“I started using cannabis at the age of 10 and then moved on to heroin," says Ann. "I became pregnant at the age of 17 and went on to have six children. I was in a violent relationship and my lifestyle prevented me from raising my children – some were brought up by relatives and two were adopted. I was also a drug dealer and things got so bad that I was shot during a pick-up. I was isolated from my family and had no friends.”
When Ann discovered The Well, she says that for the first time people understood her and wanted to help.
"The Well is a loving family. They will carry you until you can do it yourself.”
"I began to work through the 12 steps and my key worker, Jane, was massively supportive. To me, The Well is a loving family. They will carry you until you can do it yourself.”
And to help improve her job prospects, Anne has been working for the Well Fed social enterprise. “It’s great to be working and learning new skills. I have also enrolled on a college course to be a nursery nurse and I have booked my first ever holiday. I get to see my younger kids now too. These are the things I never thought I would have," she added.
Forty-nine year-old Mark Baker had been drinking heavily for 35 years. After trying to get sober many times but with no success, Mark couldn’t find a way out of his alcohol addiction. "My father left home when I was young and my mother died when I was 10," says Mark. I didn’t have a strong parental figure – I was often left to my own devices and when I was 13, I started drinking. At the time, I thought that alcohol helped me to cope with life. I could hide behind it and pretend that everything was OK," says Mark.
Even after he got married and had two children, Mark continued to drink. "I had a loving and supportive family but I still needed to drink. I thought it helped me to function better and deal with the loss from my childhood but it only made things worse." It all came to a head when Mark's marriage ended and he found himself living alone.
"It was only through the love and support of my family and kids that I started to look for help."
"My drinking just got worse and I was out of control. It was only through the love and support of my family and kids that I started to look for help." Mark came across The Well through his sister, Kim, who has played a big part in his recovery journey. After embarking on the 12-step programme, Mark has recently celebrated his first year alcohol-free.
Mark concludes: "The Well has made such a difference to my life. I’ve completely changed – both my physical and mental health have improved. And I'm now a fully trained recovery coach, employed by The Well. I get so much satisfaction from helping others who've had similar experiences to me."