When I finally decided to get help for my drinking and drug taking I’d never been more ready for anything in my life. I started drinking because I just didn’t like how I felt; I was so unhappy and I would do anything to get rid of feeling that way. When I decided to reach out it was the 12 steps programme that got me clean and sober, and that’s the programme I live by now.
Whilst I was getting support someone mentioned Change Grow Live’s (CGL) peer mentor scheme and I thought ‘why not? I’ll give it a go’. I have to say I’ve gotten so much out of it – the difference in my confidence and self-esteem is unbelievable. Back in the day when I went to groups I was so nervous I would have to keep going to the toilet to have a drink because I didn’t feel I had anything to contribute, or could be of any use to anyone else. Now I’m so confident, recently I got up in front of 40 strangers and talked about my recovery at Hatfield’s community open day!
The facilitator of the peer mentor group was also wicked, he explained everything really clearly, and the fact that I got an accredited certificate at the end was brilliant. I’ve made loads of friends too, people I’m still in touch with or are lucky to now work with at Change Grow Live. I’ve also found that peer mentoring works really well with the 12 step programme because you have a sense of purpose, which is a key theme in 12 steps.
It hasn’t always been easy and of course I’ve had my doubts. Everyone in recovery has their little tricks or things that work for them, and for me it’s knowing that I can always go back to drinking again if I want to. That might sound strange, but it means that I’m making a choice – that I have a choice – and that I am in control of myself and my future. For me, that’s really important.
One of the things I love about Change Grow Live is there’s no hierarchy – we are all equal. I’ve always felt ‘less than’, you know?, until I came here. It is 100% my dream to keep working in this sector however I can. I don’t have a big plan or goal or anything; I’m just doing what feels right. I know that this is where I’m meant to be, and this is what I’m meant to be doing. Having that clarity and certainty for the first time in a long time feels pretty amazing.