Addiction, Health, Behaviour Change | CGL

Volunteering: Paul T's story

Friday 25th June is a date I’ll never forget, because it’s the day my life hit rock bottom. I woke up in the morning with agonising stomach pains and was taken to intensive care where I was treated for acute necrotic pancreatitis, a rare illness that few people survive. Eight days later, after near lung failure, I woke up on a ventilator.

It goes without saying that I feel incredibly lucky to be alive today. It’s part of the reason that I’ve become a peer mentor with Change Grow Live (CGL), because I want to dedicate my life to helping others who are going through something similar. I don’t ever want anyone else to feel that loneliness, that despair and pain. I want them to know that there’s somewhere to go before it gets that far.

My key worker, volunteer coordinator and all the staff at Change Grow Live have been absolutely brilliant. I can’t believe how much more confident I feel now, it’s a complete transformation. My life is so full now - I volunteer for Change Grow Live, am currently in training and I run a guitar group. I’m also in a classic rock band and I’m proud to say I played my first gig, sober, in February this year. I was, I’ll admit, scared stiff but it was absolutely amazing – the crowd were behind me 100%, because they know my story.   

Coming to Change Grow Live has genuinely been a life-changing experience for me. I have a photo of myself that was taken in the intensive care unit where I’m all covered in wires and tubes. I love that photo now because it shows just how far I’ve come.