Steve Downie: Recovering alcoholic from Chorley launches Hidden in Plain sight documentary on the effects of alcoholism

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“My head was above water but I was paddling like mad underneath to stay afloat” – is the opening line from the new Hidden in Plain Sight trailer – a hard hitting advert on the effects of alcoholism.

Recovering alcoholic Steve Downie from Chorley is fronting the campaign and is the founder of SMART recovery – a mutual aid support group in Preston and Chorley which provides assistance to individuals, seeking abstinence from any type of addiction. SMART which stands for Self Management And Recovery Training views addiction as a behavioural problem that can be corrected and not a condition that defines a person's identity. The four point program focuses on building and maintaining motivation, coping with cravings, managing thoughts and living a balanced life.

Over two years sober Steve, who admits he used to hide drink in Lucozade bottles after a downward spiral, has since focussed his efforts on helping others battle their demons and has opened three addiction centres with a fourth on the way. An Alcohol Awareness project he was working on to show the effects on not just the people, but also their families and friends, was showcased yesterday evening (Thursday) coinciding with Alcohol Awareness week at Vue Cinema in Walton le Dale.

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He said: “It’s a dream come true to be able to help others. The aim of the campaign is to reach a population across Lancashire that is drinking to harmful levels and is not seeking support, whether this is because they are unaware of the support available, aren’t aware of the alcohol related harm or do not want to seek help. I am pleased to announce our SMART Recovery Preston Group, will open next Thursday, July 13, at 1pm until 2.30pm @ CGL Inspire, Fox Street, Preston.

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A spokesperson for Inspire added: “The campaign aims to target three specific groups: wine o'clockers, binge drinkers aged 18-30, and individuals over the age of 55. We have identified a significant number of people in the Lancashire area who are not seeking professional support for their alcohol-related issues. Our objective is to break barriers, eliminate stigma, and provide necessary support to those in need while introducing our organisation to the community.”

Last week Acquisition International Magazine announced the winners of their Non-Profit Organisation Awards, with SMART Recovery winning the award for 'Addiction Recovery Training Charity of the Year 2023'. SMART Recovery is an international community of peer support groups that help people recover from addictive and problematic behaviors, using a self-empowering and evidence-informed program. The addiction groups are based at Lune Street, Preston, watchUSgrow community hub on Gillibrand Street and Clayton Brook Community Centre.