Archive February 2021

Endless possibilities – Jason’s Story

A powerful journey from one of our service users, Jason, on his recovery with alcohol misuse.

I’m Jason, 29 living in Essex, struggled with alcohol dependency for the last 14 years with daily withdrawals. At my worst I was drinking up to 4 bottles of wine daily with the occasional can of cider on top, mostly for what I now know was fake confidence. My story is similar to most, riddled with trauma, loss and lies. My day would usually start with all the common physical withdrawal symptoms + panic, severe confusion and dread, knowing I would need to get to the shop to get my next fix, crippling agoraphobia made this task a nightmare, I’d have to drink what I had left to be able to get to the shop, and as soon as I was out the door I was on edge, dreading every second of it, preying nothing would happen and itching to be back inside, safe again. The shop was only 2 minutes away, but the journey felt like it took at least an hour, this was the routine for many many years..

I underwent a home detox back in 2018, but relapsed quickly after, as I changed nothing about myself or my surroundings, and most importantly, I was still not connecting.

2020 then came around, the year of many misfortunes for so many, and I found hope. I moved out of my dad’s and into supported accommodation in March, quickly settled in and slowly grew in confidence, felt safe, but still under the control of alcohol.

I knew my road to recovery would be beginning soon, but I didn’t know exactly when, or how. Late august I got a call from my recovery worker, saying I’d got a placement for a residential detox in Harlow for 10 days, I was dreading it, but determined to at least attempt it. With the help of support staff and counsellors I muddled through until September 21st, woke up in the morning, downed my last bottle of alcohol, and got into the taxi, having no idea what to expect.

I remember nothing of the journey or the drivers name, but arrived at a large house in the middle of wooded parkland, had a quick cig and went inside, had my assessment with the doctor, and remember nothing of that, apart from refusing to have Parbrinex, (needle phobia which I’ve since overcome). Then tried to settle in, I quickly mixed with the other residents to try and make myself feel more at ease, my first eating attempt there was a disaster, but knew things needed to change, so went to bed that night with a note for myself in the morning. Finish every meal offered to you, no matter how long it takes. I stuck to this goal and did what I set out to do, I managed to gain 12lbs during my 10 day stay, whilst making a few close friends who I still keep in contact with.

Early recovery and the transition period between detox & rehab were my main concern, as it’s where I slipped up in 2018. But things were different this time, I was going back home to a safe environment, had seen physical progress in myself, changed my beliefs that people aren’t as judging as I thought they were and felt that this time I could turn it all around.

The 8 weeks of waiting went faster than expected, I kept to my routine of eating and sleeping that I’d settled with during detox, and started enjoying my hobbies again, I continued to gain weight and was (still am) breathalysed twice daily where I live. The 28th of October arrived and I was obviously nervous, but stuck with it and quickly started making friends, A lot was learnt during the next 8 weeks, mostly about myself, and I enjoyed the overall experience, and glad I went through it, I graduated on Christmas Eve, in person at the centre, with family over Zoom, and still keep in contact with everybody I met along the way (a few dropped out).

I still struggle with anxiety, and often depression, but want to share the importance of connection, and a positive mental attitude, without either of them I wouldn’t be typing this today, instead I’d be chasing the next pound to pick up my next bottle.

Overall, I’ve seen huge changes in myself over the last 4+ months, both physically and mentally, from relationships with others to overall mental wellbeing and a new outlook on life, I’m no longer overwhelmed by the little things, sleep well every night, looking forward to what tomorrow has to offer!

Life without alcohol is what you make of it, it’s only “boring” to those who don’t put the effort in. Take it day by day, appreciate what you have, what you’re overcoming, and give yourself time to adjust, recovery isn’t a race.

Reach out, keep busy, and most importantly stay safe!

Author: jade bolton
Categories: News