Craig Monk, 37

Richard was in the year above me at school, and then we were at university and in a band together. I became a professional musician and ran music bars. I met my wife in Los Angeles, and my drinking became a problem. I was on a slippery slope, was rarely sober, and ended up divorced.

Then I met Richard again through Facebook, when we were both living in the south-east of England – he was dealing with exactly the same issues. He’d just got out of rehab. He was a huge help.

Moving in together six months ago, to support one another, felt like a natural thing to do. We know one another very well, and understand what the other one is up against. It’s crucial for both of us to be in an alcohol-free household: alcohol is so prevalent, it’s hard to avoid. Living with Richard gives me stability. There are no lies.

Richard Sparkes, 38

“The odd couple” is how we’re known in our recovery circles. Some people think we’re gay; we’re not romantically or sexually attached – but we are very close. Craig has been my friend for years, and it’s weird that we’ve been on a similar journey. He was a mess, although he’s doing great.

Our families and friends have been very supportive, but only an addict can understand another addict. We get what the other one is up against. Outside of the house I’m in marketing, and Craig is studying for a master’s in epistemology.

I’m super proud of Craig: he’s been sober for six months, and I’ve been sober for about 14 months. We know that if one of us screws up, our set-up would be in jeopardy. And this house – with our dog Nigel – is the bubble we both need.

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