Susan Hodgson, Peer Mentor

Three years ago Susan Hodgson decided it was time to turn her life around and take control of her drinking problem.

Today she’s very different from the person from the one she used to be. She’s a Peer Mentor for Aspire Drug and Alcohol Service in Doncaster that helps people beat addiction.  She has managed to secure herself an as and when contract in the WellBean Coffee Lounge at Tickhill Road Hospital. She has become a Carer Governor for Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust and more recently was awarded Volunteer of the Year 2017 at its Annual Awards Ceremony.

But all this would not have been possible without the right support and a lot of determination.

Susan recalls: “It‘s still difficult to talk about the past. My addiction with drink first started after my husband died. We married when I was 17 and we were together for 26 wonderful years.  After he died I felt lost. I met someone else and that’s when my drink problem started. They would drink every night and I started doing the same. Before I knew it I had a serious drinking habit.

“It ripped my family apart and was almost the end of me. I knew I needed help and that’s when I found New Beginnings, a detox and day recovery programme – it’s an amazing place and it changed my life!

“I needed something in my life that I enjoyed and I wanted to help other people who were going through what I had. I trained as a mentor and supported others. I would go along with them to their appointments or just simply be there to listen.

“I’ve been an Aspire Peer Mentor for 18 months. When the WellBean Coffee Lounge opened, I volunteered a few days a week. I enjoy it. It helped me get my self-confidence back and I meet lots of people. I’ve now have an as and when role there which is great.

“I’ve started sewing again – something which I’ve not done for a long time, and have since made my daughter’s wedding dress.

“From someone who’s been there, my advice is to get help as soon as you can and ask for a mentor. Listen to your family and friends – they know you best and see what’s happening, even when you can’t.”