TWELVE months ago Margaret had just completed her 12 steps programme. One year on, she is now a volunteer with THOMAS at our Wigan rehab centre, working closely with people struggling with addiction, and passing on her knowledge and first hand experiences.

It hasn’t always been an easy ride but Margaret has never felt better, and every aspect of her life has improved over the past year. As she continues to move forwards, Margaret sat down with Edges to tell us all about her recovery journey.

Margaret says: “Right now life isn’t good, it’s great. Everything has changed for the better. The biggest change has been in myself, which has had a knock on effect on everything I do and all the people around me. People trust me again; they see me as a close friend, as a mum and a daughter.

“I have realised that life is for living and not for sitting and dwelling on bad things that happened in the past. I’m not filled with resentment anymore, I’ve got everything I need in my life and that is all thanks to working through my 12 steps programme.

“I know how important it is to follow the 12 steps programme if you want recovery, so to be given the opportunity to volunteer and help people who are in the position I was in 12 months ago is just amazing.

“I get a lot out of being a volunteer and it feels very rewarding to watch these people grow from strength to strength, not only in themselves but physically too. I am on the other side now and can see the positive changes in their appearance and health as each day goes by.

“Being prepared to change is a massive factor. I was never in that place before I came to THOMAS, and it is only possible if you genuinely want to transform your life. Experience has taught me that you can put down the substances but if you aren’t 100% in it for yourself, it won’t work.

“Drawing on this experience for the sake of the people in rehab now is one of the best things about being a volunteer. Being able to give them guidance is extremely fulfilling, much more so than any paid job would be.”

Margaret’s relationships with her family are also continually developing, just one of the many things that has improved significantly since her graduation.

Margaret explains: “It’s nice to feel comfortable around my family now. I actually enjoy the time we spend together instead of wanting to leave them just so I can go off and do what I want to do.

“Even though I know they have their own lives to live, I am keen to make up for lost time and do whatever I can to try to get together, especially with my two daughters and my mum.

“I go to their houses for dinner, we go out for meals or to the cinema. I know that’s where I’m meant to be and what I’m meant to be doing. I am there for them now, and they are there for me again.

“My social life has improved massively too. I have a good bunch of friends around me, which has built up through networking in recovery. I don’t have to avoid situations or people anymore because I am comfortable in my own skin.”

Margaret is looking forwards to a bright future and is content with the way things are going.

“I can’t ask for much more at the moment – what I have is enough. I hope it will carry on, I suppose more will be revealed as time goes on.

“What I do know is that I have achieved and done things I never thought possible. I’m at college again now and have taken a creative writing class. My nerves were truly tested when I had to perform a piece in front of everyone, which we weren’t told about when we started!

“I feel overwhelmed sometimes about how far I have come. I am still constantly learning and changing, but for the first time I am happy. I amaze myself everyday with what I have achieved through THOMAS and I know I will continue to move forwards, so things can only keep getting better.

“Success is all about continuing on our path to recovery, and maintaining what we have. Just being responsible for myself, such as turning up to places on time and paying bills, is keeping me on that path because I am putting every piece of my life back together. You have to put what you learn into action and apply it to your life in every way possible, and that is exactly what I am doing.”