Black and white man drinking tea in office

Gareth has been in recovery for four years now. Thanks in part to the staff at The Wallich Croes Ffin project but mostly to his own strength and determination, he has completely turned his life around.

A drug user since his early teens, Gareth became addicted to heroin and methadone. Weighing just eight stone, suffering from depression and “barely surviving” he finally hit rock bottom in 2009 and managed to secure a place at a residential rehab centre.

“The hardest thing is admitting you have a problem. My whole life revolved around drugs – where I was going to get my next hit from – I didn’t think about food, family, housing, health, nothing. It completely took over my life. It was either get into rehab or end it all.”

Gareth undertook a seven-day detox which he describes as “hell” and remained at the centre for a further six months to ensure he was ready to face his new life without drugs.

“The most important thing when you leave rehab is to have a stable home to come back to,” Gareth says. “When you decide to give up drugs, you have to give up your old life – your friends, your relationships, the area you live in, sometimes your family. It’s hard, and lonely.”

Gareth was referred to The Wallich’s Croes Ffin project in Cardiff. Croes Ffin is for people who have been discharged from treatment or prison and need support to maintain this change in their lives. The support provided enables people to rebuild, regain and develop the skills and confidence they need to make the transition to independent living; to help them make informed decisions and lifestyle choices, to build a future lifestyle without drugs.

Gareth credits the project with enabling him to maintain his new, clean life:

“If I didn’t have this place, I don’t know what would’ve happened to me. Liz and the rest of the staff have been amazing. I’ve had lots of times when I’ve felt really down but they have always managed to bring me up again. Since I’ve been here, I’ve completed a number of training courses with NewLink and am now volunteering with Inroads, supporting and giving advice to people with drug and alcohol issues.”

Staff at the project say Gareth has come a long way and they are very proud of what he has achieved. Gareth’s hopes for the future:

“This is a different me, now. I finally feel proud of myself. I’m back in touch with my family and feel ready to live independently. A year from now I want to be off benefits, living in my own flat, and working full-time as a support worker. If I can speak to 100 people about drugs, and get through to just one of them – enough for them to make changes to their life – then that’s what I want. It’ll all be worth it.”


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