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Mark’s story: moving on from addiction learning new digital skills

Digital Health and Wellbeing Podcast Positive People - Devon 03 March 2023

Mark is in his mid-50s and lives in the Torbay area. He’s been a drug and alcohol addict most of his adult life. The consequences of his actions on his family, friends and work have been devastating. This, however, is a story of hope and inspiration. Mark is an example of how self-determination with some support along the way, can get your life back on track to eventually lead a fulfilling and rewarding life.

The audio clip below is a very cut-down version of Mark’s story, on the impact addiction had on his life and how the Pluss Positive People programme were able to support him learn valuable digital skills, through Positive People partner, Cosmic, to equip him with the tools and knowledge he needed to move forwards with this life.


After a series of bad choices, Mark ended up dependent on alcohol and eventually heroin. For nearly 40 years Mark struggled with addiction.

A tragic family incident led to a family breakdown. Mark’s financial circumstances become worse, exacerbated by being in and out of employment, separated from loved ones. He got in trouble with the police, gained a criminal record and eventually he became homeless.


The long road back

Mark attempted rehab three times during a ten-year period. His turning point came when Mark accessed local support services and was placed in a homeless support centre run by the Salvation Army.

He received help with accommodation and secured financial support via benefits.  When he was clean from drugs he secured his own permanent residence.  His next challenge to deal with his alcohol addiction.

Mark recognised he had to give up drinking. He knew he risked losing everything he had worked so hard in getting to. He attended a local group and began a 12-step programme to help him to quit drinking. He also attended, and continues to, a SMART recovery programme, through the Drug and Alcohol Services in Torbay.  After his third chemical detox, he is now over 20 months clean and sober.


A new start

Mark wanted to “give something back”; he felt a desire to help others.  He approached the Drug and Alcohol Services. They felt he would be an incredible advocate for their services. Shortly after, Mark began working as a Peer Support Mentor.

At this point, it become clear that Mark was digitally illiterate. He had no I.T. skills. He had attended some I.T. sessions locally, but the information was too much to take in, in a group setting. This is when Mark joined the Positive People programme, delivered by Pluss.


Hello Positive People

Mark’s work coach, Lisa, referred him to Cosmic, a Pluss Positive People partner who specialise in helping people with little or no digital skills. Through funding, a new laptop was purchased, together with a Wi-Fi router and broadband.

Mark then began a programme of one-to-one support from Cosmic, with regular contact with his Positive People work coach.

When Mark felt confident enough, Cosmic enrolled him onto an I.T. course to gain a qualification.


Positive People has broadened Mark’s horizons and he is now computer literate.  He has reached his goal of becoming a voluntary peer support mentor at the Drug and Alcohol Services which supported him.  Mark is now able to undertake on-line courses, join Microsoft Teams meetings as well as navigating areas of his life online, such as banking, shopping, accessing his GP and participating in further courses.

Today Mark attends local secondary schools and gives talks for alcohol awareness. He uses his computer skills every day and this newfound knowledge has helped to transform his life.


In Mark’s words

“In my life I’ve made a lot of bad choices.  These choices led me to alcohol and illicit substances.  Over recent months I’ve made significant changes and made good choices. Today I’m living my life alcohol and drug free. 

Positive People has been a bridge to broaden my horizons.  Throughout my time with Positive People, I was able to build a good working relationship with my Work Coach Lisa and Ben, my Cosmic I.T. trainer.  I fully appreciate their hard work. 

“I’m now I.T. literate and I’ve reached my goal as a Volunteer Peer Support Mentor in the NHS Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre in Torbay to help other people to acquire the help that I so desperately needed. 

“My experience at Positive People has enabled me to grow and build my confidence in I.T. which a year ago seemed impossible.”



Pluss and Seetec Pluss (both part of the wider Seetec Group) provide a range of support services. The Positive People programme ends on 31 March 2023 and is no longer taking new participants. However, we deliver a number of contracts that help people move closer to, and into employment. This includes providing support across more than one contract if deemed appropriate. If you, or someone you know would like to find out more about what support might be available, please email and providing a brief outline of  circumstances.


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