‘I was holding down a good job, nice house, wife, family. But alcohol took all of that away from me. It’s not just health issues – it’s the wider picture and the ripple effect. Alcohol affects every single part of your life and body.’
Dave from Grimsby started drinking alcohol aged just 14. Despite having a seemingly stable life from the outside – a good job, a nice house, and a loving family – Dave found himself facing challenges with alcohol dependence. Over the years, what started as social weekend drinking at pubs escalated to drinking every day. His story is a reminder that challenges with alcohol, drugs or mental health can impact anyone, regardless of their circumstances.
After trying to give up alcohol without support, Dave was rushed to hospital with organ failure. He spent three and a half days in an induced coma, facing a stark reality when he woke up:
‘I was told if I didn’t safely reduce my alcohol intake, I would die. It should have been enough, but it wasn’t. Six months later I was back in hospital again. To me, that was more frightening than actually being told I was going to die – because the relapse made me realise how fragile I was. After that, I went to my GP and he said I needed some support.’
Thankfully, Dave made contact with drug and alcohol services available at the time and that marked the beginning of his recovery journey. It’s now been nearly eight and a half years since he’s had an alcoholic drink. Today, Dave embraces his new way of living and has a completely different outlook on life.
‘You have to learn a totally new way of life. I thought I could handle a couple of drinks. Now I know I can’t. It’s taken a long time for me to develop the mindset to allow me to do that.’
When Dave felt ready, he decided to give back. He began volunteering at WithYou, supporting other clients on their own recovery journeys. All these years later, he’s still there – sharing his lived experience and offering hope and advice.
‘I wanted to keep involved to enhance my own recovery – it keeps me on track. I can use my experience of recovery to hopefully help others. I’m still learning. From every session I have with a client, whether that’s group sessions, face-to-face or over the phone – every bit I learn makes me stronger.
‘I just find WithYou amazing. They allow me to continue my recovery – because it’s a life-long thing. They keep me grounded, focussed.’
Dave’s dedication extends beyond WithYou, too. He volunteers for several recovery community groups, including Great Escape and The Comeback. He’s even started his own not-for-profit company called ‘Angle for the Community’, which aims to help young people find new paths through therapeutic activities like fishing.
‘I’m trying to give people an interest and understanding of the environment – fishing is therapeutic. WithYou have been looking at getting their own fishing equipment and hopefully, we can get a new group going in the new year.’
People like Dave are invaluable to our organisation. His story teaches us that with the right support and determination, overcoming challenges with alcohol, drugs, or mental health is possible. Dave’s journey shows us that it’s never too late to turn the page and start a new chapter.
If you or someone you know is seeking support on the path to recovery, With You is here to help. Wherever you are in your recovery journey, we’re here to work alongside you.
This blog was originally published by WithYou. You can read the original post here.
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