Addiction, Health, Behaviour Change | CGL

Gary's Story

I was referred to EMORS (Edinburgh Midlothian Offenders Recovery Service) in July 2016 by the Bethany Trust.

I had been binge drinking on and off since the age of 16, and I feel this was due to my childhood which had been troublesome and saw me adopted then living in a number of care homes.

I was getting into jail because of my lifestyle and got to the stage that I knew I was not looking after myself, I wanted to stop drinking and I wasn’t eating anymore, I had all but given up.  I thought to myself I can’t go on like this, I need to do something about it.   So, I came to the drop in and had an assessment, Dot the recovery coordinator was to become my worker and together we worked on my recovery plan which was based on my needs.

As alcohol was my issue Antabuse was discussed and Dot helped me to get this through my doctor. Initially I felt it was too high a dose, I felt like a zombie on it, but I stuck with it. I was meeting with Dot on a weekly basis and we explored other options.  I started attending groups, mainly SMART, AA, CA.

Dot helped me to look at the triggers that caused me to turn to alcohol and she helped me with the practical issues such as benefits, accommodation, and crisis grants.  In November 2016 I started bidding for flats and by then I had been clean for 4 months. 

I managed to secure a temporary job in January doing deliveries, I also took up swimming and cycling and this made me feel great.  I also wanted to reduce the Antabuse and after seeing the GP we agreed to reduce to 3 days per week.

By May 2017, Dot had managed to secure me a flat in supported accommodation which was good as it meant I always had support. I moved in early June, at this point I also split with my girlfriend, I felt depressed and at times suicidal, and had a relapse and started drinking again. I was also mixing with the wrong crowd.  I acknowledged that if I once again didn’t stop drinking, I would be back in jail and lose the flat. I knew I didn’t want that. 

It was also at the end of May I disclosed to Dot that I had been gambling and again I knew that if I continued, I would commit a crime to get the money to gamble.  Again, I knew that I did not want to go down this road. 

During October and November, I went back to the groups and started the 12 steps which I completed. I also applied for housing in another area, the area that I was originally from. I felt I needed to make a new start, I also felt isolated from family.  There were periods where although not abstinent, I felt I had controlled drinking and would maybe drink 2 days a week but not excessively, maybe a couple of cans. By mid-November I felt I was in recovery again, even though this was a difficult and painful time for me due to other circumstances.  Throughout all these times I was still being supported by Dot at EMORS.

In December 17 my bid for a house in my preferred area was successful and I moved just before Christmas. Dot was brilliant in helping me secure much needed items and furniture for the flat. She also referred me on to the local support service Signpost and as such my case with EMORS was closed in January 2018.

Since then I have not looked back, there are still times when it’s difficult, but I look at how far I have come and how much I have achieved and I remind myself of what I want to achieve which is to stay sober, not commit a crime and stay in employment.

I now volunteer with a local café and every Tuesday, cooking for 20 people. I am still attending SMART and other groups, I like to keep in contact with Dot to let her know how I am getting on.  I crawled through the doors of EMORS and felt that I was dying but I left with a self of accomplishment and pride at how far I had come.