From my experience, I didn't think I had a drink problem, because when I used to go out to the Caribbean, and with the Caribbean culture, there's a lot of drinking 

So, they could be sitting there playing domino's and they're going through crates of beer and drinking bottles of rum. And it's just a lifestyle so you don't realize you have a drink problem. 

From my experience, when I was in Barbados, it would be banks beer but also it would be Mount Gay, Wray and Nephew, white rum, and Cockspur. 

And I don't think you realize until you're out of it. When I've been to parties with families, we have barrels, you know? The big blue barrels and it's full up with ice and alcohol. And it's being constantly drunk 

My dad, he would drink and I didn't realize how strong it was. He would drink half a cup of Wray and Nephew and his mixer would be Special Brew. 

So, I think there needs to be more awareness of the drink side in the Caribbean culture. Maybe if they see other ethnic backgrounds maybe they might go in there (The Living Room), but the older generation they’re very stubborn. 

realised my drinking wasn't right, because of the amount of alcohol I was going throughI could go through like 3 bottles of rum during one night and then vodka. That's not right. That's a problem. 

I lost my children. used to wake up unwell. I ended up, due to drinking and my drug use as wellbeing around the wrong people, ended up in domestic violence relationships. Yeah, my life just literally went down the pan. 

That was when I lost my kids. I actually broke down and I fell to the floor actually, in tears, and I just cried and I said tmy higher power “please help me, please help me and that was breaking point for me and that's when I knew I had to change my life. 

Because if I don't change my life, I'm going to end up probably killing myself, to be quite honest and just be really open. 

I had a friend and I remembered her. She'd had an alcohol and cocaine abuse problem and I contacted her because she changed her life and I said to her listen, I don't know what to do and she put me on to an NA (Narcotics Anonymous) WhatsApp group. 

I started interacting with the women there and then I started Googling places but there was nothing there for me, it was just drug tests and alcohol tests.  

So, I started Googling the Hertfordshire area and I spoke with Spectrum and they told me about The Living Room and then I've been here ever since. 

That is the best thing I've ever done because you can talk about your feelings. Maybe sometimes I don't really talk in group, but I listen a lot and I take things away and when you check in about your clean time, it's like you want it to be more and more. You don't want to check in with “Oh, I’m on one day today”. 

And I think the program just works in general. The counsellors are really helpful, and they’re not judging and they’re just there. l like the program and I think people need to know more about the program. 


Advice for others  

I'm 11 months sober. Keep sticking with the hard work, go to NA, get a sponsor and attend The Living Room. Keep reaching out to people in recovery, because I think once you've got that networkeveryone helps each other. You’re like a little family. 

I do my one-to-one with The Living Roomand Complex Needs are really good - they're really helpful as well.  

At the moment everything is good. The Living Room gave me a lot of support and directed me down the right path