Tom's Story

Man in black sweater
Tom came to Restore in July 2022, after spending time in a rehab facility for alcoholism.

Tom was offered and accepted a place in rehab, but just after he started this, he found out that his landlord was selling the house he lived in and he had received one month’s notice. This meant he would have nowhere to go once he completed his rehabilitation. He got put in touch with Restore and offered a room in one of our shared houses. He describes the moment when he realised he was being offered a room at Restore as ‘surreal,’ after thinking he had nowhere to go: “I feel very fortunate- very blessed that that situation actually came around…I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Tom says his alcohol addiction had cost him everything: he’d lost his friends, his home and his job. The two years prior to his stay in rehab had been tough: he had isolated himself and hadn’t spoken to anyone. He recognises that – had it not been for the offer of a room at Restore – his chances of relapsing were extremely high. The assistance he received from Ben (his housing support worker) was a big part of helping Tom to stay sober during this crucial point of his recovery journey. Meeting up regularly with Ben and setting realistic goals together helped Tom to achieve the milestones he had set for himself and keep him away from destructive thoughts that could have negatively impacted his recovery.

Meeting his housemates at Restore and having people in his life again was a big deal for Tom, but he says he had a good bond with his fellow residents almost instantly, and they’ve become firm friends. They had a good community spirit in the house and enjoyed sending time together, eating or watching a football match on TV. This was completely different to Tom’s previous experience of living in shared accommodation and the support network the residents built among themselves became really important in helping Tom to remain sober. The others in the house understood really quickly that in order for his recovery to continue, Tom needed to remain tee-total, and they were sensitive about not placing temptation in his way. They were also good at helping him talk through the low points when the temptation to drink was stronger, and Tom describes this help as “priceless.” Eight months after joining Restore, Tom was ready to move into his own flat, but he is still in regular contact with his former Restore housemates. He also meets up with Hilary (our community support worker) on a weekly basis to check that he’s doing OK in his new place. Her advice and support have been really helpful to him, particularly in the early days of setting up utility bills, which he would have found very stressful and frustrating to deal with without support. Tom recognises that his life is still predominantly focussed on his recovery journey, and that for the time being, it’s right that he concentrates on this. All his working experience has been in the hospitality industry, but the temptations he would face are too great for him to ever feel able to return to a role of that nature. He’s passionate about helping other people recover from addiction and says the importance of having the support of someone with lived experience of alcoholism themselves cannot be understated. To this end he’s now involved with ‘York in Recovery’ and helps to support others on the road to recovery. His goal in offering advice from his own experiences is to “have a positive impact on someone else’s journey.” He’s also been working with ‘Choc and Co,’ which is one place he can use his hospitality expertise without the temptation from alcohol. He finds his role there helps provide a structure to his week and gives him chance to interact with people in the wider community. In response to the question ‘what reason would you give to someone wondering why they should support Restore,’ Tom said:

“because that support is invaluable…it could have such an impact on someone’s life, without you even realising.”

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