Recovery, brick by brick

One of the most challenging moments in early recovery comes towards the end of rehab, with the question: “So, what do you want to do next?”

Devin Brooks didn’t hesitate, he already had the answer: bricklaying. “I tried to do bricklaying twice before and I dropped out because of the drink. This time, however, being in recovery and at Kairos, I’ve cracked it.”

Devin is currently living in a Kairos move-on house and doing his Level 2 Diploma in Bricklaying at Lewisham Southwark College’s Deptford campus, which specialises in training for the construction trades. Tutor Luke Hudson says Devin is an outstanding student, pushing himself to tackle more technical pieces and stretching himself to level 3. Devin’s current project is the brickwork for the small building Luke calls a “dynamic learning rig” in the college’s huge hanger-like space.

“Dad was a plumber and my brothers were plasterers. I always liked bricklaying and brickwork but never managed to get it together until I got clean and sober,\” says Devin. \”I’m enjoying it so much. It’s skillful and takes a lot of technique and you get to see your finished work, which will be round a lot longer than we will be. Plus, it’s a well-paid job – and it keeps you fit!

“I’m happy. At Kairos, I got to know who I am – I had no idea who I was when I arrived at Linden Grove. Now, I’ve got back self-respect, dignity and ambition. This is the real me. My family, my daughter – they’re really proud of me. I’m not going to end up some old drunk.”

So, Devin, what’s next this time? “I’d like to be self-employed, but first I want to do the Diploma in Tiling – and get my driving licence.”

For more \"lesocodetails about all courses at the Deptford and other Lewisham Southwark College campuses,