A Choice of Freedom

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 (taken from RecoveryTimes Issue 2) we speak with Fran about his own personal experience within Freedom House.

How did you end up in Freedom House?

I had reached the stage where I was incapable of actually doing recovery on my own. I wasn’t structured or safe enough, nor had I the discipline to do it at home, so a place was offered to me in the house, which to me seemed the best chance at achieving recovery. Even though I didn’t really know what recovery was at the time or what I had to do to get it, I knew the guys at TBRP had it, and I wanted some of it. I couldn’t go on with the way my life was at that time.

I was already on the Basement Project Recovery Programme (pre-detox) and already understood that I could not do this on my own. I knew about residential programmes but didn’t really know what they entailed. I guess I had the common perception that they were just drying out houses. The week prior I had actually stayed in Cantebury with a view to staying in treatment and accessing residential accommodation but they couldn’t offer me what Freedom House could. Freedom House looked like it would give me freedom and flexibility of things like going to see my daughter and having civilised conversations with my wife, while at the same time being able to tap into other activities and services and also attend the Recovery Programme. So in essence Freedom House became my own personal recovery hub, and a safe and comfortable, relaxed environment to come back to at the end of the day. I knew I was going to be surrounded by people who had been through a similar journey as I was about to take. I was going to be with people who understood me better than I understood myself at that time. They had the understanding and patience and knowledge having gone through it themselves. They were non-judgemental as opposed to my current surroundings.

What was your first evening in the house like?

Surreal for me really. But looking back it was just normal people doing normal things. We got in, made tea, washed up, had a cuppa, watched TV and had a chat.

Later that evening somehow we got talking about the merits of own brand tea bags versus Tetley tea bags. The discussion got quite heated, or should I say passionate at some points. It was a good experience for me witnessing how a small subject could spark such passionate exchanges without animosity. I soon realised that being sober, I was allowed to express an opinion and discuss it openly, nothing had to be kept back, there was no need for isolation, no door slamming, no stewing, no me, me, me. All of a sudden we were dealing with emotions, I’d never done that before – I’d always drunk. It was a good night. Oh yeah, Tetley’s won the debate hands down!

What did you get that you didn’t expect?

You soon come to realise that you are just the same as everyone else; we are all in it together. We look at the similarities and not the differences, whilst still retaining your own individuality in its own right – and that’s freedom. I am treated as an individual in recovery, simple. We have kind of built a camaraderie within the house. It’s not exclusive or anything it’s just that we have all strode a similar path. Two of the guys have moved out and are continuing their recovery journeys, while two more have moved in. We have all become good friends along the way, from the unlikeliest of beginnings, and still talk and support each.

Where next for you?

At the moment, onwards and upwards with recovery. I now have options and choices for the future and for the first time, people around me to help me take the right decisions. I now have the right head to take advice on board and to listen openly and to receive constructive criticism without taking offence and to be able to act on it in a positive way and make things better. I have the final decision of course; these are decisions around my life. I’ll give you an update in the next issue …..

Thanks Fran, we look forward to it.

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

Read the second article here.