It had always been Danny Webb’s childhood dream to be a solider. He joined the army (Royal Engineers) in 1977 at the age of 20.
Danny moved swiftly up the ranks and became a Sergeant Major. He spent 13 years in Germany with his wife and two sons (who were born there) and also served in Northern Ireland, Kuwait, Saudi, and in the first Gulf War in 1991.
After 22 years Danny’s contract was up and he left to join civvie street in his home town of Sheffield. Although he thought he had prepared for life after the army and appeared to have his future plans all sorted, once he was out, he encountered all sorts of unforeseen difficulties and found life was different to how he had imagined.
“Leaving the army was like a bereavement. I lost 100 friends overnight.”Danny Webb, Right Turn veteran
Danny had always enjoyed building and engineering and was a natural communicator so it made sense for him to go into training as a new career. He attained training qualifications and had a variety of jobs teaching young people and adults – but found it very difficult to understand the civilian attitude after years of working with disciplined soldiers. He also disliked the office politics he encountered and found he couldn’t settle in jobs for more than two years.
Army life had always encouraged a “work hard – play hard” mentality so Danny was used to a drink with the lads - but once out of the army, not happy in his new work and having difficulties adjusting to civilian life, Danny’s drinking started to get increasingly out of control.
By 2009 Danny realised he had a problem. He tried joining Alcoholics Anonymous several times but each time he would relapse and became depressed... Life began to get very tough, not only for him but for his wife and sons too. He lost his licence, lost his job and made two suicide attempts. Used to the army approach of self-discipline, he took himself off on two residential rehabilitation programmes, paid for by himself – but still he relapsed. At one point he cut himself off from everybody, and lived in his shed eating cold beans and refusing to go out for a week.
He started to get into trouble with the police. Ultimately this is what saved him as he was referred by the courts to Sheffield Treatment and Recovery Team and Mental Health Services. He also found the Sheffield Recovery Community online, where he found a great team of helpful people. In 2016, Sheffield Recovery Community were working on a film project called Voices of Recovery. Danny volunteered to help and made a film about his life. Through his film, he was introduced to Addaction Sheffield and to Drink Wise Age Well and now that he was in recovery himself, he became a dedicated volunteer for Drink Wise Age Well. Through this he met the coordinator for the Addaction “Right Turn” group in Sheffield. Right Turn provides specialist support for veterans with substance misuse issues and acknowledges the specific experiences of people in the armed forces community. Danny now helps to run Right Turn within Sheffield Addaction and is a passionate advocate for veteran-specific recovery services.
Danny now gives inspiring talks all over South Yorkshire on recovery – particularly to army veterans on self-awareness and confidence post-service. He and his wife are still together. Compared to the dark days, life is so much better. Danny now has great hopes for the future and would like to make a career out of helping people who were in a similar situation to himself – as well as using his presenting skills to deliver motivational talks.