I was born into a large Irish family and an even bigger drinking culture. I don’t have many happy memories from my childhood because the violence and alcohol made it feel unsafe and chaotic and even though the house was always full, I felt lonely, like I didn’t belong.

I left home as soon as I could. They didn’t know it but I knew that I would never go back. I didn’t have any dreams or ambitions, just a determination to live life differently and then I lost that too.

When I found Blenheim’s CASA project last year I was a mess. I was the drunken dad to 3 kids who were afraid to be around me. I was the angry husband of a woman who despised me. I had acute liver damage and I was scared.

I’ve talked and listened more in these past few months than I did in my entire life and I’m good at it. I’ve just got my Level 3 in Communication to prove it and I’m now starting a course in Counselling. I volunteer as a service user rep and even go to the gym. I have been sober for 5 months and my kids are getting to know a new dad. I now accept that my dad wasn’t a bad man, sadly it’s too late to tell him but luckily it hasn’t been too late for me