Rich's Story

I started at SWADS 15 years ago, with court orders because of my drug abuse.

Rich in the studio
Rich in the studio
Rich hanging artworks
Rich hanging artworks

I came because I had to, otherwise I would have been sent to prison. Throughout the process I went to rehab three times. It didn’t work. I carried on doing groups at SWADS and was made aware of fellowships like CA and NA which introduced me to the twelve step programme. Again it didn’t work, I just wasn’t ready to accept a different way of thinking, so I still had 10 years of using ahead of me before anything major changed. Even I pulled away from help, the SWADS always welcomed me back and I was never judged or turned away.

10 years later, I don’t know what happened, but I felt so broken, I took another look at the twelve step fellowship and started to pay more attention to what people were saying at SWADS in the group sessions and finally started working a 12 step programme and started to get results in my clean time. The periods in-between using became longer and longer.

I was using SWADS to fill my time at first, doing projects like the art and the music and found that I really enjoyed it. I’d spent time at home using computer programs to make my own music and started using Studio One, Digital Audio Workstation with Mike in the music studio. Mike helped each day, supporting me through my recovery. Mike realised my interest and gave me confidence and we started to make music together. We each had our own interests and where he taught me about music theory and bass guitar, I showed him more ways to use the Digital Audio Workstation.

I had been clean for a year when I felt that I needed to give something back to SWADS, and others, to continue on my way to recovery and so I started to volunteer in the Sound Recovery Studios. I play a key role helping to produce other clients work, song building and editing and teach basic knowledge around studio one. I have participated in the Recovery Choir and help to set up the equipment for Movie Monday each month.

SWADS continued to support me as a volunteer, and in-between sessions in the music studio I took time out to use the New View Art Room. It was nice to have some peace and quiet and I learnt loads. I started drawing, which I was uneasy about at first, but Lucille showed me ways to get started and helped throughout. I hand embroidered patches for the recovery quilt and also tried printing and stencilling. The atmosphere was really calming but we also had a laugh. I helped put up the exhibition in the Library and naturally took on more of a volunteering role in art too.

I am back in the music studio now, still work my twelve step programme and am involved in other community projects too. I have been clean and sober for five years now and appreciate all SWADS have done for me. My relationship with my family is amazing now, I take care of my health and go to the gym, I’ve stopped smoking and have positive people around me.