Recovering addicts in Thetford celebrate how far they have come

Recovering addicts took the chance to celebrate their achievements with a specially organised walk representing how far they had come in beating their problems.

Around 12 service users of Thetford’s Matthew Project, which helps those with drugs and alcohol problems, took part in the sponsored event to highlight their achievements in aid of Norfolk Drug and Alcohol Partnership Recovery Month.

The aim was to show others they too could beat their substance misuse problems, but also to break down stigma attached to recovering addicts.

The event was organised by recovering alcoholic Steve Fairess, 40, who hoped to raise funds to contribute to the group newsletter published by the Service Users Involvement Group, Thetford (SUIT).

Mr Fairess, who first realised he was an alcoholic around 25 years ago said: “We wanted to give some money back and at the same time show it’s good in recovery and it can be done.

“We thought exercise because it’s good for you and everybody can walk the pace of the slowest person.

“It’s all about looking after each other and having fun.”

Most Read

The group began on Saturday morning in Thetford and walked along the Haling Path to Santon Wareham where they stopped for a picnic before carrying on to Brandon.

Sam Spiller, 22, from Thetford, first started smoking cannabis when he was 11-years-old, and turned to amphetamines when he was 18.

He has been clean since December 2011 and added: “I’m here because the Matthew Project has helped me out in the past and it’s my way of giving something back.

“I’ve always been quite a confident person but I think that’s why I ended up getting into drugs at the time.

“Too much confidence and not enough brains.

“I thought at first it was all fun and games but it got too much. This walk is something I would never have done when I was on drugs.

“Now it’s nice to get out and it’s a different sort of buzz.”

Thetford substance misuse team manager Nicola Lambert said she was pleased at the amount of people who took part in the walk and added: “At their worst drugs and alcohol can take over a life and some people recover quite quickly and do something like this and others take much longer.

“This is a celebration of the fact it can be done.”