Aaron's Story It all began when I was kicked out of my parents’ house five years' ago. I had a bad drink problem and had an fight with my parents that led to me being arrested and serving 12 weeks in prison. I lost all hope When I got out, my parents had taken out a restraining order on me. This was a crushing moment for me. I lost all hope. I obviously couldn’t go home, so I went to the Citizens Advice Bureau. Unfortunately I was deemed as ‘absolute lowest priority’ and that nothing could be done for me. I ended up sleeping in a park in the rain with 6 litres of cider for company. I can honestly say it was one of the most miserable experiences of my life. I had no friends and no family to turn to. I was alone, very cold, very wet and incredibly depressed. My life was full of violence and instability During the years, I’d been in and out of homeless shelters, rehab, back on the streets, sofa surfing and even spent time living in what turned out to be a crack den. My life was full of violence and instability and drinking was the only thing keeping me sane. I don’t know why, but I ended up going back to the council to see if there was somewhere to stay. They called me to say I had a chance to stay with Mayday. This was the ultimate turning point in my life. I had a place to stay which was great, but it was the support I was given that really changed things for me. Someone finally understood who I really was... I started working with my coach. She never judged me, even when I spent a while still drinking quite a bit. If I’m honest, I was celebrating the fact that I had a chance to put the past few years behind me and someone finally believed that I was worth something. I could talk to someone finally who understood who I really was and didn’t make me feel like I was just an alchy that had to stop drinking. I could talk openly and honestly without repercussions of being kicked out. Because she believed in me and trusted me I started engaging in drug and alcohol support services but more than that, I was given the chance to take up some courses in IT. Something I’d always wanted to do as a job. I went to the local learning centre and also found a course online and I immediately started studying for my ECDL qualifications. No need to escape So here I sit. Typing this story up on my own computer, with my own internet connection, food in my fridge, even a nice beer in there that I don’t feel the need to drink. I’m sober and happier for it. Owner of a new qualification, healthier and have a much more positive outlook on the future. Instead of drinking to escape the daily life I had before, I’m doing new things to fill my time with that I enjoy. I no longer need to escape reality because actually, reality is quite nice now.