Chris had dealt with anxiety and stress since his teenage years, but things came to a head around the age of 28. With work and family related problems piling up around him, Chris started drinking heavily - to the point where it became a serious problem.

He attended an abstinence-based drop-in centre, was prescribed Campral and remained sober for two years.

But when Chris began working from home, under an 'arm's length' management style, his recently renewed social drinking started to hit problematic levels once again. This continued for around a year until, unable to cope, Chris attempted suicide.

Thankfully, he failed. Chris stabilised under the care of a Community Mental Health Nurse, but his drinking continued.

Things changed at work.  A structural shift saw Chris effectively demoted, suddenly working alongside a team where he simply didn't fit. The drinking increased, and the verbal and written warnings began.

Eventually, in December 2014, Chris was dismissed.

The conviction

Out of work, depressed and bored, Chris' days began to blur together. This dull, grey stretch of time continued for two long months.

Then, on the 19th of February 2015, everything changed.

Chris' wife needed a lift home from work. Chris promised her he wouldn't drink before making the journey, but that promise didn't hold.

On the way to his wife's workplace Chris had a minor collision with another vehicle. Not long after swapping details with the other driver, Chris received a call from the police.

He'd been reported for drink-driving.

Breathalysed, charged, and convicted for being three times over the limit, Chris spent the night in a cell. He hasn't drunk alcohol since.

The turning point

It sounds like a disaster scenario, but looking back, Chris is thankful that it happened. He describes it as a 'wake up' moment - the point where he decided that it was time to change his life.

He joined us on our MILE course, which helped rebuild his confidence and give a renewed sense of self-worth. It also introduced him to the Third Sector. It proved to be his natural home - realising his previous work choices just weren't right for him, Chris started considering other options.

MILE helped Chris make the jump from 'I think I can' to 'I know I can'. He hasn't looked back since, and has recently gained his second employment contract. One of these contracts has seen us have the good luck to welcome Chris to our team as a Project Coach for our Work It Out programme. He's also the current chair of the OpenLinks initiative.

The future

Chris has a new purpose in life - he wants to help others to find the services needed for substance recovery, and his new roles mean he can be part of the driving force behind making sure services are there for those who need them.

There's a bright future ahead of Chris, working in Wales' substance misuse sector. We're extremely glad to have been able to help him get there.