Ian has been involved with The Wallich since 2016 – first as a service-user and later as a volunteer.
Using a service to fit his needs, Ian was provided with long-term supported accommodation at the Cardiff Shoreline Project.
“Before becoming a Shoreline service user in the summer of 2016, I was living in Cardiff with my parents.
2016 was a bittersweet year for me. For several years, my alcohol intake was deteriorating to the point that, eventually, my parents were forced to evict me from their home.
In the first half of the year, my alcohol intake was really getting out of control. I was abusive to family and friends and couldn’t see anything except for my next drink.
In early June, we found out that my grandfather had terminal cancer and had only six months to live. What did I do? Drink more.
A few weeks later, I had the tragic news that my uncle had suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 60. It really knocked me for six as we were very close.
My parents and myself went to visit my brother and sister-in-law, to discuss my uncle’s passing, and my brother told me he’d purchased two tickets: Wales vs Northern Ireland in the European Football Championships. I had gone from utter devastation to at least having some joy, watching my country play football in Paris.
However, after a fantastic weekend in France and watching Wales win, it was back to reality. This is where I really started to mourn my uncle’s passing. What did I do? Yes, drink and drink even more.
It was at this point my mother and father agreed that I wasn’t able to live with them any longer. They’d had enough of my drinking and extremely selfish behaviour.
I spent a few nights at the Huggard in Cardiff, which really opened my eyes. I remember thinking that I didn’t belong there and how dare my parents kick me out. Though looking back, it is the best thing they ever did for me.
After moving into the Night Shelter, I managed to make contact with The Wallich and Shoreline regarding more permanent housing.
It was around this time that I realised I had to get my life back on track and things were actually starting to look up.
Then my grandfather died in late November. This was another blow. I appreciate that he was 87 and we knew this time would come, but it didn’t make it any easier.
Luckily, I did not turn back to drink.
Christmas was the best part of last year – even better than going to Paris to watch the football. On Christmas morning, my brother and sister-in-law announced they were expecting a baby in July 2017. As I am writing this, it is June, so I only have a few weeks until I become an uncle. I cannot wait.
Looking forward to the future
With a young nephew or niece due to be born very soon, I want to be a big part of their lives. If I was to go back to my bad habits, I would have only myself to blame when I am not able to see them. I want to spend time with them, spoil and enjoy them.
I am determined to get back into employment and get my self-respect back to the same level as 10 years ago. I want to pay my own way without having to rely on others.
I do sometimes feel frustrated that my progress is not coming along as quickly as I’d like, but I also understand that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Recently, I started volunteering with The Wallich. This has not only given me pride, but also gives me the opportunity to give something back after all the support I received.
I have so much more to give and, in a way, by having the problems I have had, it has made realise what I had.
I would like to thank The Wallich and Shoreline for all their support and encouragement over the last 11 months. I believe that there is only one person that can help you, and that is yourself – but, it’s so much easier when you have support behind you.”
Find out more about how you can give some time to volunteer with us.