Radio 4’s Sunday Worship programme recently aired from Newcastle Cathedral and featured an interview with Karen - a member of the Recovery Church.
Karen, who celebrated six months of sobriety on May 15th - the same day the programme came out - shared her story in a discussion with Jon Canessa who heads up the Cathedral’s Lantern Initiative.
Now training to be a counsellor, Karen hopes her story will help to raise awareness of the recovery services available in the North East and help anyone who finds themself in need of support and advice.
“I can’t describe what it meant to me recording the programme,” said Karen.
“I was proud of myself and proud to be able to give something back.
“So many people don’t know about the recovery services existing in the area. Not only individuals but a lot of health professionals are not aware of them and what help is out there for people with addictions and also their families.
“I don’t hide the fact that I am an alcoholic in recovery. Because I know how hard it can be for people to admit that they have an addiction. And to seek out help for that, that’s hard too.”
Karen found herself involved in the Recovery Church, for which she now volunteers, after a chance meeting with a stranger at one of the altars inside the Cathedral.
She said: “I was crying at one of the altars and someone, who I have never seen again, came and spoke to me.
“What they said made sense and for the first time ever, I felt that somebody was listening to me and that I belonged somewhere. Being in recovery I’ve realised I have a higher power that wants me to have a life, whereas my addiction to alcohol just wants to destroy me.
“I don’t want to block stuff out with drinking anymore. I actually embrace the fact that I have emotions that I am alive to. I can deal with them – I don’t have to wear a mask or pretend anymore. I love being alive!
“I am grateful for so much. For the peace that I feel when I wake up every morning. For friends I have made in recovery, for the rehab and recovery services here in Newcastle, for the Cathedral and for Newcastle College where I have just started a course in counselling.
“If you’d told me six months ago that I was going to return to studying, I’d have laughed in your face.”
You can listen to Karen’s full interview here.