Ex Volunteers, Where are they now?

We have over six hundred volunteers on Choose Life and many have gone on to very successful lives. Here we have tracked down some of our ex volunteers and asked them to give us an update on where they are now.

George

georgeMy names George and I worked as a volunteer for Choose life about 6-7 years ago. I had recently become substance free after 20yrs and was suffering with very low self-confidence and still not having any belief in myself. I was then given this opportunity to go into schools, and police training schools and give them my first-hand account of what is was like living as a drug addict and no prospects.

Initially it was very hard but with a lot of encouragement and feedback it became easier and my confidence began to grow. I actually started to believe I could do something and I wasn’t worthless. I then signed myself up for college, where I got a couple of A’levels (something I never thought I could do). I was then given the opportunity to train as a Community drug support worker. From there I moved into the field of employment, getting people with the same past and barriers back into work, I am still working doing this job I love 6 years later.During this time I have got married in recovery, we have bought our own home and we are now expecting our first child in September. Not bad for a 20 year drug addictI will always be grateful for the start and opportunity Steve and Choose life had given me

John

JohnMy Name is John, and I will now tell you briefly about my journey of recovery and how I feel ‘The Choose Life Project’ impacted and facilitated in many areas of my life.

I knew nothing different in the end; my life had become a mess. After 16 years of this terrible affliction, a life which I never thought would turn out in the way it did. It all started as a laugh and good times with friends, but ended in isolation, loneliness, anger and complete loss of the person I once was. Instead of giving me confidence, the drink and drugs I had inflicted on my mind and body had took their toll, robbing me of all my confidence, friendships which in turn destroyed my family network.

However, I did find sobriety, I did find a new life and with the help of people like Steve (from The Choose Life Project) giving me a chance to change, a chance to prove I could be someone.

To me, the experience I gained through ‘The Choose Life Project’ was invaluable in my recovery process. It enabled me to approach different obstacles in my life, whilst having a double sword effect, helping me to accept my past and who I was and most importantly allowing me to share my experience of addiction with others in the hope to deter them from a life of sadness which goes hand in hand with addiction. The project helped me in gaining confidence speaking to other members of society, give me joy through the many amazing people I met and also my first step into an environment of employment whereby trust and honesty are imperative. I can’tsay enough for the support, help and guidance I gained through my time on the project.
Since leaving the project I went back to college and gained an access to further education in health and social science. I am now
currently going into my 3rd and final year at University of Liverpool where I am studying a degree in Psychology. Although its took me almost 4 years to get where I am today, I still say that without my first steps in recovery and the support of this project which give me invaluable lessons I would not be where I am today. I am hoping to go on to complete a PhD in the field of research into addiction, something which I am passionate about. I am forever grateful for the life I have today, and the chance I have been given and especially to ‘The Choose Life Project’ for all the important things I learnt.

John has updated his profile, and on behalf of Choose Life we would like to congratulate him.
I completed my degree in psychology in June 12, I obtained an overall average of 68.6% achieving a high 2:1! I especially excelled in my modules of Addiction and Mental Health obtaining first class modules for Mental health and 68% for addiction which was 2% off the first level.  This has driven me to continue with my education and I am just now in the process of finishing my MSc – Research Masters in Psychology.  I finish the 3rd October where I am on course for obtaining a merit at masters level, which is a 2:1 in degree terms.  I have no doubt in my mind the experience, knowledge and confidence I gained whilst doing volunteering with the Choose Life Project helped me in all the areas of my life where I needed to start believing in myself.  Especially talking in front of people, presentations and my own self-confidence in dealing with the public.  From the 3rd October I intend to come back out with the Choose Life Project as I am taking a year out of my studying before I go onto a PhD within the addiction or mental health field.

Richard Holloway

ritchieMy experience of working on the choose life project was massively positive. I was thrown in at the deep end and put right out of my comfort zone immediately, which at the time was overwhelming and scary. The support i received from Steve and the other volunteers was amazing and my fears were halted by the encouragement and faith put in to me.

The skills i learnt and put in to practice whilst working on the choose life project, have helped me in my day to day working and personal life. Whilst working on the project i found a new confidence and raised my self-esteem to an amazing new level. The therapeutic value of sharing knowledge and life experiences with school kids, teachers and also other volunteers is immeasurable.

The whole experience was truly uplifting and left me with a huge sense of achievement whilst having lots of fun in the process.
I now work in the community as a support worker, helping other people become free of addiction. I always try to get clients to experience the choose life project as i know how beneficial it can be for someone who has low confidence and self-esteem. Whilst working on the project, i had my first thoughts of working in the drug and alcohol field and really found out how it felt to make a difference in people’s lives.

I will hold the memories and experience of working on the project close to my heart for the rest of my life, for without it my recovery would not have been so successful. I would like to give a heartfelt thank you to all who have been involved in the project and assure them that i would be grateful to do anything to help out in the future.

Many thanks,

Will

“Hiya, my name is Will.I started volunteering with Choose Life about three years ago. My past like others on the project is one of addiction to drugs and alcohol. When I first started volunteering it was early in my recovery and I was low on self- confidence and self-esteem. I found I really enjoyed educating young people in Schools and was amazed when I found myself facilitating addiction education for Police Officers! The response I received from the Young People, Teachers and especially the Police Recruits was fantastic. This gave me what I needed at the time, which was something to fill my time, a vehicle to give something back to the community which I was very eager to do, and a massive boost to my self-esteem. I always found the Choose Life Project to be a caring and happy environment with both the Staff and Volunteers enthused and keen.I would encourage any recovering drug user that if they have the chance to volunteer with Choose Life to grab the chance with both hands. Cheers Will.

 

I first became aware of The Choose Life Project in March 2003; I was at very low ebb in my adult life. I was just coming to the end of a Heroin withdrawal in HMP Liverpool.  I had 20 yrs history of criminality and drug use under my belt.  I had been through the county care system, young offenders institutions and had now ended up in the adult prison population or as we referred to it the ”cons”.

 

I had never experienced anything like Choose Life before; it offered me an opportunity to reflect about my past without projecting my future. A space where I was allowed to develop, to be inspired but also aspire. I had the support whilst in prison to remain drug free, meet with professionals, teachers, police, social workers – I allowed myself to see the people behind the uniforms and titles and hopefully my consistency allowed them to see the person behind the drug use and criminality.

 

Gary at car

 

Hiya,

 

My names Gary iand i have been volunteering for the Choose Life Project for about twelve months and have visited many Schools,  Colleges and trained Police Officers.

 

I am always impressed with the feedback we get from the Young People and the questons they ask show they are really listening. Its the same with Police recruits and i believe it changes attitudes from both sides of the fence.

 

Being involved with Choose Life has been a very positive experience for me and i would recomend it to anyone who is in recovery.

 

 

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