Gary’s story

“I’m an alcoholic, but haven’t had a drink for ten years, thanks to 1NE. I was in hospital on a life-support machine after my last drink. I worked as a publican, and would booze all day long. What started as a social drink with customers progressed to not wanting people to leave at closing time. In 2000, I lost my business and my house, my wife and my dog. I was made bankrupt, with nowhere to live, and had a suitcase with all my belongings: five shirts and two pairs of trousers. Alcohol is the great remover – it strips you of everything.

I was starting to have seizures, and woke up in hospital a couple of times, but I’d always justify it – wet leaves, tripping on the pavement, it was always somebody or someone else’s fault. I came to 1NE in 2005. The downside to recovery is there is no one else to blame.

From the moment I walked in I had a sense of belonging. I felt comfortable and supported as I was speaking to other people who understood what I was going through at that time. I was given the tools to maintain my sobriety, and I found that in group therapy I started looking at the similarities between me and others, rather than the differences. I began to see I had value, and wasn’t a pointless waste of space. Once I accepted the disease model of alcoholism, and could see it wasn’t a weakness, my recovery started. If it wasn’t for 1NE I’d probably be dead by now. Instead, I have a sense of purpose and sense of achievement. And I got my sense of humour back.

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We hope you are all well and keeping safe. In response to the latest advice, we will be suspending all groups at the centre. Of course this is a tremendously sad decision we have made as we are an essential service. We have set up groups on line and will continue to accept referrals.