I grew up in the Hampstead area and started drinking alcohol around the age of 16. It’s what you do at that age and coming from an Irish background, it is social to meet up in pubs.
Eight years later things were getting out of control as I was arrested for drink-driving and I sadly missed the birth of my daughter. By this stage I was doing the odd bit of work so I spent the majority of my time in the pub from 9am.
On another occasion I assaulted a police officer and was given a one-year supervision order. As part of the legal process I agreed to go into rehabilitation and entered detox for three weeks. I was well prepared as I spoke to a friend about what the process involved but it was a real eye-opener for me and I realised that I needed to sort my life out.
I moved into the Providence Projects in Bournemouth for three months and engaged in the 12-step programme. I lived in a shared house with other people going through addiction and every day we were busy. From 9am to 5pm, you are expected to engage in activities such as one-to-one counselling, group sessions, walks, day trips and watching motivational and educational videos.
In the evenings you return to the house for a group session with the people you share with and it was an opportunity for me to open up about my life.
Being there for my children
After my stay at the Providence, I moved into the Sapphire Independent Housing’s Hackett House in Kilburn where there is a relaxed atmosphere. It is very important to maintain a structure in my day and to keep busy. I attend church regularly coming from a strong Catholic family and I have built more positive relationships in my life. That includes being there for my children when they need me and I can help out like picking them up from school.
Through my time spent in pubs I have become a good listener and so I enrolled on a peer monitoring course for recovering alcoholics though SHP. It was really interesting for me and I hope to get work in the health and social care field in the future.
Now I am more confident around people when they are drinking alcohol. I am still able to visit pubs to see my family and friends but I’ve had to put in place boundaries where I know I should leave after an hour. I keep reminding myself of how I need to think about my future.