Bruce Rose has seen first-hand the difference alcohol recovery schemes can make to people across Scotland.
After losing the Fife stairlift business he ran with his wife for two decades to the 2008 financial crash, he found himself spending more time volunteering instead.
His passion for supporting others led him to manage a rehab centre in Evanton, near Tain, and then he branched out with his own not-for-profit organisation.
Now, he’s preparing the mammoth challenge of traversing the scenic North Coast 500 on a unicycle to raise awareness of the help on offer.
Bruce was director of Bruman Access, a disabled access equipment business in Rosyth, before volunteering led him to the alcohol recovery work.
How does Bruce help recovering alcoholics?
Bruce runs Alcohol Recovery Scotland, which uses a process called The Sinclair Method to reduce people’s dependency.
It boasts a 78% success rate, using NHS-licensed medication to reduce the enjoyment from drinking.
“When I was in the rehab, you’re putting programmes in place that are very strict,” Bruce explained.
“And the relapse rates were just a constant battle to fight, keeping guys sober.
“But now a huge, huge chunk of every phone call I have with clients is positive.
“I have seen success after success with it.”
Learning to ride
This time two years ago, Bruce had never ridden a unicycle before.
But, wanting to get the word out and help others, he set himself a “crazy” goal.
He recalled: “It was Christmas 2020, and I was lying in bed and saw a YouTube video of a guy who unicycled around the world.
“I thought ‘that looks dead easy’ – completely forgetting the lad was only 18.”
Bruce bought his first unicycle on January 8, 2021, and spent around six hours every night during the Covid lockdown practising.
It took around six months before he was able to travel 300 yards without stopping or falling off.
Now he’s able to travel for miles at a time, reaching blistering speeds of up to 8mph.
“If I hadn’t been doing it with the idea of the NC500 I would have tried for a few weeks and stopped,” he admitted.
“But I’m stubborn. And when you’re out on a unicycle it draws attention – and this is going to help raise awareness.”
Final preparations for unicycle challenge
On Saturday, September 17, Bruce will set off from Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s football ground.
He’ll first head towards Beauly, before joining the scenic 516-mile route.
Bruce added: “I’ll start off doing 20 miles a day, then ramp up to 25, and in the last week I should be at 30 a day.
“It’s actually not bad fitness-wise, but it is sore on the back because you’re in one position constantly.
“You just have to jump off every now and then, move around a bit.”
The 55-year-old won’t be tackling the challenge alone – as his wife Mandy and friends will be keeping close tabs along the way.
They’ll be following closely in a six-berth campervan, provided by Adventure Motorhome Hire in Dunfermline for the duration of the trip.
And they’ve had further support from Asda, Branding by Amber, Librizzi International, Royal Dornoch Golf Club and Unicycle.com