Living with alcoholism can be tough, especially when you feel as though there is nowhere to turn. Many people who develop an addiction to alcohol will go for a long time without reaching out for help, and there are many reasons for this. Some find it hard to accept there is a problem while others believe that there is nothing that can be done to help them. They do not consider the possibility that alcohol rehab could be just what is required. Some just need a push in the right direction before they will consider tackling their issue.
This is exactly what happened to David Simons, who just a year ago was struggling with addiction and living on the streets. In just twelve months, he has managed to turn his life around, crediting his amazing transformation to the fact that a kind stranger gave him a free coffee and a sandwich.
Simons entered the charity SHARE (Supporting Homeless Assisting Refugees Everywhere) a year ago, to buy a coffee that a stranger had provided the money for. While there, he claimed a free sandwich, donated by the local Tesco.
Before this, Simons had been living on the streets after suffering abuse and bullying as a teenager. He admitted to turning to alcohol to help him cope with life’s struggles. He said, “My addiction to alcohol started a few years before I ended up on the streets. It was my way of coping with bullying at school and being mentally and physically abused at home. I tried to hold down a few different catering jobs in pub kitchens and restaurants, but addiction took over my life. I ended up on the streets at 18, and my alcoholism just spiralled further and further out of control. Last year, the doctor told me I would only live for a few months if I carried on the way I was.”
He added, “Then one of my mates told me about this place you could get a free coffee and sandwich. Ever since, everyone here has given me so much support and help. I can’t thank them enough.”
Simons was desperate for help but could not raise the funds required for an alcohol rehab and detox programme. He decided to take extreme measures and describes his actions as a serious cry for help. In November 2016, he broke into a police station, armed with a knife in the hope that he would be sentenced to prison time. Simons said that he felt this was the only way he was going to get the alcohol rehab help needed to overcome his addiction.
After pleading guilty to the crime, he found himself behind bars for under a month. He said, “Breaking into the police station was a serious cry for help. I was so ill, and I needed something that was going to force me to get clean. I saw so many people get this detox funding and then p*** it up the wall the next day. I got clean in prison, and I was released on November 20. The only thing that could have made me relapse was having to go back to the streets, but everyone from Share was there to make sure that didn’t happen. I have lost a lot of friends. Nearly everyone I know is from being homeless, and now I’ve left a lot of them behind because they’re choosing to carry on with that life. But I’ve got new people around me and also my best friend, Jenny. She has always stood by me through everything.”
The pair met twelve years ago, on the streets. Jenny also managed to turn her life around through ShareShop, and she now volunteers there.
The ShareShop in Chester is a charity where homeless people can claim a ‘suspended coffee’ that has been paid for by a customer. The charity is also provided with sandwiches by the local Tesco and Sainsbury’s.
Suspended coffee purchasers can write a message on the coffee cup for the person who will claim it. In addition, ShareShop has close links with CATH (Chester Aid to the Homeless), and both organisations work together to help the homeless access shared houses and council flats. Simons has benefitted from this and will be staying in a CATH house until he has the funds to move into an apartment of his own; which will be entirely possible now that he has managed to find work at a local garden centre.
Simons is proof that any addiction can be overcome with the help of drug or alcohol rehab. If you are struggling and need help, contact us here at UKAT. We can provide you with advice and information on how you can access one of our excellent alcohol rehab programmes.
Source: Homeless man reveals how his life has been transformed in 12 months – and it all started with a cup of coffee from a stranger (Daily Mail)
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