I'd spent many years in full time employment as a functioning alcoholic, hiding a problem that only close friends and family knew about. I had started to rely on alcohol more and more as a way to cope with my anxiety and insecurity problems. I felt battered and worn out. I wanted to feel good about myself but mostly I didn't want to die, so I fearfully agreed to a six month residential rehab.

This time away gave me the break I needed to learn to live without alcohol and to learn about myself. It was like being pulled apart to be put back together. I began to understand myself better, how to cope with my thoughts and feelings and – for the first time – actually like who I am.

When I left rehab,it felt like the world had suddenly opened up and it didn’t look as overwhelming as it once did. It was like I was looking through new eyes. I was referred to SHP's Islington Aftercare and started attending the Fuchsia programme and SMART Recovery meetings. The programme pushed me out of my comfort zone to try different things, whether I thought I would like them or not. The support was fantastic and I felt my needs were listened to. I very quickly became interested in becoming a Peer Mentor.

Recovery is a big challenge and can be scary... I sometimes worry I am weak or I am going to be weak. But I am stronger than I think. We all are.

At the beginning of my recovery journey, I remember wanting to talk to people who had been through what I was going through and had been successful in recovery. Maybe I didn't believe (or want to believe) it was possible? They are the living proof that it can work and why Peer Mentors are so important.

As a Peer Mentor I particularly enjoy when I escort somebody to rehab for the first time. I like to talk with them about what they will experience and try to make them feel more relaxed and less fearful. I have been told that, by accompanying others to rehab, I have made the journey that much more bearable because I can better understand what they are experiencing, as I have done the same.

Recovery is a big challenge and can be scary. My biggest challenge in recovery is staying positive and confident and not worrying about things that haven't happened – the 'what ifs?'. I sometimes worry I am weak or I am going to be weak. But, I am sober two years, have hope for the future and – most of the time – I am happy.  I need to remember to give myself credit more often, to be my own best friend and coach. I am stronger than I think. We all are.

Becoming a Peer Mentor has given me a new purpose and clearer direction in life. It has opened up the possibility of doing something that not only benefits my wellbeing but others’ too. I am proud of what I have achieved and I am confident my future is bright. I want to help someone else feel the same way.