Solihull resident, Mark Poole shares his inspiring story of how he has transformed his life with support from Solihull Integrated Addiction Services (SIAS).

Written in his own words, Mark shares the personal story of his road to recovery after battling with an alcohol addiction for many years. His story acts as a beacon of hope to many, showing that with the right support and determination, you can recover with time.

“Hi, I’m Mark, I’ve been coming to SIAS since May and I’ve been living clean and sober since 8 July, the longest I have been clean since I was 12. I first came to SIAS after being referred by a mental health team and that’s all I thought the problem was, poor mental health. I’ve battled depression and anxiety since early childhood and now I’ve discovered there are other underlying issues.

I didn’t know what to expect when I first came here and I was scared, I was very surprised to be treated like a human being, a person instead of a patient or a number. There was genuine warmth and understanding, and there was always someone to talk to if I needed it. I wasn’t pushed to do anything or told I had a problem.

When I came here, I was broken, beat down by life and totally disconnected with the world, I didn’t want to live anymore, all I could see was darkness and I was in a real bad place mentally, the worst I’d ever been and the only way I could cope was with drink and drugs.

I was urged to start doing a structured group which really got the ball rolling for me, for the first time I came into contact with people like me, who knew what I was going through. I also started going out with the Angling group and it was here I felt comfortable enough to open up about myself for the first time and ultimately accepted I had a problem.

So, I asked for more help, and got it! I started a 12-week structured programme that taught me to accept myself as I am. I learned how to work on my mental health, coping techniques, relaxation, to look after myself physically and probably the biggest thing I learned, that it’s okay to be me.

Since I started going to groups, I began to engage again with other people, with life again, I started coming to the drop-in groups regularly just to be around other people that understand.

I want you to know there is life after addiction if you want it, and struggling with addiction doesn’t make you a bad person, just a human being that’s a bit broken, that’s been through some bad times.

My advice before you pick up your next drink/drug, think, where’s it going to take you and is that a place you want to go. Just stop for minute and breathe.

If you’re struggling with something, big or small, talk to someone, anyone. It’s amazing how much your mind can clear by talking. Just remember there is help out there if you want it, and there’s always hope, no matter how dark things may seem, as long as you’re breathing there’s hope.”

If you can relate to Mark’s story and you would like to get support, please reach out to our SIAS team today by contacting 0121 301 4141 or emailing