“My name’s Gary, I became aware I had a drink problem two years ago.
“Previous to that, for years I was a social drinker at weekends down the pub with my friends, although I realise now they weren’t my friends but drinking companions. I progressed to drinking cheap cider and ended up in hospital with pancreatitis, the pain I had from that was so bad I wouldn’t have wished it on my worse enemy! I was in DRI 5 days and came out and went without a drink for 43 days and then I thought I’m alright now and started drinking again, not too heavily at first but then the same pain happened again.
“I went back into DRI and when I came out I went to Rosslyn House and did a detox at St Cath’s Hospital and went another 38 days without a drink. I thought I could be just a social drinker but as soon as the alcohol hit my body I started craving more and this time I hit the whiskey.
“I went back to Rosslyn House who did some blood tests and were so concerned I was given an emergency detox placement. I did another 7 day detox and started attending the social space (recovery café) at Rosslyn House. One of the mentors talked to me about New Beginnings and even drove me up to have a look and showed me around.
“I was impressed with what I saw and my keyworker made a referral and I came and had an assessment. Originally I said I would do the core days of Monday, Wednesday and Friday but after the first week I enjoyed it that much Its turned into 5 days a week. At New Beginnings we learn about coping skills and meet people who are in situations that I’ve been in myself. You learn so much from other about how to cope with cravings, stressful situations and every day life.
“I have a keyworker at New Beginnings who monitors your progression and they also put you in contact with colleges and courses to keep you busy as well as attending the core groups. I’ve just started a counselling course and after taking some time to do some volunteering I would like to come back and do the mentor course.
“It’s hard to put into words the amount of help you get from coming to New Beginnings, its so structured and you learn so much. I’m coming up now to 100 days without a drink, I now know that I can’t be a social drinker and total abstinence is the way for me, I don’t want the pain back and let myself and my peers from New Beginnings down. I’ve nearly completed the 16 week programme and wish I could stay a whole lot longer. I hope one day I’m asked to come back here to talk to people just starting the Day Programme and encourage them to get all they can from the time they are at New Beginnings.
“We have an honesty group where we can get everything off our chests and be open and honest about where you are in your recovery. We don’t dwell too much on the past as its where we are now that counts. You can see people progress so quickly and see their lives changing in front of you. You meet friends here that you can relate to and if you are struggling you can pick your phone up and ring them, we are a really close knit group of people working towards recovery.
“If you can get to be part of New Beginnings and take advice whether it be snippets from your peers and the professionals that work here, just do it. The recovery seed grows here, its like a tree growing with branches, those branches are your lifeline. Grasp the opportunity and grasp your life back.
“I can’t shout loud enough about recovery, I feel fantastic and compared to when I was ill with pancreatitis every day is a bonus. I went to the UK Recovery Walk in Manchester in September which was fantastic, people were sat outside pubs and bars and I could see they wanted what we had, recovery.”