After treatment, Cem wanted others to have the same opportunity he was given, so he set out to complete the Royal Parks Half Marathon. He is now challenging himself to complete the Manchester Marathon to raise money for the Clouds House bursary scheme.
Like most in active addiction, Cem had little to no self-esteem and his mental health was getting progressively worse each day. He had the support from friends, family and employer which made his decision to take a place at Clouds House residential treatment centre even easier.
He said "Before going into Clouds, I was stuck in a repetitive destructive cycle with no idea how I was going to get myself out of it. I had lost all hope for the future. Clouds House gave me the opportunity to look into my own head, to learn about myself, to gain confidence and develop self-esteem, and the tools to live life on life's terms."
In December 2019, following a 42 day stay, Cem completed his treatment at Clouds House feeling like a completely different person. He says "I left Clouds feeling confident and happy, and those feelings have only grown since leaving. I feel like I'm living the life I'm meant to be living, and I feel like it's okay to be me. I was very lucky to get a place at Clouds House, and when I left treatment, I knew I wanted to help others gain access to such an incredible opportunity to be able to transform their lives."
"Running was something I had enjoyed for a while but I've never run a half marathon, and since leaving Clouds I had felt very physically fit and thought, "if I can stop drinking I can definitely run a half marathon." Cem decided to take part in the Royal Parks Half Marathon as part of the Action on Addiction team in October 2020 but COVID-19 meant he had to slow down his training to prepare for the new date, 11th April 2021. This didn't stop him from fundraising, smashing his personal target of £1,000 and placing 531st!
After completing the Royal Parks half, Cem felt like he had achieved so much but knew he wasn't done challenging himself and giving back. This time, he is challenging himself to complete the Manchester Marathon on 10th October 2021.
"Since deciding this and creating my fund-raising page, I have told my friends and family and posted my story on social media. It was difficult to post something so personal, but I am so proud of myself and the generosity of people who have donated to my Royal Parks page shows that they are proud too!"
"Action on Addiction gave me my life back!"
"To anyone thinking of fund-raising I would say go for it. It's a brilliant cause and I personally feel happy that I am able to give back to Clouds (who I already owe so much to!) and to others going through addiction in a tangible way."
If you want to sponsor Cem for his Manchester Marathon challenge, click here.