A RECOVERING alcoholic who has been on a year-long journey to achieve sobriety and rebuild his life is hoping to help others overcome their demons.
Dane-John Kemp, a 33-year-old who was ‘born and bred’ in Cudworth, hit rock-bottom last year when his addiction began to consume his life.
However, after a long spell of recovery – which included help from local support service Recovery Steps – he is now reaching out to others who are struggling.
“Basically I was struggling to keep a job held down,” he said. “I was always showing up late and if I wasn’t late I was under the influence.
“It was a secret – unless you were close to me you’d have no idea how much I was drinking – and I’m amazed some people I worked with didn’t point it out. Eventually I couldn’t look after myself, I wasn’t keeping clean and wasn’t eating properly.
“One day I ended up smashing a mirror, I couldn’t stand looking at myself anymore – I was covered in blood, the glass had cut my hands and the bottom of my feet when I’d kicked it.”
After time with Recovery Steps, he was enrolled at a residential rehabilitation clinic – Ark House – in Scarborough with help from his mum, Beverley Carter. Over six months he took on the difficult task of recovery, dealing with the issues that had led him down this path.
“It was daunting – I’m a local lad, I knew everyone in town and didn’t travel to meet new people. Suddenly I was 80 miles from home living with complete strangers.
“It’s a lot like school, there are a lot of strict rules, everyone’s up at 9am and they make sure you get out of bed. We do therapy sessions and classes – it actually helped me realise that I wanted to enrol at college.
“You’ve got to be open, and I decided it doesn’t matter how daunting it was as I wanted to fix my life.”
Dane-John currently works at ITAB in Tankersley – who he had worked with before going to rehab – while studying health and social care at Barnsley College. Once he has finished his qualification, he hopes to use his experiences to help others going through similar issues.
“I needed that structure in my life so I went back to work. I’d completely hidden my problems from ITAB before, and when I moved out I left on sick leave.
“I’ve called them and asked to come back – I’m being completely clean and honest and they’ve been really supportive.
“My boss is kind of like a counsellor, if I’m ever struggling I’ll go have a break and chat with him. But I want to put my experience to good use, and help others the same way Recovery Steps helped me. Eventually, I’d like to open my own rehab centre in Barnsley – it’s a long shot but that’s my end goal.”