Addiction Recovery Stories – Alex
Problem: Drugs and Alcohol
Recovery Time: 9 Months
(at time of publishing)
When did you first start using?
I started drinking regularly when I was 14 and weed followed soon after. By the time I was in my late teens, early 20s I was drinking daily.
When did it become a problem?
I was aware I was out of control with my drinking a few times during my teens, going harder and further than my friends and this gave me a warped sense of self-esteem – thinking being able to get the most drunk was a measure of success. It impacted day to day life when I had the realisation that using was stopping me from achieving what I’d planned to do. The social element of drinking and using progressed to carrying on in isolation. Any plans I made would be overshadowed by my using. This continued for ten years, claiming my university degree and destroying two successful career paths over this time.
What made you get help?
I’d been trying for years and years to cover up the problem of my using. Moderating and controlling it was hopeless. I couldn’t see a way out that didn’t involve ending my life either accidentally or intentionally. In March 2020, I made an attempt to end my life. When this was unsuccessful, I realised I was completely powerless – not just over my using but over my life. It had become completely unmanageable. In desperation, I opened up to my loved ones who sought help on my behalf through my GP who then referred me to The Basement Recovery Project.
Why the Basement Recovery Project?
I had no idea of recovery and my resistance to group therapy being of any benefit was strong. However I was out of options and as amends to my loved ones, I agreed to give it a go. I managed two face to face groups before we went into a national lockdown but those groups were enough to give me hope and reassurance that somehow, everything would be ok if I stuck around. From there, I engaged in regular Zoom groups put on by The Basement and it was suggested that I give Mutual Aid groups via Zoom a try too. From here, my faith in recovery became a central focus to build a new life around. Recovery was the foundation to each day during lockdown and I took the opportunity to move into supported housing as a demonstration of commitment to myself, my family and my new peers that I was serious about this.
Where would you be now?
If I hadn’t got that identification and connection with people who understood addiction from the start of my engagement with The Basement, I’d be alone, isolated and at risk. If I was on my own in my recovery, I wouldn’t have been able to start to repair relationships with the people I care so much about. Being around other recovering addicts is teaching me honesty and humility that I wouldn’t have had without a network of peers around me.
How is life today?
Today, I’ve got the structure I need that challenges me to progress while being surrounded by support. This gives me a balance to feel like life really is worthwhile. A big factor in my continued recovery is to give people the same open welcome I was given in that first meeting. I do this through volunteering at The Basement and doing service in my regular Narcotics Anonymous meetings. I’m learning how much I’d disconnected from the world and people around me during my addiction. Now, I can feel connected and have a true value on the genuine peace of mind I have today.
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“Action is the foundational key to all success.”