An eye opener for Mental Health Student


Thank you to everyone at The Basement Recovery Project Huddersfield, AKA The Corner. Some of you have been kind enough to share your experiences with me and now I feel comfortable enough to share with you a few of mine.

I find myself in a bit of a quandary. Before starting this placement three months ago I was happily bobbling along with little regard to the amount of alcohol and drugs I consumed.

I like getting off my face but being faced with people a few years my senior with serious alcohol related health conditions was an eye opener. Learning the biological processes around drinking scared the bejeezers out of me. I had always been proud of the amount I could consume but with this new information in my mind it started to feel like self harm. Why was I doing it? My ‘local’, a place of familiarity and comfort, started to take on a more sinister feeling. I started diagnosing all the regulars with various alcohol related diseases, predicting how many years they’ve got left, what sort of death they would have and how long until I was in the same boat (In my head)! Why hadn’t anyone ever told me the harmful effects of alcohol? Maybe they didn’t want to spoil my fun or maybe they did but I didn’t listen because I thought they just wanted to spoil my fun.

The Corner is not so concerned with world politics because its focus, importantly, is on the individual. Why do I do what I do? Every session of the pre-recovery course brought up issues that I could relate to. I started to wonder – am I an addict? It made me think how big a part of my life partying is and has been for nigh on 20 years. Take away the drink and drugs and what’s left? It was shocking to discover that medical best practice is not to treat people with stress or depression whilst they are still drinking alcohol. People need to be drug and alcohol free for at least a month before you can get a true picture of their mood. A whole month! I haven’t been a month without drugs or alcohol since I was 12. I started to understand the fear of abstinence – who will be revealed after a month? What if you don’t like them? Without drugs and alcohol there are no excuses, nothing to blame your behaviour, moods and feelings on.

Most importantly however we need to know ourselves and reflect on our behaviours. Why do we do what we do? The Corner is a place that offers incredible support to people who have lost themselves in addiction. I saw a very welcoming and open environment that allows people to explore the roots of their addiction without fear of stigmatism. I saw people leading by example. One of the saddest things I have faced as a nursing student is trying to help people that have lost all hope. The Corner has buckets full of hope and hands it out freely to anyone who needs it. Thank you for having me. 🙂

Huddersfield University Mental Health Student Placement