First time at ARC

I didn’t know what to expect, I’d definitely been struggling with my drinking, but I didn’t really know what I was going to have to do or how I was going to get there. Over the space of 2 or 3 years the amount I drank had spiralled out of control. It used to be a fun thing at the weekends but now I was hiding bottles and sneaking a swig whenever I could. I didn’t think there was anything that strange about it.

The first time I got in touch with Project 6 was because I’d been sent home from work for smelling of alcohol. It was the second time this had happened, and I’d been told I needed to get some proper help if I was going to keep my job. Truth was I was surprised it had taken this long to get found out.

I decided I was going to be really honest and shock this room of people with everything I’d been up to.

I called Project 6 and spoke to someone briefly about what had been going on. It was the first time someone told me they understood, and there was something called a SMART meeting taking place that evening if I wanted to come. I did go. I decided I was going to be really honest and shock this room of people with everything I’d been up to. People nodded and smiled and said “yeah, that sounds tough”. That was it, the first time I’d been able to speak honestly and it was to a group of strangers and they all seemed to understand or have experienced similar things.

I’m not going to lie and say everything changed overnight, it didn’t, I lost my job and things got worse. However, the darker things seemed the more I was encouraged by staff and other people going to ARC (Alcohol Recovery Community) to get involved. I started going to more groups and activities and talking to other people, this really gave me a new perspective on things. It became a place I wanted to be. Eventually I was asked if I wanted to start volunteering and helping other people coming to ARC. For someone at the time who no one would trust with anything, being offered some responsibility felt massive, I was really proud.

It’s incredible to be part of something like this.

I can’t believe how much I’ve changed since that first phone call. I’ve met amazing people, learnt so much about myself and been given purpose, a reason to get up in the morning and a life that makes me happy I’m living it. I didn’t think life would turn out this way, but despite all the difficulties, I’m glad it did. The first Christmas I had without alcohol, rather than being miserable, I was stood up in Sheffield city centre, belting out carols with 15 other people from ARC, never I thought I’d find that fun, but I loved it! It’s incredible to be part of something like this.

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Airedale Voluntary Drug and Alcohol Agency trading as Project 6 is a registered charity number 1173006 and a company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales number 3430925