‘I didn’t want to live that way any more. . . now I’m the best version of myself’

Almost a year after waking with a familiar heavy head and a new determination to turn around his life, a Lurgan man is clocking up kilometres in aid of the charity that helped him outdistance his alcohol addiction.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 3:05 pm

Affecting all aspects of his life, by his own admission drink came before everything for 25 year-old Mick Henderson, until April 18 last year dawned on a decision that he didn’t want to live that way any more.

“I picked up the phone, called my GP and told them I needed help,” said the Albert Mews man. “I was referred to the community addiction service and from then my sobriety journey began.”

Mick’s has been a journey buffeted by the prevailing wind of the pandemic and the resulting lack of face-to-face counselling, but weekly phone sessions proved to be exactly what he needed to get through what he called the “extremely challenging” early stages of recovery.

“I was able to get a lot off my chest, discover and learn more about myself, identify my triggers, what to do in the event of a possible relapse, how to avoid it, and so much more,” he said.

“The support, advice and tools I was given helped me turn my life around for the better.”

Now Mick is taking to Lurgan’s roads to raise money for Addiction NI, an operating name for the Northern Ireland Community Addiction Service that helped him so much on his own road to recovery.

“Nearly a year on and I’m the best version of myself, since beating this addiction,” he said, “so to celebrate the anniversary I want to give back to Addiction NI, and show my support and gratitude for the work they do in helping people change their lives, by fundraising as much as I can, since they’re a non-profit organisation.

“I’ll be doing this by running 105km in the month of April.”

Mick tries to take a different route each day as he goes the distance and, injury permitting, he wants to exceed his 105km target in the hope the public will support Addiction NI in its work to change lives, and save lives.

“Every donations counts,” he said.

Addiction NI director, Alex Bunting, said the charity was “extremely proud” of Mick for achieving one year in recovery.

“As highlighted by Mick,” he said, “ many people suffer from depression and develop issues with substances in an attempt to numb the emotional pain they feel.

“It is brilliant to hear Mick talk openly about his issues and experience,helping others see recovery is possible.

“It is also brave of Mick to talk about his mental health and how he has developed a greater insight into how we all have ups and downs.

“I would like to thank Mick for deciding to do something to help AddictionNI.

“All funding received will go towards helping people who have similar struggles.

“We wish him all the best in his challenge, recovery and life.”

You can donate to Mick’s fundraising effort on behalf of Addiction NI at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/michael-henderson26.