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Curly Watts behind the scenes - Kevin Kennedy’s life after addiction

We all remember Curly Watts from Coronation Street. Whilst we were following Curly Watts’ mishaps in his quest for love, the actor who interpreted him, Kevin Kennedy, was behind the scenes fighting a dark battle with addiction.

Recovery Street Brighton is a sensitive film relating the path to recovery for him and other people suffering from addiction. The programme was brought to the Community Channel by Kennedy Street & Co, a social enterprise run by people in recovery, for people in recovery, set up by Kevin and his wife. We interviewed him ahead of the release of the film on March 3rd to know more about his addiction, recovery, and about the work of Kennedy St & Co.

Kevin Kennedy went to rehab in 1998 and has not touched an ounce of liquor since. Kennedy said he and his wife Clare started Kennedy St & Co out of gratefulness. “We received so much from the recovery community and we decided to give something back”. He also realised that the first time he went to rehab he did not know where to turn to. “We found that general practitioners have very little or probably no training on how to deal with addiction and how to tackle it correctly. Usually they just pack you up with anti-depressants” he said. Kennedy St is a place where people can receive information on how to start with their own recovery. “We want people to lean towards the hands up, not the hand out. If you’re really serious about giving up your addiction we want to help”.

His own story is one of obsession with alcohol, followed by a slow recovery. “I’ve always been predisposed to addiction’ he said. “I think my drug of choice was, really, “more”, whether it be booze, drugs or chocolate. It really came as no surprise later on [when] I realized I was in deep trouble with alcohol.”  He talks about how being addicted to alcohol made him obsess about it when it was not near him.  “Addiction is a mental obsessio. When I wasn’t drinking I was thinking about it, always thinking, where I could get my next fix from.”

To help with his recovery from alcoholism, Kennedy imposed a discipline on himself : “I structured my weeks so I had a meeting at least four days a week.  I usually did Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.  Later on down the line during my recovery I just found other things to take myself out on which was PlayStation and I really threw myself into my work.”

Kennedy believes that communication is the key while in recovery.  “You think you’re the only person who thinks these throughts, has these feelings, who drinks the way you do. The truth is that there are millions of people who drink the very way you do. Once you realize you’re not alone then it’s revolutionary’ he said,  “it opens up your eyes, you realize you’re not a freak, you’re a lot like other people and you can communicate with these people and it becomes a shared experience and your recovery becomes stronger.”  Kennedy believes sharing your story is the only cure for recovery and the only way people can recover is to give your story to someone else to make them believe in themselves.

When you’re addicted to your drug of choice, you loose things that can have a high cost. “I lost a lot of self-respect, self-belief and I lost myself” he said.  He’s lucky that he did not lose any jobs or his marriage.  Kennedy mentions that “there is always a way out of your addiction, and that anyone can start their recovery at any point of the day.  It is a hard road but you really have to want it and life will be so much better after one finishes their recovery.”

True Lives – Recovery Street Brighton, Monday 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st March on Community Channel at 7:30pm

Find out more info on Kennedy St & Co, the organisation founded by Kevin and Clare Kennedy :https://kennedystreetcic.co.uk/

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