Following our Story - January

A case study with... Rob Mackie


Rob Mackie, originally from Edinburgh, arrived at the Nelson Trust in December 2013. Prior to his arrival Rob was a heavy drinker but was also self-employed with his own business and married with children. In July 2013 Rob’s life took a turn to the worse as he attempted suicide. At the same time he lost his licence and business and his wife asked him to leave meaning he became homeless. Rob reflected on what had happened and decided he obviously wasn’t meant to die at this stage of his life and that there was something out there for him. Although he carried on drinking he knew he needed help and he found support at Turning Point. Later in November he went through a detox programme before arriving at the Nelson Trust.


At the Nelson Trust Rob followed instructions and did everything he was told to. He embraced his treatment and knew he had to change. Marcus, his recovery worker, was brilliant and was so committed to helping Rob see his way through and gave him a great deal of direction. Rob could not speak highly enough of his recovery worker. Rob enjoyed his classes, in particular stained glass and art. The workshops were very therapeutic and this gave him a positive focus. It has also now lead him onto studying Art at Stroud College which was something encouraged by the stained glass workshop tutor, Ruth. Over the weeks Rob began to settle into the process of looking at himself and found it a positive and free place. He feels Nelson Trust gave him the tools to help himself and is now able to do anything he wants as he has no constraints. When he was drinking life was dark, but now there’s lots of hope and Rob believes he created a lot of that himself.


Before coming to the Nelson Trust Rob’s daughter told him he needed to go into a rehab centre and had found a Buddhist monastery in Thailand which she said she’d be able to afford to send him to. Fortunately local authorities are able to fund residential treatment so Rob was able to come to the Nelson Trust at no cost to his family. This allowed Rob to become sober and raised his motivation levels. Rob feels that without the Nelson Trust life would have got worse as he couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Rob Mackie Art small

Rob completed his residential treatment and moved into resettlement, which offers low support accommodation for clients after treatment. Whilst in resettlement Rob came up with the idea of fundraising for a library and books for clients to read whilst in their treatment as he felt that this was something missing. In order to raise funds Rob dyed his hair and beard a variety of colours, earning him the nickname ‘Rainbow Rob’. Rob was very grateful of his time at the Nelson Trust and wanted to give something back, as well as using his skills in art to produce paintings and drawings which are displayed in various rooms. Rob would use part of his weekly allowance to buy paints to enable him to carry on developing his interest in art and painting in the evenings.


Now Rob has left the Nelson Trust he is completing a 2 year course at Stroud College but has fast tracked his application to Bath Spa University to study for a BA in Fine Arts and is already building up a portfolio. This will enable Rob to start his degree a year earlier. Rob is also looking to start work in top end bathroom fitting which is what we used to do before coming to the Nelson Trust and is hoping to work alongside his studying. Rob is also a peer mentor and regularly attends AA meetings. He is also trained as a SMART facilitator and talks about lifestyle decisions. Rob is very grateful for what the Nelson Trust has done, and so glad he went there and has now got something to do. Rob is very passionate about recovery and believes it can work for everybody.