I’ve been at Emmaus since summer 2023. I had always planned to be here for a year or two as I thought that was a good time scale. When I first arrived it was a struggle because of my years of addiction and alcoholism; it was hard to try and stay put. Now, I’m not looking to rush off and leave here – I’m working towards something now. 

I don’t just want to go and get a random job. The team have helped me look at courses in support work and I’m hoping to get a work placement somewhere.  

I loved my childhood, I loved my teenage years, but in my twenties, unfortunately, things were hard. There was a family trauma. It’s not the reason I’m an alcoholic, but it definitely accelerated my addictions. I now look at those years positively. These support worker courses I’m doing will help me get some experience on my CV and I also have life experience that can help other people.  

When I came to Emmaus, I hit rock bottom with my alcoholism, but I think I needed to hit that to push myself to go to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). It’s got to come from the person, you can’t force anyone else to go.  

There was a point where I almost had to leave Emmaus because my drinking and using was out of control. I became physically unwell: I was struggling to say sentences, my shakes were unbelievable, and my nervous system was starting to shut down. I was having physical alcohol-induced fits.  

I was scared, I didn’t want to become homeless again, but the Emmaus team were ready to catch me. The support team were amazing, Zaneta was ringing the doctors, making sure I was on the right medication and taking me to the GP. 

Emmaus couldn’t help me with my addiction until I was ready to help myself. As soon as I was ready to receive help, Emmaus was right there with me, and they’ve been great ever since. 

It’s one of those things once you accept what you are it’s easier to start to get better. I accept that I will always be an addict and an alcoholic, and I now know that once I have that first drink or whatever I’m not in control anymore, the addiction takes over.  

As long as I stay sober now, there’s no reason why I won’t meet my goals. I said to Brian and the staff here that by the end of 2024, even if it’s a trainee role, I want to be working in support, and helping people. I’ve been sober since November, and I’m working my way through the steps of AA. The last steps are just maintenance – so you keep them going your whole life. One of those is to share your story, and I always want to do that because someone might need to hear your story and hear your perspective.  

For the first time in my life, I know what I want to do and what my purpose is. That’s thanks to the support of Emmaus and the support of my sponsor and the AA group. I left school at 16 and went from job to job, but now I’ve got a plan. I want to help as many people as I can, people who need help like I needed it.  

There’s nothing worse than waking up with bewilderment, despair, fear and anger – that was happening to me every morning. I want to help other people, so they don’t feel like that anymore.  

I cast all my friends and family aside when I was really struggling. Now I’m in recovery I’ve been able to re-build relationships. I went clay-pigeon shooting with other companions and, for my birthday, I went to London with my family – these are all things I thought were long gone. My family are so proud of me now. It’s been a real learning curve for them, but they understand my drinking now and the behaviours I had were all to do with the addiction. It’s a serious illness.  

I feel quite lucky, because I’m only 32 and I’ve already realised a lot about myself and I’m on the road to recovery already. This could have happened to me much later in life and I would have been in a worse position. Now I’ve got this whole life ahead of me, just because I choose not to pick up a drink. 

In my mid-twenties when I was at my worst with my addictions, I was ready to die. I was waiting for the next line or the next drink to kill me. I didn’t want to die, but I didn’t know how to live. Suddenly, I’ve been given a life that I never expected, and I intend to use it.  

That’s why I’ve signed up to fundraise for Emmaus by doing a 13,000 feet skydive. I’ve always wanted to do a skydive and I can honestly say that when I’m that high in the air there won’t be one part of me that will want to pull out of it. I’ll be itching to get out of that plane!  

I’m fundraising for Emmaus to help other people who need the support and the community that is offered here. I want to help the next companions that come through the community doors.  

You can support Chris and donate towards his fundraiser here. 

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