Andy's story

“I got into trouble with alcohol after a breakdown and a divorce. I’d always been a drinker, aren’t most of us?"

“Dependency on alcohol crept up on me, as did depression. I didn’t want to admit it to myself, but my life had slowly become a right mess. I wasn’t eating properly, working or paying the bills. I ended up in hospital a lot with liver problems. It was the hospital staff who suggested I contact RISE Recovery.

I had detoxed twice before and the longest time I’d been sober was nine months, but this time, the key worker at RISE inspired me to go to some mutual aid meetings. Listening to other people’s experiences made be realise I wasn’t alone. I got the support I needed from not just my key worker but the friends I made in that group. It kept me strong and still does. 

Then I started volunteering. I did some training to become a peer mentor for people new to the service and then became a recovery champion. Now I run the recovery café in Tiverton’s Community Centre. People can come in have a free coffee, talk to us about their concerns and we can help them access the right information and help. I also run the mutual aid meetings and am doing my level two in counselling.

My life has changed completely. Everything had fallen apart and like most people I didn’t want to admit how much I was drinking. But being honest with yourself is the first step. You have to choose life over alcohol. The support networks I have now make all that achievable.”