What’s good about Emmaus is that the mix of people here is proof that anyone, from any background, can experience challenging times and need help.
I’m currently being supported to get back on my feet, after I started down the slippery slope of alcohol addiction.
I come from quite a privileged background: I went to a public boarding school and then university and I never experienced abuse or anything negative like that. I used to drink at university but only with friends and it never got to the point where I’d class it as an addiction. Looking back, alcohol was clearly an issue but because it wasn’t preventing me from studying or doing normal things, I never really thought about it.
That all changed when I went into the workplace. After university I started working in recruitment. It was very much a ‘work hard, play hard’ environment. Every week I’d get an all-expenses-paid day in London, entertaining potential clients. That’s when I started to drink more.
If I thought my company was starting to suspect there might be an issue, I would jump before I was pushed, and move jobs to work for one of their competitors. I did that three or four times, but you can only do it for so long before people start to realise the problem might be you.
It was starting to dawn on me that my drinking was becoming an issue. Then I lost my driving licence through drink driving. I realised that I needed to make a change. I never resorted to crime or anything to pay my rent, but obviously I knew it was a slippery slope. I was only 26 and I needed to work on my drinking, improve my mental health and get into a more stable routine, before trying again. So I moved out my flat and referred myself to a specialist place to get help.
After a while, I met someone there who introduced me to Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire and explained how it could be potentially suited to me. I gave them a call and had a chat, and soon after I moved into their accommodation in Binley, Coventry.
One of the things I’m working on at the moment is trying to think about what led me to be in this situation. Was it because I was lonely? Was I testing and pushing boundaries? It’s good to be able to talk to the support team here – to have someone to share my thoughts with whilst I figure it all out. I know that they’ll help me access counselling sessions too, if I decide I want them.
I’ve done various training courses since I’ve been here, such as Food Health and Safety and Manual Handling. Things like that could go on my CV if I wanted to add them; it’s just another way that Emmaus helps you to become more rounded as a person. I also appreciate the fact that there’s a Companion Training Fund; I’m hoping to apply to get a gym membership and possibly a bike, because I enjoy keeping active. I find that sport really helps my mental health, in addition to all the other physical and social benefits.
I’m now getting help with my addiction through AA and I know the team here will go out of their way to help me get to a meeting if I need it.
I enjoy the work aspect of life at Emmaus, and the routine it provides. With my boarding school and university background, I feel confident when dealing with people. I’m more than happy to engage with customers and I’ve been helping to boost sales that way.
My intention is to get my driving licence back, and when I’m ready, look for a new job. I won’t be returning to recruitment because I don’t think that lifestyle is best suited to help my recovery. I hope to find a job that I enjoy, and then save up enough to be able to move out and get my own accommodation.
Whilst I’ve never had to sleep on the streets, if I had to leave Emmaus tomorrow then I would class myself as homeless; I could possibly go and stay with my parents for a couple of weeks but certainly not on a long-term basis.
One of the reasons I like Emmaus is the support is there for as long as I need it. I really appreciate that I can stay here until I’m ready to move on and start again, whether that takes a week, a month or a year.