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18 September 2018

Karen was introduced to The Brick earlier this year and is now manageress at Dotties Café at Brick Works.

  • Karen, 43, has previously struggled with alcohol issues.
  • She is now manageress at Dotties Café at The Brick Works.
  • The Brick help people who are homeless, facing poverty or debt crisis.

“It was just after my 40th birthday when I realised I had a problem with drink. I visited Alcoholics Anonymous and it was clear then I was a full blown alcoholic. After trying to take my life on three different occasions I knew something had to change.”

The brutally honest and frank words of Karen Griffiths, a member of The Brick’s community.

As part of the club's partnership with The Brick – a charity that supports people facing homelessness, poverty or debt crisis across the borough – we spoke to Karen to learn more about her story.

She said: “I was born in Germany and brought up in the Armed Forces as my Father served for 22 years. We moved to Wigan when I was seven and I grew up around a strong drinking culture and met my husband when I was 16. We got married 13 years later and had a little girl. 

“When my daughter started going to nursery I developed depression and felt redundant as a Mother, and that’s when my drinking escalated. I started drinking wine every evening and my drinking tolerance levels built up. It got to the stage where I was drinking a bottle of wine most evenings.

“I hit rock bottom at Christmas 2016 and I tried to commit suicide for the third time. I couldn’t stop drinking and that’s when I told my husband that I needed to go away and get well. We found a rehab centre in Cumbria so I went there for six months and let me tell you now that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but at the same time the most rewarding thing.”

First introduced to The Brick earlier this year, Karen started volunteering for the charity at their Brick Works centre, a move that would eventually prove life-changing for her and her family.

“I came home from rehab and realised I needed to do something, I knew I couldn’t go straight into work but had to do some sort of volunteering. I’d heard people talking about The Brick at My Church so I rang them up and asked them if I could come along to volunteer.

“They offered me one-day a week cooking for the homeless. I was delighted with this as it was something I’d always loved doing, and felt talking to clients about my story of recovery would give hope to others.

“From there I received a phone call about eight weeks ago from The Brick’s Volunteer Co-ordinator offering me a job as a cook at the homeless shelter in Leigh.

“I snatched her hand off for it but after that I received an email from the proprietor at Dotties Café at the Brick Works offering me the manageress job. I couldn’t believe the news and my life is just amazing now and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”

Now working full-time at Dotties Café at the Brick Works, Karen has transformed her life thanks to the valuable support given to her from representatives of the charity. 

“I’m 20 months sober now but I couldn’t begin to tell you where my addiction took me. It took me to the depths of despair, it was horrendous and I just couldn’t put the drink down. I walked over everybody’s feelings, including my husband and my daughter.

“I’m completely different and have turned my life around with the help of The Brick. I just want to give back to other people and now try to live a 100% honest and trustworthy life.

“I love sharing my experience of strength and hope with other people so I can give them the hope that they can also turn their life around. This job is the icing on the cake my life now is beyond my wildest dreams.”

For more information about The Brick, please click here.

Please text BRIK18 £5 to donate to The Brick.

Wigan Athletic Football Club, Wigan Athletic Community Trust and the DW Stadium are committed to respecting and promoting equality and diversity across all its activities through Together.

Click here for more information about Together.

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