Addiction, Health, Behaviour Change | CGL

Andy's story

andy allotmentWhen I first started going to CGL to deal with my alcohol dependence I expected someone to flick a magic switch and sort everything out for me. My worker and I had often discussed attending groups but I didn’t go as I didn’t think that they would do any good. We also discussed rehab but I couldn’t keep to the alcohol reduction program that we agreed and I kept drinking more and more thinking that it would get me to rehab quicker.

I eventually decided to try a group and I loved it. I was with people who understood me and the challenges I was facing - I felt completely at home. I met some great people, many of whom I am still firm friends with. I didn’t achieve my goal of abstinence immediately but eventually I got there with all the support of my Dad, the workers and the people that I had met in the groups. I haven't drunk since 1 August 2014 and can honestly say that it is the most important decision that I have made in my life.

After I became abstinent I started part time cleaning work doing permitted work hours and I also helped to set up an allotment project with CGL in Newark. I now run the allotment with my Dad, we grow all sorts of vegetables all year round and spend most Saturdays together there. My Dad stuck by me through all of the ups and downs and our relationship is brilliant now.

In May 2015 I started the CGL peer mentoring course and completed this in the August whilst still working part time. This was a real achievement for me, then in January I started work full time at a large local Newark company. I now have a car, go on plenty of day trips out and am going on my first holiday for many years. I have remained friends with some of the people that I met in that first group that I attended and we still support each other with our recovery.

I have an active social life and enjoy eating out, going to the cinema and seaside. My friends and I celebrate Christmas, birthdays and special anniversaries together usually with plenty of food and loads of tea and coffee. One of the hardest things to get my head round was celebrating without alcohol but I have managed it and am really enjoying my new lease of life.

I appreciate all the little things in life now and try not to take anything for granted as I realise how easily it can all slip away. I am trying to never get complacent about being abstinent. Managing my life sober is far less difficult than before and the world is now my oyster.