I was in rehab for two and a half months to stop drinking before I moved to Emmaus Gloucestershire in October 2019.

My drinking started at the age of 13 and went on for 10 years. Loads of things were happening in my childhood that I was trying to forget, and alcohol seemed like the best way to do that.

It wasn’t long though, before my life revolved around drinking constantly. I would get drunk every morning as soon as I woke up and think about alcohol when I wasn’t drinking it.

At 23, I went to rehab and it helped in a few different ways. I was put on medication, attended support groups, and went to AA meetings. My family were very supportive whenever I spoke to them. After rehab, I moved to Emmaus Gloucestershire and liked it straight away.

I normally work on the shop floor, serving and assisting customers, cashing up and organising stock. I go wherever they need somebody, so I have worked in all the shops. I’ve learnt a lot of new skills since being here like handling money and banking.

My favourite thing about the work Emmaus provides is meeting so many new people when they come into shop and seeing the regular customers every week. I was nervous at first, but I’ve settled in well and enjoy being busy every day. It’s nice waking up knowing that I could be doing something different each day too.

Every Wednesday I help with the Emmaus soup run in the evening. I fill up the minibus with hot and cold food, clothing and toiletries to give out to people who are rough sleeping in Gloucester. I like being in the position that I can give back and help people who are going through a difficult time. We see some of the same faces every week and it can take a while for them to build up the trust to talk to us. When they are ready though, we are always there for a chat.

We do fun activities at Emmaus too and most recently I have been to a rugby match and a local music event which was fundraising for our community. I like to go for walks too and Gloucester is a nice place to do that. In April, I have a week’s holiday, so I am going to see my parents and sister which I’m excited about.

My plan for the next few months is to continue attending Change Grow Live (CGL), which is a local drug and alcohol service that Emmaus helped me get on. I’ve also just been approved for funding from the Emmaus UK Companion Training Fund for my driving lessons so I will be starting to learn soon.

Now that I’ve been here a while, when new people move in I help to show them the ropes. I always tell them that Emmaus Gloucestershire is a really good charity and that it’s worth engaging in what they offer in terms of work, training and companionship.