I first came to Change Grow Live a few years back after I’d decided it was time to make a change in my life. I started going to the normal recovery groups and I was that quiet person who sat in the back and didn’t say anything. Then someone told me about Change Grow Live’s drama group and asked if I wanted a go and I thought ‘why not?’ I’d never acted before but it was something new.
I’ve been in the group for about five or six months and I haven’t looked back. It’s brought things out that I didn’t even know were there to be honest - just so much confidence. The whole group went to see a play a couple of months back and I was looking at the stage thinking ‘I want to be up there!’ Acting’s also a really good way of getting all the stress and anger out of you and, obviously, it keeps me off the drink.
I used to drink a lot when I was younger because I was an assistant manager in a pub, we’d have lock ins and that kind of thing. I was careful though, you didn’t want people saying to each other “he’s the boy who drinks”. That changed after my marriage broke up. I drank to forget and so I could go to sleep.
I have a new partner who drinks wine almost every night and people ask if that’s hard, but it’s not really. I’ve got too good a thing going to mess this up.
Coming into treatment you realise there are so many people out there who just want to help. Jean runs our drama group and she has been absolutely fantastic. She’s got so much energy, she’s mad! Sometimes I ask her if she’s had a bag of sugar because she’s so full of beans. She’s just a brilliant lady. And the best thing is we can confide in her – literally tell her anything - because she’s no different to one of us.
Next month we’re going to be putting on a play on at the Broadway Fair, which is massive - it’s like the London Palladium of Barking. We’ve even got a celebrity, Martina Cole, who’s coming on our opening night! Hopefully it’ll be a really good night.
My dream role would have to be in Eastenders, it’s just a classic! Will I be famous one day? Well, you never know... I just can’t believe that because I made one phone call to Change Grow Live it opened up this huge world for me. That’s all it takes – one phone call, and the world’s your oyster.
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