Graham’s Big Aberdeen Story


Graham is 42 and in recovery, he worked hard and played harder.

He started substance misuse very young drinking from the age of 9 and then dappling with glue sniffing and then moved on to heroine and ecstasy. He managed to stop taking illegal drugs when he was 24. This was when his daughter was born and he became the stay at home partner looking after her.  However after he separated from his partner he started drinking.

This took him to some very dark and lonely places.  He eventually decided to seek help and through his GP and other or organisations he was allocated a substance misuse worker first with Addaction and then came to DA with the same worker. As he started to come to DA regularly he discovered some of the activities he could take part in to assist his recovery.

Firstly there is the volunteer led gardening group at Hazelhead park, where growing and harvesting your own fruit and veg and then taking it home to eat is both rewarding and healthy as the produce is organic and fresh. Then he went along to the activities group that do everything from crazy golf to mountain biking and once a year go on an adventure weekend to Cromdale.

Graham says that the peer support and comradery among other DA service users and volunteers has helped him be less socially isolated and slowly begin to make progress on his recovery journey.  He admits that he does have lapses but these are much less frequent and when they do happen he is much quicker at getting in touch with DA for the support and advice they offer.

Graham has been nominated for a DA Recovery Star Award in November.

Listen to Graham’s talk about his experiences:

Aberdeen Issues from this story

  1. Funding for services for substance misuse issues
  2. Free travel for people with substance misuse issues


Drugs Action is Graham’s STORYTELLER.

DA (Drugs Action) provides a range of services for people who use drugs and alcohol, and their families and friends. We also offer services for those in recovery from drug and alcohol use.

DA has been operating in the North East of Scotland as a provider of specialist drug and alcohol services for nearly thirty years. We employ over fifty staff and have a growing team of volunteers who work across the spectrum of drug and alcohol use to deliver a wide range of services and support packages.

Our services are delivered across communities in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and include one-to-one and group support for people with drug or alcohol issues. We also support concerned family members, young people and children affected by someone else’s drug or alcohol use.

To find out more about DA visit


  • The Recovery Star Awards aim to acknowledge and celebrate the strides people have made in their recovery from drugs and alcohol in Aberdeen. The event will take place on Friday 27th November between 11am – 2pm, at the Citadel, Castlegate, Aberdeen.All nominations must be received by 5pm on Friday 5th November 2015 and spaces are limited so submit your nomination today:
  • Aberdeen Foyer – The Foyer helps people build confidence and develop their skills and talents to make major changes in their lives.We provide accommodation with support to former homeless and at risk young people. We deliver linked up services – education, training, mentoring, counselling, employment support and health improvement initiatives.
  • Aberdeen City ADP is multi-agency partnership made up of senior decision making representatives of various agencies in Aberdeen
  • Aberdeen in Recovery (AiR) is a local community of people recovering from the effects of addiction.  Our main aim is to support and promote recovery from addiction.  AiR is open to anyone who has been affected by, or has an interest in supporting issues surrounding addiction.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous – AA is concerned solely with the personal recovery and continued sobriety of individual alcoholics who turn to the Fellowship for help.
  • Narcotics Anonymous – N.A. is a non-profit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. We are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean.
  • SMART Recovery help people recover from addictive behaviour and lead meaningful and satisfying lives. Their approach is secular and science based; using motivational, behavioural and cognitive methods.
  • Penumbra is one of Scotland’s largest mental health charities. We empower people to look forward to mental wellbeing with personalised recovery focused support.
  • Aberdeen Cyrenians was established in 1968. Over the last 45 years the range of services offered by Aberdeen Cyrenians has grown considerably. Originally just providing food and shelter, the services now aim to meet all the varying needs of people affected by homelessness in Aberdeen and the surrounding area.
  • For more information about assistance with travel costs , please see the following links:
    Free Bus Travel for Disabled People
    How to qualify & apply
  • DA volunteer Aileen Hossack was one of the Finalists in the ACVO Awards 2014 in the category of Active Citizen. Nominations for the 2015/16 Awards are now open at
  • For volunteering opportunities supporting the vital work that organisations such as DA undertake in Aberdeen please visit / contact Mike Melvin: ; tel.: 01224 686076
  • DA are working towards achieving the Volunteer Friendly Award-a national quality standard co-ordinated locally by ACVO-Aberdeen’s Third Sector Interface that recognises commitment to and good practice in volunteering. For further information please visit / / contact Mike Melvin: ; tel.: 01224 686076’

What Happened Next

What will happen after Graham’s Story?