A 39-year-old Porthmadog man who lost ‘everything’ has set up a walking group for people trying to recover from addiction.

Rob Havelock would have walked over ‘broken glass’ to pick up drugs, but never thought walking would help him recover.

“I’ve suffered from drug addiction and alcoholism for more than 20 years. I struggled facing up to things. Addiction made my life unmanageable, and I was in a very dark place.”

That all changed when he lost and was forced to move back to Porthmadog from Manchester. Rob started attending meetings and recovery sessions organised by the North Wales Recovery Communities.

“I was born and bred in Porthmadog, but I was living in Manchester at the time.

“After my marriage fell apart, I moved back here and found recovery communities in Bangor and Penrhyn House to help me get sober. Through them, I walked up my first mountain - Snowdon. The experience woke me up to what is out there, on my doorstep.

“When you go into recovery, you’ve got a massive void to fill. You’ve spent a lot of time drinking and taking drugs, and walking filled that void. Suddenly, I realised the benefits of the great outdoors, and staying sober because of that.

“It was something I’d never done before, if someone would have suggested walking to me five or 10 years ago, I would have thought ‘why would I? I’ve got a car.’

“I’d have walked a million miles and over broken glass to get to a drug dealer’s house. But I’d have never done it for my own benefit, or anyone else’s benefit.

“It opens up doors of what’s possible if you put your mind to it. There’s a lot of time to reflect and think on the mountains, it was all just positives being out there.

“With addiction comes mental health problems, and the positive effect getting out there can have on your mental health is just immense. It won’t be for everybody, but for me it was a win-win situation.

“There are definitely positives that anyone can take out of it.”

Rob now organises weekly walking activities, through Sober Snowdonia.

“Penrhyn House and the North Wales Recovery Service do weekly walks on a Friday.

“With me going walking in my spare time, they asked if I would take on the responsibility of organising walks for them. It allowed me to start helping others.

“Sober Snowdonia is in a very early stage, I only publicised its Facebook page on 28 January. Our first walk had 17 people on it, all of them were recovering.“

You can find out more about Sober Snowdonia or contact Rob by visiting its Facebook page.