Tuesday 02 January 2018
Dry January is an annual movement where people give up alcohol for the month of January. To highlight the importance of alcohol awareness, one of our former clients shares their story of their journey to recovery from alcohol addiction and what it’s like to be in social situations where drinking is commonplace.
I came to The Forward Trust’s East Kent Drug and Alcohol Service in March 2015. I’d been drinking for over 30 years and was developing an increasingly unhealthy relationship with it, eventually becoming physically dependent. The team were great – I got the help I needed to make a new life for myself without alcohol, starting with a clinical detox with support from a doctor. I’ve been completely free from alcohol for over two years now.
The fact that I don’t drink in social situations anymore isn’t an issue for the people that really matter – they care about me and know how important my recovery is. But I know it’s been difficult for some people, such as my old acquaintances from my drinking days, who I still occasionally see. Being around people who are drinking hasn’t ever been a problem for me, even in early recovery. If anything, seeing people who have had one too many reaffirms my decision to become abstinent. I don’t ever judge people who do drink and I have plenty of friends, family members and colleagues who drink occasionally. I just know that I didn’t have a healthy relationship with alcohol and stopping drinking was the right thing for me.
After I completed my treatment, I went on to become a Peer Mentor, supporting other clients who were going through the service. I also enrolled on a counselling course. In October this year I got the chance to become an Apprentice Recovery Worker – a one year, paid contract with The Forward Trust (the charity that runs the East Kent service) for people in recovery from addiction. I’m really enjoying the opportunity to work with clients – as someone who has been through the service I know first-hand how hard - but also how rewarding - it can be. I’m about to become a mentor to someone who is taking the same path as me. My life is so different now, I have a great job with supportive colleagues, my health is good and I have a fantastic support network of friends and family who really care about me.
Keith works for The Forward Trust in the East Kent Community Drug and Alcohol Service. The service supports people throughout East Kent who have issues with drugs and alcohol, no matter what those issues are. If you need help, do get in touch by calling 0300 123 1186, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting www.eastkentdrugandalcohol.org.uk.