Matt Hamilton

I came to the Living Room after trying for three years to stop drinking and using drugs without success. A week here, a week there etc. I ran away from everything, up and down the country, homelessness, sofa surfing, living in a tent not realising I was the problem. In the end I lost it completely, I was mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually broken.

Everything around me was in chaos. I'd physically destroyed my house. I was evicted after moving in just two months previous. I'd lost my job weeks before due to my actions and the owners no longer wanting to associate themselves and the company with someone as degraded as myself.

I'd lost my Grandmother which gave me "an excuse" to use more drugs and drink more alcohol. I'd also lost my "friends" due to my behaviour. But most of all I'd lost my sanity.

The Living Room has given me all the things that I lost back, and some. I've been living in the same house for 18 months, over the last ten years my average stay in any one place was just three months.

I now work part time gardening with an option to go full time once I graduate from the Living Room. Six of my last nine jobs, over a period of two years, I had to leave due to the direct effects of alcohol and drugs, and two of them due to indirect effects. With the help and the tools the Living Room has given me I need never have to leave a job due to alcohol or drugs again.

I have friends now, real friends who don't care what I look like, what I sound like or whether I have something they want or not. They are there for me simply because I am me.

Above all I have freedom. I have freedom from the obsession and compulsion of using a drink or a drug to change the way I feel. With the tools the Living Room has armed me with over the last 18 months I can finally sit with my feelings rather than run away from them, and hence run from myself. I'm finally beginning to find myself and am becoming who I was meant to be, not someone I was trying be.

The Living Room works! Myself and hundreds and hundreds of others are living proof of this fact, but it can only continue to work with outside donations. The Living Room is a completely free service and is a charity, it receives very limited funds from the local government and as such needs regular funding from kind and generous people such as yourselves.

All the money donated will be used to continue providing this life changing service and possibly even expand the services on offer to help even more people suffereing from any type of addiction and eating disorders.

In case some of you don't know I have been abstinent from drink and drugs for 18 months now, the same length of time that I've been attending the Living Room. For those of you who knew me before you'd know this is a miracle in itself. Especially as my mother passed away earlier this year and I didn't even think about using a drink or a drug. Simply put this is all down to everything I have learned at the Living Room and the support they've given me over the last year and a half. A magical place I owe my life to.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I wish you all the best and have a beautiful sunny week! :D

Matt Hamilton