Latest News | 18 October 2022

Veteran Ryan walks road to recovery

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An armed forces veteran has marked two years of sobriety by joining Derventio Housing Trust for its celebration recovery walk.

Ex-RAF diagnostic radiographer Ryan Williams, of Swadlincote, has been sober since September 2020, after seeking help when years of alcohol addiction tore through his whole life, wrecking his marriage, losing him his job and his home, as well as damaging the nerves in his leg so badly he now walks with a stick.

He recently joined members of Growing Lives, a project run by Derventio, who celebrated National Recovery Month with a series of activities ending in a four-mile walk taking in the Bennerley Viaduct.

Ryan said: “In the early days of recovery, you ask yourself: ‘Is it worth it?’ Physically, it is painful.

“Then there are the mental aspects too. It took me a good four months from my last drink for things like my manual dexterity to return, for the shaking to stop.

“If you’ve been a heavy drinker, once you make the decision to stop, you have to put as much effort into recovery as you did into your addiction.

“I have tried to quit drinking before 2020, but it was always to appease others. True recovery is only achieved when you do it for yourself.

“I feel that National Recovery Month is a celebration for me to say: ‘Well done Ryan’.”

Ryan joined members of Ilkeston-based Growing Lives – a project which aims to build confidence in people referred to its services to help their recovery from drug and alcohol addiction – through a Chesterfield-based charity: DAAS – STAND TO Derbyshire Veteran Community Services, which offers a range of services for ex-forces personnel, including alcohol support, recovery and tackling isolation.

Jackie Carpenter, assistant director of strategy at Derventio Housing Trust, said: “Every day is a recovery day with us at Growing Lives, but there is something so positive for people who are turning their lives away from drugs and alcohol to take a moment to reflect on their achievements. Recovery Month enables them to do just that.

“Recovery is tough. It’s painful, and there can be setbacks along the way. The team at Growing Lives go for a walk together once a week and I know that people who use our services find it a real highlight of their visits here.”

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