A man who refused to believe he was an alcoholic and lost his home has turned things around after his life got ‘as low as it can get’.
Formerly homeless man Gavin Faulkner, 50, has decided to mark alcohol awareness week this week by sharing his story of addiction.
He started drinking at the age of 14 and years later, having had a daughter with his partner, was facing homelessness after he was unable to pay the rent.
But thanks to rehab and a local charity taking him in for the last four years, he has been able to turn his life around and rebuild relationships with people close to him.
Recalling how it started, Gavin said: “My girlfriend at the [age of 14] had a problem with alcohol. We would save up and get drink and cigarettes from a garage in the village. As I got older we had a little more cash and the drinking got heavier.”
Having left school, having a job meant more freedom and the problem escalated: “Now I had money I could drink to my heart’s content. I met a woman and we moved in together, but she was also an alcoholic so everyday we’d start drinking early.”
The two had a daughter together, but were reaching the point of being unable to pay the rent.
He said: “When the deadline came we were homeless. The council put us up in very basic emergency accommodation for three years.”
When their relationship broke down, Gavin’s mother took him in.
He said: “Mum was watching her son dying right in front of her and I slowly began to realise that I might have a problem and needed help. Eventually, mum suggested going into rehab and I agreed.”
Gavin completed a year of specialist rehab, and was then referred to the homelessness charity Emmaus Oxford as a recovering alcoholic.
He said: “It felt like home and it still feels like that.”
He added: “I hadn’t seen my daughter since my recovery started but since I have been at Emmaus this has started to change; we’re back in touch and meet up occasionally.
“I’ve realised that until my dying days I’ll always be a recovering alcoholic but I feel that I’ve got to the end of the road. Emmaus has given me stability and changed me for the better.”
The charity currently supports 28 formerly homeless people by giving them a home and meaningful work.