“My life has been really hard. I’m gonna tell it to you, but you might get emotional!”

“When you get out of the addiction, you start to see life in a different way. In the last 18 months I’ve had more of a life than my whole life.”


Lizz defines herself as a happy go lucky lass from Middlesborough, but she is clear from the moment we meet that things weren’t always this way.However, it is only last year that Lizz has been able to get the support she needed to recover her self-esteem, and tackle her depression. But she had to hit rock-bottom first.

After years of domestic abuse, and of having to walk on eggshells all the time, Lizz finally feels like she can focus on building a relationship with her children and grandchildren. She loves being a mum and feels a pinch of pride every time her grandchildren call her nana.


Although the police, social services and her family were all aware of the domestic violence for years, what led her to get the right support was the binge drinking, which, in comparison, seems relatively short and anecdotal. The fact that her children were put into care is what raised the alarms bells for her. “Reality hit home.” 

Even though support from Hope North East was focused on overcoming her addiction, it helped her with recovering her self-esteem and building a positive image of herself which went beyond simply alcohol recovery. 


Timelines for website portrait Feb

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Here are the insights that relate to Lizz’s story. 

Coping with love, rejection & trauma

icons3Unaddressed childhood trauma and rejection from a loved one, linked with a lack of support to cope with this trauma are often at the source of many of the issues people experience later in life. Access to therapeutic support is key.

For a more in-depth insight, read these stories and blog posts:

Lizz  Zeb  Natasha  Tex  Martin  Karen  Stuart  Colin
Coping with love and rejection  Society’s expectations of you shape you



The system is full of missed opportunities

icons5Most of the interactions people have had with services could be seen as missed opportunities. By stigmatising people and focusing on ‘risk’ rather than recovery, services end up not providing the right support and disempower people. Services are missing key moments when help is needed and people are reaching out.

For a more in-depth insight, read these stories and blog posts:

Lizz  James  Natasha  Steve
A system of missed opportunities   The system punishes you for doing well



Change: “the hardest thing you’ll have to do in your life.”

icons2Acknowledging traumas and learning to be vulnerable are part of the recovery journey. It can be challenging to adapt to a “stable” life, especially when it means giving up on old relationships and environments, or when people then have to face universal services that don’t recognise how far they have come. We need to recognise that recovery is a journey, not just a step.

For a more in-depth insight, read these stories and blog posts:

Lizz  Zeb  Natasha  Tex  Martin  Karen  Lee  Colin
Building a new me – Part 1    Building a new me – Part 2



Recovery is a social journey

iconsExperiencing addiction, abuse or homelessness can be very isolating, and people experiencing those issues have often had to follow their own independent path from a young age. The system sometimes reinforces people’s isolation and sense that it is all their fault, while the circumstances they are in are in fact the result of a set of interdependent relationships. We need to support people to build positive relationships and social networks, and to be part of “recovery communities.”

For a more in-depth insight, read these stories and blog posts:

Lizz  Tex  Martin  Lee  Colin



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