after years of drug and alcohol abuse…
Offering a range of holistic therapies from reflexology to crystal therapy, Vanda is a regular member of the Basement team. I asked how it all got started:
“All my life I was in the nursing profession, when I was in my forties my husband Brian started drinking, became drink dependant and it was absolutely horrendous. He didn’t start until he was about forty-two, he didn’t know why he was doing it; he couldn’t understand why himself, he was never a big drinker. He died at the age of forty-six with alcohol-related liver disease.
“During this time he was in and out of the psychiatric unit at Northowram hospital, there was never anything like this (TBRP) then, all there was were AA meetings but he didn’t think he was bad enough to go to them, but actually he was drinking twenty-four hours a day in the end; and I lived with it for about five years, I didn’t want to leave him ‘cause I figured, I knew it was an illness and I figured if you have cancer I would’ve looked after him so I decided to do that.
“My three older boys had left home by then; my younger one was still there. It did cause a lot of chaos and destruction in the family life. He died a very peaceful death, he died at home and he wanted to die and he never knew why.
“What happened then, during that time I shattered my elbow, it stopped me nursing and somebody recommended I go to an organisation called the Alchemy Foundation which did reflexology and other holistic therapies, that was in nineteen-ninety-five I think. So I went there for therapies and I found it helped me so much, it also helped me with the emotional side of it. It did so much good and gave me a bigger understanding, I decided to start training in holistic therapies because I couldn’t carry on nursing anyway with the way my arm was at the time.
“So I started training through the Alchemy Foundation in reflexology, energy balancing and crystal healing and then I decided I wanted to help people who had an addiction and I did crystal healing before training in addiction therapy. So that’s where it all started.
“Somebody had given me a TBRP leaflet that they’d found in a doctors’ surgery, so I just gave Michelle a ring and I did a couple of days when she was at the YMCA doing therapies and things; and when they moved I came to see her and that’s when it all started really, she thought it would be a good thing for the clients to have.
“The way reflexology works, the way I work, it’s working with energy, it’s not just a physical energy it’s an emotional, mental and a spiritual energy which are bodies that you can’t see but it can be photographed with Kirlian Photography so you can see the energy of every living thing. What happens, this energy field or the aura that people call it, becomes blocked with certain things in everyday life; every single person on the Earth would be blocked not just someone with an addiction, with what life throws at you.
“How it works; the reflexology, the crystal healing it helps to pull those patterns right and that’s how it can be effective. It can help, certainly the crystals more than anything, can help an active user stop using.
“When people come here, some people have crystal healing some people have reflexology, it’s dependant on the person really. The unfortunate thing is when they start feeling better they don’t feel the need to come and then they might go off for two or three weeks and then they might come again, whereas if they came every week it would help them a lot more, whether they feel good, whether they feel bad.
“The message is: (Certainly) reflexology helps with the physical illness, so any aches and pains; shoulder pain, back pain etc. it does help with it. It also does help on an emotional level, it makes the person feel much more relaxed. People come in feeling angry over something or they feel really down and they always go out feeling a lot better.
“I think the one thing if I were to get a message across is to come when they’re feeling good as well because it’s not costing them anything, it’s half-an-hour of their time basically but it does help them improve.”
Vanda is available for holistic treatments on Wednesdays and also holds meditation sessions on Thursday afternoons down at TBRP.
Article featured in RecoveryTimes issue 7
Article 3 of 3 – #1 Any kind of Recovery