The theme of this year's Recovery Month was ‘Recovery is for Everyone’. No matter who you are, you are capable of recovery. At The Living Room we see people from all walks of life joining us, all united in their shared goal of sustained abstinence from their addiction. We fight against the negative stigma that is often associated with people living with addiction and share real people's recovery journeys. 

To mark Recovery Month, we’ve brought together a collection of client stories from across our service... 

Family and Carers 

I came to The Living Room after a series of breakdowns with my husband over his alcohol consumption. I was panicky and scared about our future and I needed someone to talk to about it. I couldn't speak to friends out of loyalty to my husband, so I was alone with it. I used to police his alcohol consumption and be filled with anxiety whenever he started drinking. I couldn't sleep, and my stomach was constantly churning. The atmosphere in the home was unstable, as alcohol caused him mood swings that affected us all.  

I'm still on the journey, but coming to The Living Room has helped me feel less alone, and given me people to talk to who understand what I'm dealing with. The counselling and workshops have helped me to step away from my husband's alcohol consumption and protect my own wellbeing more. Whilst he still has problems with alcohol, I'm more able to keep myself away from them and not engage in discussions or behaviour that causes me additional anxiety.  

I still don't know where my journey with alcoholism will take me, because we are still in counselling. I'm not ready to leave my husband yet, but I think that continuing to come to The Living Room will help me decide if that's the path I want to take.


Drugs Group 

I was in a downward spiral of increasingly damaging addiction. What had started as a few occasions of using to escape my feelings around the last few months of my uncle's life, became a religious weekly to several times a week ritual under the guise of 'enjoying myself'. My life was far from enjoyable. I was just about holding my university work together, and my physical and mental health were in a state of devastation. This culminated in my arrest of suspicion of supplying drugs due to the quantities I had been pushing. I had a 'mental snap' in the police cell that night and knew something needed to be done. I heard about The Living Room through my mum who had referred several mothers here as a health visitor, and I believe it must have been fate as I have not looked back in the 3 months I have been here. 

The area that has primarily improved involves my interpersonal relationships. Connecting with other men outside my social circle has never been something I have been too keen on. This facility has pushed me to pursue these relationships and build trust with people that are going through similar experiences. I now have multiple forums where I can discuss the thought processes that go on inside my head, and it has been invaluable in getting me past 90 days of sobriety. 

I think the thing The Living Room has provided that has helped the most is giving me a voice. My opinions and feelings have felt valued and appreciated, and it has allowed me to share things that I have not shared with others before. I think being open and honest has improved my relationships with everyone in my life and I am so grateful to this place for it. 

I plan of continuing my original plans of becoming a doctor next August. I have new ambitions and being involved in rehabilitation in some way and working with addicts from a medical perspective could be invaluable to myself and the public. I just want to lead a good life from now on without the damage and the pain that I caused in the past. I will keep taking part in CA fellowships and communicate with my friends from The Living Room as I continue on my recovery journey. 


Hertfordshire Hub 

I struggle to convey to you how important the Living Room virtual hub has been to me. I don’t often put my inner thoughts down on paper, especially if they will be read by someone else. However, it has had such a positive impact on me, I am forcing myself to get past that fear, as I want to share how important this service is. I wanted to say how this hub has been transformational for me, but I don’t really know how to get that across. I thought maybe I could try and list all of the reasons why I think it is invaluable, but a list doesn’t really express what an experience and a privilege it has been to be treated here. So instead, I thought I’ll tell you about how I wound up at the Living Room and what being in therapy here has been like for me personally.

I had been mis-using alcohol for around 30 years. Although I knew I needed help, I was always afraid of the idea of walking into a therapy centre, so never sought it. Then, during the pandemic, my addiction began to affect my health and I was forced to admit to a doctor that I had a problem. He recommended I attend a group. When he said that The Living Room were now running a virtual hub that I could attend remotely, rather than physically, it removed a big mental obstacle for me and I gave them a call. My greatest fear has been walking into a room full of people and admitting that I had a problem. I was scared. I was ashamed. I didn’t want to see people that I might know. By being a virtual centre, these fears were somehow less and it made it more approachable. I was nervous logging-on for the first time, but was welcomed warmly. It felt like I could hang back a little and not get too involved straight-away, and that helped. When I plucked up the courage to say something, the weight of attention didn’t feel too great and that made me feel more at ease. Over the next few days and weeks, I settled in and gained the courage to speak up more, and started to tackle my addiction. I have now been with the Living Room for 6 months and am getting a huge amount from it. 

Being able to admit and talk about my inner most demons has helped enormously, and I have been able to do this because the virtual environment makes me feel safer. Today, I have been sober for exactly 200 days, and that has been down to this hub. I am happier, healthier and feel confident that I have my addiction under control. This virtual hub works. I am proof of that. 

Main Group 

To The Living Room Counsellors, 

Words cannot describe my gratitude for all your care and support in my time here. I was such a lost soul when I first came in and had no idea of the magic that this place creates. You have helped save my life and also helped me to have a life too with all your words of wisdom and workshops that educated me to make better choices. I do love how much you care about us who come through the door and giving us all the opportunity to be heard which I never had before. To be heard, held and encouraged is such a gift to give and I'm truly grateful for you all to have given that to me.

I'm blessed to have made it to graduation and I'm a proud member of The Living Room club. Thank you for giving me a home away from home and a new family I can carry with me after I leave. Thank you for your dedication, service, compassion and strength that inspire us to be us without shame. 

Thank you with all my heart. 

We are so proud of every single one of our clients and their unique recovery journeys and we’d like to thank all of those who have allowed us to share their stories. If you have found yourselves relating to the stories we’ve shared, or they’re reminding you of someone in your life, you can access our support. Recovery is for everyone and we are here for you when you need us.