Leigh's story

Leigh for web

My life used to be quite normal: I had a job, good mates and a loving girlfriend. Like everyone else, I used to drink socially, but slowly over time the casual drinking turned into something more.

Over a period of about a year, I gradually became a functioning alcoholic. The more I drank, the more depressed I felt and at the time it seemed as if the only way to deal with that was to get up each morning and drink more. Every day just became about having enough money to buy alcohol. My days were like groundhog days and I started to hate myself.

My girlfriend and mates tried to be supportive. They put in so much time and effort trying to help me out of my depression and stop drinking but the more help that was offered, the more I tried to push them away. My only concern was getting the next drink and so gradually some of the people in my life fell away. A handful of my closest friends did stand by me and I’ll always be so grateful to them.

As my addiction worsened, I ended up in trouble. I can remember the actual day when I lost the roof over my head, my relationship and my job. My girlfriend found empty bottles hidden around the house and decided she’d had enough. I left with the clothes on my back and £20 in my pocket.

I ended up sofa-surfing in friends’ houses but my drinking continued. Although they tried to help me, you’ve got to want to help yourself. By this point my health was suffering really badly. I’m sure that if I had carried on the way I was, I would have ended up dead.

Then one day I just woke up and realised that I really didn’t like who I had become. I starting screaming out for help and thankfully people listened. I reached out and grabbed my second chance with both hands.

After three months of specialist rehab support, I was making good progress. My outreach workers introduced me to Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire. Emmaus gave me a place to live for as long as I need it and continues to support me in overcoming my alcohol addiction.

I now help to raise funds for the charity by working on their van service, collecting and delivering furniture for customers at our shop on Red Lane in Coventry. I’m also doing a level three diploma in Health and Social Care. My routine here is really helpful because the work and training means I’m always busy. I feel functional and part of normal society again. Having a reason to get out of bed each day is absolutely key to beating any kind of addiction. My new purpose and focus drives me forward and helps me avoid depressing thoughts which could lead me down a path towards alcohol.

I’m now hopeful for the future and really grateful for the support I’ve received. Without Emmaus I really don’t know where I would have ended up. The people here really understand me. I’ve been given the opportunity to prove my own worth and thanks to them, my life is finally going in the right direction again.