid new people, and always say no to anything I’ve never done before, for fear of looking like an idiot. Anxiety tells me this is the way to feel comfortable and prevent mental pain. Anxiety is a big fat liar. 

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