Case study – Peer Mentor

I am a recovering alcoholic and I am sober. I first accessed alcohol services approximately seven years ago, although I’m unsure of the exact time as this was the first time I had really tried to stop drinking. I always remember an appointment I first had with my key worker who asked me what I wanted to achieve and I immediately said abstinence without hesitation. I drank to excess for many years and couldn’t stop. I was in the grip of physical and mental addition. This was the first time someone had spoken to me without judgement and understood where I was. I was asked to attend a women’s group whilst trying to reduce my drinking to avoid physical danger. I was very nervous to attend the groups and my mind was muddled but the women in the group saved my life. I found these women who had the same issues as me or worse and the support for each other was priceless.

After isolating in my addiction for so long, I found people who had my best interests at heart. This gave me hope for the first time that I could turn my life around. I continued to go to groups and tried and failed many times to stop drinking. I would get to a couple of weeks then relapse which got worse physically and mentally. I was then asked to go into non-residential rehab for 12 weeks (Oaktrees) which I did twice over a period of about six months but left after two months and relapsed. I blamed my personal circumstances as I was going through a court battle with my estranged husband.

After relapse, I was at rock bottom and my key worker continued to call me to come back to the service. I did and she suggested I go to residential rehab. I initially didn’t want to go as I would be away from my family but I knew I needed it. I continued to attend the women’s groups and AA for two months and remained sober until I went to Ark House rehab for 12 weeks. I left there a different person. I was given the tools I needed to stay well and it was down to me to take responsibility for my sobriety and use these tools to stay sober.

I returned to NTRP and attended regular meetings with my recovery coordinator and attended meetings and groups for additional support in the community. I had a discussion with staff about the peer mentor course and was provided with some information. I liked the sound of it and saw this as a chance to give back to the service that helped me while also supporting others on their recovery journey. I enrolled on the peer mentor course. I have since completed Turning Point mandatory training and have started a role as a Peer Mentor. My life has changed massively for the better but the biggest change is my attitude and behaviours towards everything in life and I owe this entirely to the workers and friends I’ve met in recovery.