My Story: Dale

Why did you decide to volunteer for SMART Howard House?

My first involvement with Smart Howard House was as a resident to complete a drug detox which I completed in just less than 3 months.

I had struggled with my addiction for many years which brought me to my knees, causing me to loose pretty much everything, including my house, family and my dignity.

After years of engaging with doctors and other services supplying me with prescriptions for various other, just as addictive drugs, I could see no way out of my despair and misery.

I finally got admitted to SMART Howard House and slowly but surely my live began to improve, I found the environment, staff and existing residents very welcoming, the house had a great structure and routine throughout my stay, which touched me making me think how proud the staff must feel to be able to do this for people suffering from addiction problems.

After my treatment from Smart Howard House and Rehab I decided to volunteer to get involved with people in my previous situation to show them there is a way out of addiction.

How would you describe you experience of being a volunteer?

As I hadn’t worked for a number of years I was unsure what to do with my time back in the community, I find my days volunteering at SMART Howard House gives me routine and a real purpose. I look forward to my days getting involved with the running of the house and helping with the resident’s needs. I feel the whole unit works well.

I enjoy seeing people coming into the house looking and feeling destroyed and after a short time I’m able to see a marked improvement in them both mentally and physically.

To take a grown adult for a walk down the river, to the dentist or cinema etc. for the first time clean and sober in perhaps their adult life or at least many years is for me priceless and gives me a great sense of wellbeing and achievement.

What have you gained from volunteering for SMART?

I’ve gained a better live for myself and my family, giving me an opportunity to fill my time with something that I feel very worthwhile, I’ve gained confidence that I can live my life without the constant use of drugs. I’ve gained new skills through the various courses that I’ve completed giving me self-belief, self-worth and the ability to help people who thought there was no help. What I’ve gained is endless.

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