Praise for new addiction service

RECOVERING alcoholics have spoken out about their experiences to raise awareness of a new service launched to help the estimated 7,000 people in North Somerset with drinking problems.

The Addiction Recovery Agency launched its new alcohol misuse service which has seen more than �300,000 invested in it by NHS North Somerset.

Mike Collins, a 56-year-old recovering alcoholic from Portishead, said: “Without this service I would have probably died, I would have drunk myself to death. I owe my life to it.

“They really go out of their way to help, not just as a service but as individuals.”

Six years ago Mr Collins went to ARA for help. Having sobered up, he relapsed six months ago.

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He said: “I was surprised when they allowed me back with open arms and helped me again.

“Now I can go back to the community and give something back rather than just take, take, take.”

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ARA will work closely with GPs and Weston Area Health Trust to reduce hospital admissions due to alcohol misuse, estimated to cost the NHS in North Somerset more than �3million a year.

The service is available to all those over the age of 18, and will take referrals from GPs and other professionals, as well as self-referrals.

It aims to help people across North Somerset through its outreach programme in Clevedon, Nailsea, Portishead and Yatton. There is also an online service aimed at over-50s and disabled people.

Appointments are available, and a drop-in service also operates three times a week.

With cases of more serious dependency, an intensive treatment is available, including a six-week structured workshop programme and referral to an alcohol detox service at Weston’s Broadway Lodge treatment centre.

Peter Walker, ARA chief executive, added: “Alcohol misuse ruins lives, destroys families and severely damages communities.

“This new service will provide opportunities for more people in North Somerset to get the help when they need it.”

For more information about the service or to book an appointment, ring ARA on 01934 415376, or go to

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