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Fishing – an escape from addiction

A fishing group called Recovery Rods uses the power of fishing to help those battling addiction and mental health issues. The group, set up by Ben English, is inclusive and aims to help and support all those experiencing difficulties.

Helps Those Battling Addiction and Metal Health Issues

Ben English, a man reborn after a decade of sobriety, is using his passion for fishing to help others struggling with addiction and mental health issues. Recovery Rods, a self-funded group founded by Ben and his fiancee Nikki, offers a unique form of support. Through group meetings and fishing trips, they provide a safe space for people to connect with nature, socialise, and find solace in a shared experience.

“Fishing has always been my escape,” says Ben, reflecting on how addiction robbed him of this calming activity. Now, his “lived experience” allows him to connect with others on a deeper level, understanding their struggles firsthand. The group meets weekly at a local fishery, offering check-ins and a chance to simply enjoy the outdoors. “It’s about what happens when you fish,” Ben explains. “You’re relaxing, socialising, and surrounded by nature – all things that contribute to better mental health.”

Openness and inclusivity are core values for Recovery Rods. “This is for everyone,” Ben emphasises. “We don’t want anyone to feel excluded because of finances or lack of equipment.”

Nikki, Ben’s partner, highlights the group’s importance for those affected by addiction, including families and friends. “We offer a safe, confidential space,” she says. “People find it easier to open up to us because we understand.”

The group’s impact is evident in the stories of its members. Terry, who found Recovery Rods on social media, describes coming to sessions as “life-changing.” Louise, another member, applauds the group for seeing “the potential in you and the human being you can become.” John, nearing the end of his addiction treatment, sees the group as a crucial support system.

With success stories like these, Recovery Rods aims to expand its reach across Bedfordshire. Their vision: to empower others through the simple act of casting a line and finding peace on the water. For more information visit Recovery Rods Facebook page.

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Written by Steve
Steve's been an angler since the age of 12, when he caught his first perch on his local canal in Warwickshire. An avid float angler for over 30 years, Steve's just as passionate about angling now, whether stick float fishing on the Avon or at his local gravel pit fishing for spring time Tench.


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