James has had his struggles with substance misuse, and previously made attempts to become abstinent before going into treatment with ACORN Recovery Projects.

Growing up the eldest of three children, James described his childhood as up and down, with a lot of pressure put on him. He was brought up with mixed messages of needing to stand up for himself and be strong, and yet he would be punished for the trouble his actions would cause.

With a history of violence and criminal activity but no time in prison, James had a lot of resentment towards his youngest brother, who he felt could do no wrong.

When entering treatment, it was apparent that there were many issues surrounding James’ drug-using lifestyle, as well as his awareness and acceptance of his responsibility and role in his predicament.

With little to no relationship with his five children, his behaviour was destructive to himself, his family and the community. With this, he displayed a willingness to want to change, even if he did so reluctantly at times and, when applying himself, he would often amaze himself at the changes in his attitude and behaviour.

In the first twelve weeks of James’ treatment at ACORN, he explored the consequences of this behaviour whilst in addiction. Most of these centred around criminal activities as a young man, and his relationship with his father, mother and siblings. Whilst looking into this, James opened his mind to the extent of the damage he had caused and the part he played, deciding to reach out successfully to his family and his father in particular.

Whilst working through his recovery journey, James moved into one of ACORN’s secondary houses situated in Heywood, and he continued to make his way to Oldham to complete his remaining eight weeks of secondary treatment on the STAR programme. This part of the rehabilitation treatment gives clients the opportunities to learn self-governing and increase their own responsibilities.

During this time in secondary treatment, James engaged very well and, on occasions when he didn’t see the benefit of an activity, he showed an ability to go away and reflect and change his approach to treatment. This encouraged and developed James into an enthusiastic member of ACORN’s recovery community, where he became a clear leader, always willing to get involved with activities, especially sports. After successfully completing his treatment and remaining drug and alcohol free, James has progressed into a peer mentor role within the NHS at St Chad’s Court (Rochdale), and is about to begin some voluntary work with ACORN, running the Monday night badminton activity for residents, an activity which he has consistently attended.

James has proved to be an individual who brings others together with enthusiasm, and is a reliable and committed member of his social circle.