It started some time ago, about six years, when I realised I was drinking too much and I needed help.

That is when I decided to come to the service.

I started treatment and attended groups. After a while this was having no effect on my recovery and I stopped and carried on drinking. A little over a year later I tried again but was not ready. I carried on drinking. I even tried AA, but I failed at that. Just over three years ago my drinking was so bad that I spent time in hospital and had been arrested three times through being drunk and abusive.

Then I decided I would try again. I was losing my family and my home, also my life. My key worker was a great guy and we got on from our first session. He carried on with our 1-2-1 meetings as this was helping me. We carried on for about two months and I started feeling good about myself and my home life improved, then he dropped a bombshell and asked me if I wanted to be Service User Representative. I thought about it and eventually said yes.

"Through extra training, I now help with group meetings and the activities the service puts on to help service users in recovery."

I was then referred to the Recovery Hub where I met some more great people. Later I was asked if I would like to become the Capital Card Ambassador, I accepted this as I was going to get more help and training. During this time, I started the Giving Something Back course and after eight weeks training, I passed. Some months later we had peer mentor training. I passed that and felt really good about myself.

Then, the inevitable happened.

I had a relapse. Thankfully it was only a few days and I pulled myself together. I felt I had let everyone down. I returned to the service and confessed my sins and got the support I needed and was offered 1-2-1 counselling. This helped me a great deal and eventually I became a Peer Mentor.

"I have found new friends and can now smile again and be my old self but without the alcohol."

Through extra training, I now help with group meetings and the activities the service puts on to help service users in recovery. I have just completed an online course for Counselling Skills Level 2. This has improved my confidence and knowledge in helping others, something I would never have thought about before. Now I am feeling proud and in a better place.

Through the last sixteen months I have had great support from the staff at WDP, fellow volunteers and service users. I have found new friends and can now smile again and be my old self but without the alcohol.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has helped me. Now I know there is a future and look forward to moving on, one thing I do know there is 'no return'.

Names and images of service users have been changed to maintain confidentiality.