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Sylvia D’s story

Sylvia went from being a client of our prison substance misuse services to a full-time Forward employee.

My mother was an alcoholic, so I saw what alcohol could do from a young age. I was always scared of drinking. I never imagined what I’d seen happen to others could happen to me.

When I eventually started drinking, I thought I could control it. But it got worse as I tried to block things out, and by the time I was 30 I’d started using drugs. Crime followed and I ended up spending four years in prison.

Forward’s counsellors and key workers showed me that recovery is working on yourself as well as your addiction.

I lost everything when I went to prison, and I knew something needed to change. So, when I heard about prisons offering Forward’s intensive 12-step programme, I requested a transfer so I could take part.

Forward’s counsellors and key workers showed me that recovery is working on yourself as well as your addiction. They helped me understand what had happened to me and taught me to believe in something bigger than myself.

While I was in prison, I wanted to help others going though similar things, so I became a peer support worker with Forward. I continued to volunteer after my release. Forward also supported my education and I now have an A-Level in Advice and Guidance. I’ve completed several other courses and I’m going to college to do a Level 3 course in counselling funded by Forward. I was also offered a 12-month paid role at Forward through their Trainee Scheme. It included amazing training and the chance for a permanent job. At then end, I applied for a full-time job as Forward’s Recovery Support Coordinator – and I was successful!

I mean it when I say I owe Forward my life. Thanks to them, I feel like I’m finally living, not just existing.

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We help people in the community and prisons to overcome substance misuse problems.

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Since completing the programme, I have learnt a lot about myself. My family wants to know me, I’m clean and feeling better. I see where I went wrong and don’t want to go through that again.

Martyn P, Forward client Read Martyn’s story