Recovery from Addiction

Independence & Wellbeing

Category: Success Stories

Shaun’s story

My experience with Double Impact has been a great journey, from being addicted to alcohol for more than 30 years to changing my life around and being sober for 5 years this year.

With the help and support from DI giving me a chance to volunteer as a Recovery support volunteer for a few years, then offering me a position as a Recovery Connector as paid part time work has been amazing.  To help other service users that are struggling with drugs or alcohol and to see them finally start getting their life back on track again has been very rewarding for me, to see the spark in their eyes again and feel life is worth living makes a great difference.  I’ve got nothing but the upmost respect for all the staff at DI as they have always had time for me, and the Building Better Opportunity staff have been amazing helping me with the CV and personal specification to find full time employment, which I have now achieved as a care and support worker with mental health services.

If someone had said 5 years ago to me, you will be in paid full-time work, I think I would have laughed, but the help that I have had from DI in recovering from alcohol and getting into work is outstanding.

I will always be grateful to Double Impact as they have helped me and many other people live again.

Mark’s Story

“Up until I decided to join the Double Impact Academy, I felt that there were very few successful achievements in my life, and the things I had achieved weren’t really things to be proud of, as it was more a case of putting right the wrongs I had done during my life.

Although I had beaten several addictions and was in remission from leukaemia I still had a very negative perception of the world and myself.  During my time at Double Impact I have been able to increase my knowledge and understanding of myself and others.  I have grown in confidence and self-esteem and acquired transferable skills around peer mentoring and peer support.  Since starting at Double Impact I have become a Peer Mentor, a volunteer for another drug service, a motivational speaker for the Lincolnshire Action Trust, and a facilitator for Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust and the Probation Service.

The relationship between myself and my parents has greatly improved and for the first time ever I have a partner.  I have enhanced my thinking and listening skills and learnt about tools and coping strategies which not only help others to understand themselves, but have enriched my own life with positivity, to the point that I am no longer on anti-depressants or anti-psychotics.

I am happy for the first time in living memory.”

Lu’s Story

At the age of 13/14 I started sniffing solvents with my peer group at school which then stopped around the age of 15 when I discovered cannabis which I smoked up to the age of about 18/19. Then that was it until I was 23 when I started smoking cannabis again. About 6 months later I was introduced to crack cocaine. I didn’t like the comedown from crack so I used to drink to mask the effects. That was until I discovered heroin and stopped using alcohol and substituted it for heroin. I used heroin and crack for 9/10 years before deciding that enough was enough.  The last few times that I used I accidentally overdosed and an ambulance was called …the last time I came around without needing anything being administrated to me and I refused to go into hospital as I had felt that I had cost the NHS enough time and money due to my stupid actions, and that was the last time that I used any drugs, 2nd June 2013.

A combination of years of degrading mental abuse from my father and mental, physical and sexual abuse and being totally repressed from my ex husband my confidence had dropped extremely low. It was only then that I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. There was one point where I didn’t leave the house for just over 6 months.

When I accessed Double Impact I had already been clean for 2 years. I had never accessed any drug services before, and was really wary about if Double Impact could help me or not. My partner at the time asked one of the workers if I would be eligible with me being clean for 2 years. He went away and found out for me and came back with the exact words of “yes, we would love to have you here”…

It used to take me all the previous day to work up to leaving the house and with great difficulty and angst, and may I add and it always had to be with somebody and I would never catch a bus by myself and if the bus that I was on ever got to full we would have to disembark and wait for another bus to come along and be less full. After only a few weeks of attending Double Impact I was able to work the confidence up to it being less traumatic leaving the house. I was supported by my worker and Phil to catch the bus by myself, and I actually did it. I slowly realised that I could actually do anything that I put my mind to. I slowly realised that I actually enjoyed attending Double Impact and I actually sitting in open access talking to people, although I always used to make sure that I sat in the chair closest to the door.

One day I was on my way to Phil’s house I realised that I no longer even had to think or fret when leaving the house and I could catch the bus with ease. I had become this whole new person and I didn’t even realise it.

I was then advised by my worker to attend the next set of mentor training. During the mentor training my confidence grew even more. The ‘triads’ were probably the most daunting part of it. On the morning of my first triad I didn’t know it was happening but I was extremely nervous when it was said to me that I would be starting then in about 5 minutes. I hadn’t been prepared for this to happen, so I became extremely nervous but I got through it. On reflection afterwards it reminded me of who I used to be and how I used to let situations define how I felt and think rather than dealing with the situation to the best of my abilities.

If I was going to be a mentor then I would need to deal with the unexpected happening, so I made a conscious decision to try not to let things out of my control try to faze me too much, as I had previously been given the tools to overcome things like this and it has worked.

In July I actually asked if I could do a shift in Open Access. I thought to myself oh my god this scares me so much, I hope I never have to do it. Then on Thursday of last week received a phone call asking me if I would do 10-4 on reception and without hesitation I said yes because I didn’t come this far by not pushing myself. Friday came and went and I actually did it. I wasn’t too nervous that I retreated into my shell, I actually think I thrived a little bit. It was nice to know that someone had confidence in me to do something.

I am totally unrecognisable from the person that I was before I attended Double Impact – I have even been to the cinema by myself. I still have a long way to go and that’s ok I know with the support that I receive from Double Impact and my peers I will get there.

Jamie’s Story


After I left rehab I knew I needed a programme.  So I committed myself to many groups that was on offer at Double Impact, like relapse prevention, drug awareness, emotional awareness ,  mentoring , health & safety, first aid, naloxone training, mental health awareness…I now support those within this service and give back what was freely given to me. I am also doing volunteering work that Double Impact set up for me and I do volunteering work at the rehab that I came through over two years ago. It’s taken me two years to find some balance in my life and with help of the mentoring staff and Recovery Recruitment I am now also doing paid work part time for Primark.

This has helped me build up my self-esteem, self-worth and I’m more confident now than I have was before accessing Double Impact. My relationships with my family have been amazing. I am 25 months abstinent –  I live my life honestly, and never been so happy, I will need continued support, where people help me do something I can’t do on my own and no longer wish to try and do this on my own. Thank you so much Double Impact and all the staff that have been involved in my journey. You have changed my life completely and I will be for ever grateful for this.

Andy’s Story

I started using cannabis at the age of 14. I didn’t have my Mum or Dad around for guidance and had to make my own decisions – cannabis was my ticket to being accepted by other people. I ended up having an addiction for 26 years, through using cannabis and Class A drugs. I also developed mental health problems and was diagnosed as bi-polar. My rock-bottom was at the age of 39 when I ended up in hospital again, with a punctured lung, having being beaten up by a drug dealer. I’d had enough.

My recovery started with a stay in a rehab in Nottingham, during which time I had an assessment with Double Impact. Whilst at Double Impact I completed several short courses and became a volunteer, helping staff to deliver group sessions. I also underwent treatment for Hepatitis C, which has been successful and I am now clear of the disease. My next goal was to do a course in professional cookery at college. Once I had started this, they told me about the volunteering opportunities at their social enterprise,  Café Sobar and encouraged me to apply. I worked as a volunteer trainee assistant chef for 6 months, prepping and cooking food. It was brilliant – I really enjoyed it.  Then I got paid part-time work for them! I’m not in it for the money – it’s the satisfaction of knowing that people have enjoyed the food I’ve prepared.

I’m now doing an NVQ Level 3 in Professional Cookery and have a work experience placement at one of the best restaurants in Nottingham. I hope to go on and find full-time work in an established restaurant and maybe even set up my own business in time.

My work as a chef has given me a life, it’s given me a purpose. I’ve not had many opportunities in my life, but I’ve been given this chance to turn things around and I’m not going to waste it. Thank you to all the staff – if it wasn’t for them and for this project I don’t know where I’d be – probably 6 feet under.

Anthony’s Story


but it wasn’t until he had tried and failed numerous times to stop drinking that he started looking for help in his mid-30s. Following being sacked from his job, he went to his GP for help, who referred him to an alcohol service. He also began to attend several meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous a week –

I did everything I could to keep busy – I was scared I was going to die.

It was here that Anthony first heard about Double Impact and its mentoring course. Around this time he started volunteering for the local service user magazine, SUMO, and wrote his first article for them, about Double Impact’s alcohol-free bar, Sobar.   When a place became available on the mentoring course, Anthony joined and found the experience changed him –

It was excellent – I met new people and learnt many things which have benefitted me in my everyday life – I learnt a whole new way of looking at things.

Since completing the course, and with ongoing support from Double Impact, Anthony has progressed to become the co-editor of SUMO magazine and has learnt many new skills…including proof-reading and IT skills.   He has also trained to become a co-facilitator of Double Impact’s Schools project, giving alcohol awareness training to young people in partnership with the Amy Winehouse Foundation.   Anthony has now found paid employment, which still allows him to keep up with his other projects and to spend time with his daughter. The impact on her of his recovery, says Anthony, has been ‘Massive – now I pick her up every day from school, see her in the holidays and even took her on holiday – which was my first holiday for 20 years!” Anthony feels that the last 20 years have been like

A bad dream – but the last 2 have been brilliant – I’ve done more, learnt more, met more people – now I live my life.

Abby’s Story


She had just entered a residential rehab at the time we also took on her referral. This proved helpful later, when she left residential treatment, providing a link before she entered a day treatment programme, which she successfully completed. At this point she re-entered our service, very motivated to be the best mother she could be and not to return to the chaos she had come from. She was now pregnant.

Despite the challenges she faces, Abby has devised with us a full timetable of groups, courses, and appointments designed to prevent relapse and promote personal growth. After attending Double Impact’s Relapse Prevention, and Stress & Anger Management courses, as well as Arts and Women’s Groups, Abby has remained positive, substance-free, healthy and a positive influence on others in recovery around her. At the same time she has remained fully engaged and pro-active in working with services linked with child protection, while progressing steadily and safely towards her new volunteer role at a local hospital Day Centre and mentoring training with ourselves.  Of her time with Double Impact, Abby says,

It keeps me busy, there’s something to do every day, you can come and have a chat with staff – it’s a nice atmosphere. Although I am going through a lot I’m still laughing and smiling. I don’t want to go down that destructive road again.