I came from quite a tough background. When I was growing up we always struggled for money and food. My father was an alcoholic so I didn’t drink, but I picked it up later in life. I was struggling to cope with life and eventually became an alcoholic myself.
At the time I was working in London, and I was the manager of a big shop. I should have been fired 100 times over because of my drinking and my behaviour, but because I was such a good sales person, people would just look the other way.
Eventually I went to rehab but I just kept relapsing, I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t working. The last time I finished treatment, they had a house for people who were coming out of rehab but who needed a bit more time. You can only stay there for a maximum of two years. It was agony for me because I didn’t know where I was going to go after that. But I met someone who was also in recovery and they told me about Transform!
I started going to college this year...I was over the moon! I couldn’t have done it without the support of my keyworker.
My councillor at the time said “There is only one way. If you want to get out of your addiction you need to change your lifestyle.” So that’s what I did.
I contacted Transform and I went from rehab to a shared house! The whole idea of supported housing was alien to me; I never knew it could be possible. So I’m really grateful that it exists and that I’m part of it! One thing I really like about Transform is that I get to meet people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I enjoyed living in the shared house with another client who was experiencing similar issues to me. I even taught him how to cook!
It’s been a hard journey. It was about six months of proper agony. When drink is out the way you start to get your feelings back – it was a good and bad thing. Suddenly I was having all these feelings and I just couldn’t move. But thankfully my keyworker went with me to appointments to help with my mental health issues.
I was always worried about doing something wrong and that I would lose my support from Transform. But my keyworker told me, the worst thing you could do is pick up the drink – everything else we can deal with! And that made me feel so happy.
Transform has literally transformed my life...
Everyone can stop drinking for a short period of time but what people really need is the support like what Transform is providing. Alcoholics can deal with the bigger issues, but the smaller things, like going to the dentist or a dietician – I don’t have the confidence to deal with that on my own. Help and security is so important, especially for me but it’s only now I can see it – four years down the line.
When I got sober I decided I didn’t want anything to do with anyone in retail, but then I realised it wasn’t about me. So I wanted to use what I had learnt and put it to good use to help other people. Since rehab I have been volunteering in a charity shop!
I started going to college this year. I’d been dreaming about doing it for ages and it’s finally happened – I was over the moon! I couldn’t have done it without the support of my keyworker.
There is nowhere like Transform. Other places are like a machine, people go in and out and they don’t care about you. But with Transform, there’s the whole package . The staff are so supportive, they don’t judge me or look at me like a two headed dragon who needs to be handled with care.
Transform has literally transformed my life – it’s as simple as that. It could have been a very different story.