How work supported my mental health and recovery: Josh’s story

01 January 2020

My name’s Josh and I’m a recovered alcohol addict. For many years, I was very unhappy and suffering with anxiety and depression. On the face of it, I had no reason to be unhappy, but I didn’t know how to talk about how I was feeling. I started to suppress how I felt with alcohol and over time it became a problem for me. Today I’ve got a programme in place that helped me recover from my hopeless state of mind, and I’m free from the pain, misery and terror that addiction causes.

A huge part of my recovery is owed to my manager and my colleagues. At first I wasn’t sure if I should be open with them and tell them that I was going through recovery. But when I thought about it, I thought well, I spend most of my waking hours with these people, and if I can’t be honest with them who can I share it with?

In hindsight, I shouldn’t have worried. The support was incredible. My manager agreed that I can work flexible hours, to go to meetings when I need to; I can see family when I need to. And he also checks in on me to see if I’m keeping up with my programme. I’ve been helped and supported every step of the way.

When I’m sharing my story at work, I’m always shocked by how well it’s received by people and how much they want to offer their support. I recently completed a two-day training course, training to be a mental health first-aider through Bupa and I think it’s really inspiring to work somewhere that actually practises what it preaches, and that wants to support colleagues and offer this type of support.

The way I’ve been treated at work has also inspired me to go and share my message outside of work, so I speak regularly in prisons, rehabilitation centres and hospitals, to try and share a message of hope, faith and courage to suffering addicts.

The only way we can remove any stigma around mental health is to open up a non-judgemental dialogue where people are comfortable discussing it. So I hope that sharing my story might assist people in doing so. And by doing it, we might be giving somebody an opportunity to live a life they didn’t know they were entitled to. I’m proud to work somewhere that truly puts the same emphasis on mental health as it does on physical health.

Bupa has more information about alcohol and mental health.

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