A Tenby woman who had a “very serious alcohol addiction” before turning her life around is hoping to help others do the same by setting-up a new addiction group in Haverfordwest.

Leigh Proctor will be running a smart recovery programme for people with a range of addictions – from alcohol to drugs, shopping, gambling and food – after receiving backing from Carmarthen-based charity Helping Groups to Grow.

Leigh, who works for a Mencap sheltered housing project in Milford Haven, spent five months in residential rehab at Brynawel House in Bridgend.

She has been sober for three years now and said the techniques she learnt on the smart recovery programme helped her beat an alcohol addiction.

Leigh had two group sessions a day during her time in rehab, but found the aftercare in Pembrokeshire was virtually non-existent.

Leigh said: “There is massive substance misuse in Pembrokeshire, but very little to cope with that.

“It seems ridiculous to pay all that money for rehab and then there’s nothing to grab on to after,” she added.

Leigh was involved in various programmes before going to rehab, but said: “I never had anyone say to me this is where you are, where do you want to be? What do you want back?

“I went into rehab and I was told I was totally responsible for my addiction,” she added. “Recovering from an addiction has to come from you.”

Smart recovery, which was developed in America, is an alternative to Alcoholics Annonymous and uses cognitive behaviour therapy and repetitive emotive behaviour therapy.

Leigh said: “It’s about changing your thoughts about the world in general and life. The tools smart recovery uses are a fantastic way of doing that, a way of making people stop and think ‘what’s making me behave this way?’.

“The main thing about addiction is getting people to take responsibility for themselves.”

Leigh added: “People can get better and they can have a good life. They might not have a perfect life but who does?”

The first meeting is on November 8th from 1.30pm to 3pm at 19A Bridge Street, Haverfordwest (the Consult Contact building with the white door, next to Greggs).

For more information call Leigh on 07551 557153.