Alex has recently begun to work in a volunteer capacity as a Sports Activity Facilitator.
Alex first became involved with Wintercomfort as a Service User back in 2016. Although he was never street-homeless, his living conditions at the time were extremely precarious.
“I often found myself with no money for food or electricity” he explains. At this time, Alex was living with mental health issues which had led to a pattern of self-destructive behaviour involving substance abuse. Having been told about Wintercomfort by a friend, Alex began to visit the centre from time to time over the next couple of years.
Alex began working with our in-house counsellor Joe Carter who was able to help him recognise and acknowledge his drug addiction and also to support him with anxiety issues. “Until I met Joe” Alex explains “I’d never thought of myself as an addict. I just thought I made bad choices”.
With Joe’s ongoing support, Alex began to access NA meetings which initially led to a period of 30 days sober. Unfortunately though, due to having at that time been living with other addicts, he soon fell back into old habits and relapsed.
The turning point for Alex came in March 2020. As the world went into lockdown, Alex saw this as an opportunity to turn his life around. He resumed his regular counselling sessions with Joe and returned to regular NA meetings. In March 2021, he marked his 12 month-sober anniversary, a life-changing achievement. Alex is still in regular contact with Joe which he finds a vital part of his continuing recovery and improved mental health.
Supported additionally by our Sports Project Worker, Sarah Taylor, over the course of the past 12 months, Alex has also embarked upon a new career path as a fitness instructor. He has studied for and sailed through his Level 2 instructor qualifications and once restrictions allow for him to complete his practical assessment, he will complete his Level 3 accreditation. This will also allow him to provide nutritional advice to those he works with.
“Lockdown has been so beneficial for me it’s given me the space to really focus on turning my life around and starting to achieve my goals”.
Alex knows first had the importance of physical activity in achieving mental-wellness. “If I miss a day of exercise, I feel like I’ve missed my ‘medication’” he tells me. Having worked so hard to reach this point, Alex is now keen to share his passion for fitness with the service user community, supporting people like Owen. It’s his way of giving back to the team who have played such a key role in his own journey.