A Choice of Freedom – Part II

Freedom House is a comfortable home on the outskirts of Halifax town centre offering a range of treatment options. It operates along the lines of a therapeutic community, offering a person-centred approach and individual treatment plans within an evidence-based structured programme.

In this issue Edmund gives us a light-hearted account of his experience so far:

“So Fran has moved on to pastures new leaving Freedom House and embarking on a new stage in his recovery, we wish him all the best. Clayton has also moved on getting his own place and surging forward in his journey. And this is in essence the whole point of Freedom house, to help people get back on their feet and enable them to start the recovery process in a safe environment.

And so I find that I am now no longer the new boy at Freedom House but an old timer and since Fran’s article in the last issue of RecoveryTimes magazine we have new faces at Freedom House, and their journey has just begun.

So what’s my experience of Freedom House been?

Firstly of course living at Freedom house is absolutely hysterical. A bunch of deranged addicts (and I include myself in this description), each filled to the brim with raw emotion that, having anesthetised all emotion for many years, surfaces in a selection of amusing ways. Even a simple game of trivial pursuits becomes a clash of egos and varied control issues. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that not having experienced emotions in the sober and clean light of day none of us know what emotion is being expressed.

Resident 1 – “He seemed angry to me”,

Resident 2 –“I thought he was upset”,

Resident 3 –“no, he was definitely happy

Resident 1 –“but he wanted to punch you in the face”,

Resident 3 – “yes, but in a happy way”.

One also has to develop a thick skin as a constant barrage of abuse is likely even in relation to some simple request. For example, question “would you like a cup of tea “, answer “yes”, Statement “well you can’t have one because you’re a bloody idiot”. I use the word bloody here but, as you can imagine, the language is a rather more extreme than this. The arguments over shopping and what needs to be brought and in what quantity have become legendary. I remember well the weekly powerade discussions which could last literally all day. Or the now infamous lurpak incident which became a major cause of resentment, the battle raged for weeks and is still not resolved.

Yet in all of this myself and my fellow house mates have grown and changed and become well, or as well as a self-obsessed ego driven addict is likely to be. We look after each other and I have witnessed incredible acts of kindness and support that you would not find out there in the normal world. We all look out for each other and are quick to notice if one of us is not so good, maybe had a bad day, maybe the wreckage of the past, there is always time to talk, to work things through. Sitting around the kitchen table we talk and talk telling our story and suddenly you find that the thoughts of using are gone and for the first time ever the possibility of a good and happy life is achievable. I am looking forward myself to moving on soon, getting a flat of my own and taking that next stage in recovery. I will tell all.”

Edmund

Article featured in RecoveryTimes issue 3 – Read the first article here and the third article here.

See our services page for more information on our therapeutic communal living