Winston joined the LIFE Course back in March 2016. After struggling with addiction to alcohol for years, he has turned his life around and now wants to give something back. This is his story.
"Back in school, I was never any good at sport. I was always slow at running and didn’t enjoy playing football or anything like that. I’d never have dreamt of doing anything like a half marathon! In my school, it seemed like a lot of kids who were academic were also good at sports. I wasn’t much good at either and people like me just got left behind. I left school without any qualifications, didn’t feel I had much going for me and my self-esteem was pretty low.
After that, I moved about a bit, I’m originally from Birmingham but moved to Bristol about three years ago for a change. When I came to Bristol, I ended up homeless and was staying in the YMCA. For the first two years here I was drinking very, very heavily. My life had no focus or direction and I couldn’t break out of that cycle. I didn’t know many people and those I did know were drinkers too.
Since then, I managed to get help and with the support of people at St Mungo’s and the Bristol Drugs Project (BDP), I’ve given up drinking. I started coming to CCM in March to do the LIFE course. My support workers suggested LIFE to me as a way to meet some new people and help me with my recovery. It’s been great to get to know some of the other group members and the leaders. I’ve even started doing some volunteering at BDP, supporting other people who have problems with addiction. My hope for the future is to be settled and drink free.
Now I’m 52 years old and I’m trying to do something that I wish I’d done at 16. Running the Bristol Half Marathon is a way for me to prove to myself and others that anything is possible. I want to encourage others not to give up, because if I can achieve this, so can they."