Recovering alcoholic from Hampstead walks 30 miles for addiction charity

Dan Brooks walked 30 miles from Bath Abbey to Clouds House drugs recovery centre in East Knoyle. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Dan Brooks walked 30 miles from Bath Abbey to Clouds House drugs recovery centre in East Knoyle. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

While most revellers at Glastonbury were in for a hedonistic time last weekend, one Hampstead resident was marching to the beat of a different drum as he undertook a gruelling trek to raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol and drug addiction.

Dan Brooks, of Christchurch Hill, walked the 30-mile route from Bath Abbey to the drugs recovery centre, Clouds House in East Knoyle, to mark the 30th anniversary of the centre and raise funds for the charity Action on Addiction.

The 49-year-old spent six weeks at Clouds House as a recovering alcoholic in 2010 and described it as “an absolute life-saver”.

Mr Brooks said: “They do work with families and people directly affected by addiction in its various guises.

“The thing about drink and drugs addiction is that it tends to cross over into all sorts of areas – theft, gambling and sex, for instance.

“For me, it’s about putting something back and showing a bit of gratitude for how they helped me.”

Clouds House is the flagship treatment centre of Action on Addiction.

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The residential care programme is based on total abstinence and the principle of one addict helping another, talking about issues, and identifying with people who have been through similar experiences.

Mr Brooks, who has been teetotal for three years, said: “It’s about identifying self-worth and creating a new and more positive life.”

Mr Brooks has lived in Hampstead all his life and has been working as a general caretaker at Hampstead Community Centre, High Street, for more than a year.

“At the community centre we have eight groups a week and we use it as a way to sort through people’s problems,” he said.

“The centre is one of the few left in Camden that’s really working for the community.

“It’s always full, with kids in the morning and adults in the afternoon.”

A keen walker, Mr Brooks completed a 100-mile hike from London to Bath last year, camping along the way, and this year he was looking for another challenge.

He said: “I actually tend to do what I say these days rather than just sit in the pub and talk about it, so after receiving a flyer in the post telling me about the Clouds House anniversary, I decided to go for it.

“I looked at the map and I thought it was appropriate – 30 miles for 30 years that they’ve been involved in the treatment and care of addicts.”

Mr Brooks completed his walk on Friday, June 28 and donations can be made online at or by texting the code CLDS88 followed by the amount to 70070.

* To find out more about the charity Action on Addiction, visit