Druglink Real Life Stories
I had been living alone for around 3 years after arriving back in the country, I came back from Barcelona after teaching English, and starting a family, so coming back to very little hit me hard. I’d always dabbled in drugs and drink recreationally, since I was a teenager and on many occasions during my adult life. For the most part these were accompanied with fond memories, however I would fall back on them to numb emotional pain too and this is where I became unstuck…
Self-medicating for me was a good way to take the edge off of life’s many testing moments… and at this time it was no different. Only this time I wasn’t interacting with my friends or family, I felt like a failure after the messy split with my ex-partner and I didn’t want to engage with anybody at all. As a result I found myself reaching for the bottle more and more, in the hope I could make everything go away. So drinking at the weekends became drinking daily and then drinking all day, every day in total isolation. I’d graduated quickly from strong lager to litre bottles of vodka as I had nobody to put me into touch at all, and wasn’t prepared to reach out. I’d have two week long drinking sessions followed by bouts of visual and auditory hallucinations, sweats, rapid heartbeat, and huge anxiety, but I kept going back to alcohol. I can honestly say it was the worst time in my life. I’d taken myself to the edge time and time again, and I’m probably quite lucky to be alive.
I finally managed to pluck up the courage to talk honestly with a family member.
After some careful consideration, decided that the only way I might be able to lead a somewhat normal life would be to check myself into a rehabilitation clinic for a short time. After some careful consideration I realised it would be most beneficial to be as far away from where I was living at the time, so we happened upon Oxygen Recovery Services, and after checking the website decided to give it a shot.
I was able to afford 10 days at the rehab in Hemel Hempstead, but took into account that Druglink offered supported living after the detox and resigned myself to making the most of what was on offer through them.
Being at Oxygen has felt like having a weight lifted off my shoulders frankly.
The moment I walked through the rehab door, although I was incredibly anxious, I felt like I’d turned a corner. I was greeted by the staff members, the doctor and of course the other residents. I can’t really describe the feelings at the time because it was a bit of a blur, but it felt like I wasn’t alone, and moreover, that I was in good hands.
Oxygen Recovery, the subsequent aftercare, and the supported living really has given me a new lease of life, as cliché as that sounds – it’s the truth. I’ve been able to take myself away from the cycle I’d been in and I firmly believe that had I not been given the opportunity to “up sticks” and move under the care of Oxygen, I wouldn’t be alive to write this now. I’ve had my self-belief given back to me, and a realisation that I was not alone in my addiction, or my situation. I’ve spent time with people that have made me feel like I want to carry on with my life, it’s given me perspective back on many things, and I’m now able to feel genuine happiness unlike before I made the decision to check into the clinic.
The approach, to my mind, has given me the proverbial “stick and carrot”: the responsibility to attend therapy, work and study groups during the day, the duty to give back in some capacity to a charity organisation weekly, and the reason to stay sober. It’s been the only way personally I could have drawn a metaphorical/ spiritual line under my addiction and put it to bed.
More specifically; during this period I’m in currently, I owe a lot to my key worker Dean. He’s been my keyworker for the past 7 months and he’s kept me focused in my sobriety. He’s been at the house almost every morning for daily check-ins, weekly one to one meetings plus a general strong, good natured man you can rely on. Having been in a similar situation to myself and many others, and been focussed on his recovery for many years, he’s really well equipped and prepared to help us on many levels. He’s got a firm but fair attitude, and a good caring side which I believe is invaluable in his role.
I’m into my 7th month clean and sober now.
It’s not been a holiday, there have been some tough days of soul searching, some real existential moments, and some realities that I’ve had to stand in the face of, as a man.
In regards to the future, I have my sights set on patting myself on the back when I reach a year without reaching for the bottle. I’m totally determined to keep myself sober from here on in, regardless of what life decides to throw at me. In the meantime I’m working hard on writing music, volunteering for a local charity, and being invaluable to my family. If nothing else I want to be that person that has been forged in the flames of hell to come out the other side to become the strong, reliable, caring man I was always meant to be, to the people I have a responsibility towards.
I can’t recommend drugs or alcohol when things go so wrong that there seems no right way out, but I can recommend if anybody happens to have used them like I did and has real determination, willpower and focus: Oxygen Recovery will help them leave that old life behind.
(The authors name has been changed to protect their anonymity).