Change Grow Live – health and social care charity

Charlie's story

The first time I came to Spectrum was five years ago. I’d heard about the service from someone I knew and self-referred by the phone. Within a week I was invited in for an assessment. I’d stopped drinking for three months and attended the relapse prevention group at Stevenage.

Afterwards, I went through a relapse. I went back to Spectrum because I knew there was support and no judgement there. I started Foundations of Change and went through the whole Foundations of Recovery programme.

I sincerely believe that group work is essential for prolonged recovery. Going through the programme with the same group of people working towards the same goal is invaluable.

The groups are also useful for building lasting friendships and the extra life skills needed to deal with life problems you’ve never had to cope with before without using. Tools like the CRICKET method of solving your problems are learnt in the group sessions.    

I am now 12 months sober as a result of the skills I’ve learnt here and I’m now the Service User representative for the Stevenage service. This role has given me back my confidence and self-worth. Before I took the role on, I was looking for something to do next.

I’m doing something worthwhile and I feel needed in this role. It’s not just about representing the views of the Service Users in Stevenage, but having a friendly chat in reception and supporting others who are going through the same situation I went through.

This place is a big part of my life and the newfound self-awareness that sobriety has given me tells me that I need the responsibility of this role as much as the service needs me to help out. Keeping myself busy is a huge part of my own recovery and I want to ensure there’s a positive legacy for Service User Involvement in the hub, and that I can get others, especially the staff, involved as much as possible! And finally, any Service User who wants to talk to me about anything at all can find me at the Stevenage service most days.