I’M a recovering addict. I got hooked on painkillers after an operation on my jaw and I’ve been working with CGL St Helens, mainly the family team. 

I don’t think the staff there get enough credit for what they do, even ones not on the staff team. I’ve just been to a detox and listening to other people nowhere else has the amazing support we do.

We also do a course with them with the kids called Mpact where they help the kids recover. Rachel, the manager, does an amazing job.

I thought they’d contact social services. They don’t unless they think there is anyone at risk of harm. They help you back through it.

Not only that, they have taught me how to behave. 

It seems strange for a 38-year-old to say but they have given me tools and communication skills I didn’t have. Previously, I used anger as a defence. We are so lucky in St Helens and we don’t even realise it.

There is a stigma around CGL because of the people seen outside. These are mainly poorly people, the people in the classes upstairs are not intoxicated. 

I think to get our town well we need to realise what an amazing service we have and we need to lose the stigma. Literally anyone can access their services free. 

I didn’t even know I could go there for help to get off painkillers and it’s changed my whole life and brought my family back together. 

Name and address submitted