SUIT Testimonials - What Do People Say About Us

Gerry Byrne - 66 Year Old Drug and Alcohol Service User  

Gerry has been through two rehabs and spent a total of 15 years in prison. He says “I have never been more inspired than I have been 
whilst being at SUIT. SUIT are there to truly help and I love the honesty, passion and direction that I have received. They all have a dynamic positivity 
that has rubbed off on me.I am going to rehab with a new mindset and am moving house to maximise my recovery, which is exactly what I 
need and want.I have chosen to live my life in a more meaningful way. Most of this is down to the respect shown to me by everyone at SUIT. 
I now want to help others the way I have been helped myself at SUIT. Thank you to everyone involved”.





Stephen Taylor - Ex SUIT Volunteer (Now in Employment)

I have been a volunteer at SUIT for approximately nine months, I came across SUIT while serving a prison sentence. I started volunteering on release knowing that I could help other's that are in the same position know that I had been in previously.

My experience with addiction started in 1982 and carried on up until 2006 when I finally decided that it was time to draw a line under it for good.

I enjoy what I do for SUIT especially the strategic involvement, I am currently a member of the expert by experience panel and I have accessed numerous courses through volunteering. (I.T. ,PTLLS, NVQ Level 3 Information Advice and Guidance, Safeguarding. etc)  

Through what I have achieved at SUIT I feel so much more employable which has been my ultimate goal since being released from prison. 



Ruth Skillern - Ex SUIT Volunteer (Now in Employment)

My name is Ruth Skillern and I have been volunteering at SUIT for about 8 months now and am writing this on my last day of volunteering here. This time a year ago I was drinking a litre of whisky at least a day and could see absolutely no future or any hope. I was rock bottom and couldn’t get any lower. I just couldn’t stop drinking. It was a horrible obsession. Drink, black out, drink, black out. I was living a horrible existence and not a life.  I just lived to drink.

At the beginning of February after I had realised that the drink had beaten me and I had already lost jobs, my home and marriage, I stopped drinking.  It was hard with the DT’s which I did at home but I got through it.  Three days after my last drink when I was sober enough I went to AA and did as many meetings as I physically could. I listened to everyone who spoke about their experiences and realised that I haven’t got to be on my own anymore.  I worked the 12 step programme which was suggested to me.  This programme has made me understand that I cannot change my past but can change my future,

When I started to feel better physically I realised that now the drink had gone I needed something else to stop me going mad!!

I started volunteering at the Emergency Night Shelter where I started to meet people, could see a glimmer of hope, and that instead of feeling worthless and useless, maybe things could change.  When the night shelter was closing I started to look around for other volunteering jobs.

I filled in an application form to join the SUIT volunteer programme, and luckily began volunteering here and have learned so much, met so many wonderful people and gained so much confidence.  When I first started volunteering at SUIT I was doing 2 days a week, as I was also put on a course by them, which helped to improve my confidence.  When that course finished I started to do 3 days at SUIT.

Volunteering gave me a structure which I badly needed in my life and I truly think that without it, I would have gone back to that drinking hell.

I cannot recommend volunteering highly enough to anyone who is looking for a way back into normal life.  It is not just working in a shop, but any field that interests you.  What is good about SUIT is that it is for people with addiction issues and that everyone has had similar experiences and you are again not on your own.  That was one of my biggest issues when I was drinking – the loneliness and isolation.

Through going on a course arranged by SUIT, I met the manager of the charity ‘Changing Lives’, which helps women in Walsall and Wolverhampton and through volunteering (again!) with SUIT, this has led to a full time job which starts in January.

I never thought I would get a good, well paid job again as I had had the sack from my last job, could provide no references and basically had no future, but I was so wrong. I just hope that I can pass some hope on to others through my past and lived experiences that there can be light at the end of the tunnel when everything seems so hopeless – BUT – you do have to get of your arse and do something yourself.  It won’t all come to you!!



Patrick McCrorie - Ex SUIT Volunteer (Now in Employment)

My name’s Big Pat, I’ve been a volunteer at SUIT for 16 months. It seems like only 6 months as time is passing at a rapid rate as i approach 50 years young :-).

SUIT is set up to empower drug users, and help them to find the road to recovery.

In my mind, recovery consists of two major components. One, getting the drugs out of one's system and mind, Two, keeping drugs out of one's mind and system.

The first key component to the equation is getting the substance out of your system. It may seem an impossible task whilst in the grips of addiction, but the truth is a 1 week cold turkey, a 12 days prison rapid detox, or even a 12 month reduction script will get the substance out of your system.

Keeping it out is the key part of anyone's recovery. One's mindset, attitude and environment all play a major role.

That is why i have continued to be a SUIT volunteer for the last 16 months. The environment and attitude of the people at SUIT are second to none. The opportunities, education and activities are all on your doorstep, so why not give us a try.

SUIT have also enabled me to start a volunteer placement in Addiction Services, and this will undoubtedly help me to build my skills and knowledge of drug treatment, as well as giving me a better chance if finding a career in the substance misuse field.


Rob Jones - Ex SUIT-Volunteer (Now in Full Time Employment)

My name is Rob Jones and I had been involved with SUIT as a volunteer for 5 years. Although I have now moved into full time work, I feel that it is SUIT that has helped develop my social and professional skills, which has in turn helped me to achieve my ultimate goal of finding sustainable employment. Many individuals who use drug and alcohol services feel an inate desire to help others who are going thorugh similar experiences, and I feel that there is no better way of doing this than by volunteering as a recovery support worker at SUIT.

Speaking from experience, nothing hinders recovery more so than boredom, but SUIT offer a range of opportunities and activites to everyone, to counteract this situation. If I could sum up SUIT in a sentence it would be - "A great throughcare and aftercare service that helps people to move on in life, to a place that you want to be. Thank you all"




Jas Dosanjh  - My Story & How SUIT Helped Me Back Into Work


Growing up in the U.K, I got married at 23 and immigrated to Canada. Within 4 years I had 2 beautiful children, a great job and a successful business. Life was great on the outside but I had issues on the inside.

I did not drink through my college or university years. Neither did I drink in the early years of my life in Canada when I just focused on my children and work. I suffered from chronic depression and my drinking started as binge drinking. It was sporadic but heavy.

After 12 years of marriage, my wife and I separated and I was now living on my own. I did not know how to deal with life without my children and became very lonely.  I was a very reserved person not being able to talk about my emotions. Well that reserved person was about to explode.

I got increasingly lonely and my heavy drinking started. At first just to get me through the boredom and put me to sleep, but before I knew it I was drinking 24 hours a day. I started going to bars regularly and with my new found ‘Dutch Courage’, soon became a popular person among the drinking circle. I mixed with the wrong crowd and because I lived alone, my house became a party house. There was always drink there and it didn’t take long before I developed a cocaine habit. Safe to say I had very little contact with my kids, because I was never sober. My life became a nightmare.

After 6 years of this lifestyle I decided to move back to England to make a fresh start. My fresh start lasted about ½ a day and I continued drinking. This time I lived in my room with the curtains drawn all the time and became a drunken hermit. I managed to kick my drug habit, but could not beat the alcohol. Another 5 years had passed and I really thought I was destined to live and die this way. I was beaten by a liquid.

Well, my miracle occurred on March 4th 2013. I ended up in hospital due to a seizure and I got my detox in hospital. As soon as I came out of hospital I immersed myself in getting help. I started feeling better and wanted to find work. How does somebody in my situation find work? Well along came SUIT. They enrolled me onto an IT course and a 2 week work placement for a large National Organisation through the ‘Business in Community Programme’.

The idea was to start getting me ready for work. The program consisted of 2 days of intensive training on developing skills required to find and maintain employment. This included training from professional’s in business such as lawyers and bankers. Then there was the 2 week placement where you would get a reference from the employer. Once this is complete, a CV is created for you and an action plan developed where professional business people help you on a one on one basis to find employment.

This may sound too good to be true, but it isn’t. I really enjoyed my placement. It was drilled into us that for our part all we had to do was show up on time every day and make an effort. Only a few key individuals at the workplace knew anything of my situation and they did all they could to make my time there enjoyable and beneficial as possible.

Whilst I was working on my action plan, I received a call from the company that I did my placement with. I have completed all the documentation that is required and am now awaiting shift times.  I am also volunteering my time to help other people back to work.

All this in 3 ½ months, after over 10 years of addiction. If you are in any kind of difficulty right now, please do not give up. I gave up many times, but still maintained that little bit of hope. You really do not know when your time is about to come. You just have to keep showing up until it does. Without SUIT having a vision for me I would not be working now. Thank you SUIT.                              




Sunny Dhadley FRSA CMgr MCMI - SUIT Manager and Founder & Director of The Recovery Foundation CIC 

I initially came to SUIT as a volunteer, shortly after completing a community medical detox. SUIT was in its infancy and provided an opportunity for me to use my years of addiction to offer support, guidance and hope to others. Within 5 months of volunteering I became a Project Worker at SUIT and one month thereafter I gained my current role as Service User Involvement Officer, or as I prefer 'Manager'. I have witnessed many changes to our surroundings over the years, from high levels of investment to disinvenstment of funding in drug and alcohol treatment services. We have developed a model of meeting a wide range of needs with little comparative investment but with lot's of desire to see people improve the quality of their lives. The volunteer programme that I initially started upon, was awarded the higest accolade in 2014 (Queens Award for Voluntary Service) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second. After re-engaging in education, to quantify my management capabilities I undertook a Diploma (NVQ Level 5) in Management in 2011. Upon successfully achieving the qualification I led SUIT to the National Management and Leadership Awards (in association with Chartered Management Institute) for 2 years running, where we were shortlisted in the same presence as Visa Europe and NHBC (not a bad fete for a group of ex addicted people). Then in 2014 I achieved Chartered Status in Management, going on to be awarded 2015 Chartered Manager of the Year ( I became a fellow of Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce ( in February 2016. I am a member of a Cross Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol, Drugs and Justice, as well as a number of other boards. I feel that we all have talents and deserve every opportuity to flourish in life. SUIT aims to empower every person that we come into contact with to achieve their individual goals, dreams and aspirations; whilst at the same time increasing strategic influence and advocating for better policies, raising understanding and promoting effective treatment of those blighted by addiction (and other forms of social injustice and harm).



Jamie Grant - Ex SUIT Volunteer Recovery Mentor and Newly Appointed Substance Misuse Support Worker

What can I say, I have truly been there and worn the T Shirt out! 14 months ago I was given the opportunity to start volunteering with SUIT. In this time I have gained numerous qualifications, supported many people in lot's of ways and learned to how to really move in a forward direction with my life - this has all been down to the continual support and encouragement shown to me by all the wonderful guys and gals at SUIT. Last week I went for an interview with a treatment provider and you will never guess whay happenned? They offered me the job :-) This was merely a dream for me a year and a half ago, but thanks to SUIT, this dream has become a reality. Rather than being a drain on society and myself, I am now looking forward to contributing positively to the world. Thank you with all of my heart and soul :-)  


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