[Trigger warning: reference to traumatic event]
My dad died from drinking, and I was the one who found him. It really affected me; I was a mess and that’s when I started drinking. I ended up battling alcohol addiction. Drinking was a way that I could forget about life. As I drank more, a couple of months could go by and I wouldn’t really be aware of anything. I lost myself.
By then, I didn’t really have a place to live. I would often get to the end of the day and crash on a mate’s sofa. I’m lucky that I had people I could turn to because I did sleep rough a couple of times and it wasn’t good. I remember waking up and feeling so cold. I was also suffering from depression and anxiety, which meant I kept drinking to try and block everything out. My alcohol problem just got worse.
One day I just decided to take a step towards helping myself; I picked up the phone and checked into a residential course run by a local rehab charity. I was with them for four months. It was tough but I learnt a lot about myself and developed new skills to manage my addiction.
I thought I was ready to leave, but when I moved out, I started to repeat my old ways. I realised I needed to go somewhere to help me along my journey, until I felt prepared to live independently again.
I heard about Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire, gave them a call, and they offered me a room and support. They told me there was no deadline on my time there and I could stay for however long I needed to. It was good living in the community house; I got on well with everyone.
During the week I quite enjoyed working on the till in our charity shop, but the biggest thing for me was that the work gave my day structure. When you’ve got a routine, it helps a lot. I went to work and then I’d head to the gym. I had my own room where I could chill out in the evenings. Keeping busy helped me focus on other things and I was less likely to want to drink or make bad choices. My mental health improved so much at Emmaus; I don’t feel anxious anymore.
I recently decided it was time to move out of Emmaus. I’m now back together with my former partner and I see my daughter every day. I’ve got a full-time job now too, working as an aluminium recycler.
I’m not the sort of person who easily feels proud of himself, but I know I’ve made some good choices and things are looking up. I want to thank Emmaus for helping me change my life and get back on track.