Diane’s story

Image: Diane Frontline Summer 18 Cover

I had lost everything through alcohol. Lost my home, my friends, most of my family, my job, my car and all the material things I once had. Most of all I lost myself.

I first came into contact with St Mungo’s in July 2017 and it changed everything for me.

I had lost everything through alcohol. Lost my home, my friends, most of my family, my job, my car and all the material things I once had. Most of all I lost myself.

I lost all confidence and self-esteem and I isolated myself with alcohol. Alcohol was my ‘everything’ and my only friend. My depression grew. I wanted to end everything, including myself. Looking back on this now it seems like I was in a cloud of insanity. Alcohol had taken me to this place.

My daughter stepped in. She took me to Bristol and helped me in the long process of recovery.

But when the detox was ‘over,’ I was left with this big question: who am I?

The realisation kicked in that I was homeless, and I felt useless. I felt lost. Lacking any confidence and not knowing what I should be doing.

I met with an Outreach Support Worker who suggested that I go to St Mungo’s and see if there were any courses I might be interested in. I came to the Bristol Recovery College and had a warm welcome, chat and a coffee in the garden.

The garden was a hive of activity, and I met Rubyjo who was managing the gardening crew. I was right in my element. I was missing my own very large garden, which I had spent most of my time in at home – mostly alone and intoxicated. Everyone was friendly and warm to me. That was in July, and by early August I had become part of the Putting Down Roots team as a volunteer. I’m now part of a great team of people whose company I love.

I feel very proud to be maintaining the Physic Garden as it’s such a beautiful garden in a great part of town. My confidence has returned through gardening and everyone knows my name, which feels so good.

I have my self-respect back

I have my self-respect back and I look forward to joining up with the team twice a week. I also achieved a horticultural qualification though the project, which gave me something to work towards. Now I’m helping to teach others who are doing the qualification.

I would recommend the Bristol Recovery College and Putting Down Roots to anyone who may have lost their way in life. There is hope; a life on the other side of addiction and homelessness. I am so lucky.

Putting Down Roots started in Bristol in late 2014 and offers people who are a risk of homlessness or people who have experience of rough sleeping the opportunity to gain a horticultural qualification. Helping people who have experienced homelessness to gain skills and develop their employability is a fundamental part of our aim to help people rebuild their lives. Find out more here.