Recovering alcoholic credits work as the key | Recovering alcoholic credits work as the key | Remploy

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John gallagher sunderland

"I still don’t know where my strength came from, but I managed to make the right decision.”

A recovering alcoholic from Sunderland credits having a job as the reason he has been able to regain control of his life again. Five years ago John Gallagher, now 49, was desperate to end his cycle of reliance and turned to Remploy for support.

John, from Hendon, had not worked since 2002 when his job as a delivery driver ended because of his increasing reliance on alcohol and his mental health issues resulting from his addiction.

Five years ago, he sought specialist employment advice and says that Remploy, which supports people with disabilities and long-term health conditions, helped him transform his life. John is one of 100,000 people supported into work by Remploy between 2010 and 2015

“I lost far more than my job – my marriage and my relationship with my family ended, and I was eventually admitted to hospital with a number of serious medical problems caused by my alcoholism. Undoubtedly, it was all heading in one direction and so I faced a stark choice - lose everything, including my life, or turn my back on the bottle. I still don’t know where my strength came from, but I managed to make the right decision.”

John committed to breaking his habit and, as his health eventually improved, so did his focus on getting a job.

“Remploy showed me how to focus on what I really wanted to do, and they encouraged me to believe in myself once again. They also provided practical support including helping me to straighten out my finances and learn the many tips and tricks needed to get a job. It was a bit like going back to school, only this time I had to be very strict with myself. However I was keen to learn and my advisors became my friends.

John is back behind the wheel and now works for an organisation providing care and support to people with learning disabilities, mental health issues, autism or age-related needs.

“Although I work fulltime, Remploy still supports me and I am a regular visitor to the branch on John Street. The staff have supported me when I needed it most, and they continue to offer advice and a listening ear.”

Employment Advisor Jill Mullaney from Remploy’s Sunderland branch added, “John really wanted to move on and, whilst he readily admits he hit rock bottom, he was determined to do something about it and make significant changes to his life. I’m thrilled to have been part of the team who, through employment, have helped him move on, and we’re all really proud of what he has achieved.”

“Alcohol used to be my prop, but I have learnt how to live without it and my life is so much better,” said John. “I can share my emotions and frustrations with others without needing to reach for the bottle. I am lucky in that I have peace of mind and, whilst I don’t always get things right, at least I am able to think things through carefully and, unlike in the past, I now make the right choices.”