I've spent most of my career in retail. Aged 16, I started work at one of the first McDonalds stores in the UK and rose to become Area Manager before being hired by Woolworth's. I spent 20 years there, where my specialism was sorting out underperforming stores where theft was common. I loved Woolworth's and developing my team. Then one day, my son told me that Woolworth's was on the TV. The company had gone into administration. I had to make my whole team redundant and I too lost my job.
Unfortunately, that was the start of a downward spiral. Soon after, I found out that my dad had terminal cancer and moved into his flat to look after him. After he passed, my drinking and depression got out of control. One day, my mum asked me to leave. I don't blame her but thank God our relationship is back on track.
I hit rock bottom in a hostel but I didn't want my life to end this way. I felt I did not deserve any love but one night, I prayed. That was 4 months ago, and since then I haven't touched a drop. After specialist treatment, I’m now in an alcohol-free hostel for recovering alcoholics. All this feels odd to me. Most of my life has been "normal" and I can’t wait to get back to the "real" world.
I’ve always enjoyed DIY. I've successfully completed a decorating course at a charity and done tiling and other odd jobs for my Mum. After I get my qualification, I want to help others by practically fixing problems in their lives and offering a great service, ideally at a housing association or other communal organisation. I feel this is the best way I can help to give back to others after receiving help from so many during the toughest period of my life.