Letter to Ark House
I started drinking and using drugs when I was about 14. It was at the weekend at first. I had problems at home with my family. Then at 17 I moved out from home and began using drugs and drink all the time. It caused me many problems with the police, my family and personal relationships as well. Other family members then started using drugs and even today, they all have drink and drug problems. At about 23 I started a relationship and I began working full-time as a builder and tried just to just use drink and drugs at the weekends again. This lasted for a while but then I started using both drink and drugs in the week again and this increased the problems at work and affected my relationship with my girlfriend. At 30 I spilt up with her, because of my drinking and I then realised had a drink problem. So, I went into The Priory for detox-treatment and then from there, to Ark House. The problem this time was that my only motive for doing this was to regain my relationship with my girlfriend, so it didn’t last. I stayed off drink for 6 months but eventually; I started drinking and using drugs again. I was working but I began going to the pub at night and then during the weekend as well; this obviously began causing problems again. I felt I needed a drink all the time, I was very anger and realised that I began to feel anxious all the time and became paranoid as well. During this period, one of my mates died at 38 due to drink. I then became severely depressed. I just drank all day, every day, for about 3 more long, lonely years.
Eventually, at rock bottom, fearful for my sanity and life, I went back in to the Priory and on to Ark House again and I knew I had to stop drinking and using drugs…… but I just could not stop. I was in the Ark for five months where I began doing a lot of work on myself and began understanding the 12 Step Programme with the help from The Ark staff and particularly, one of their counsellors. When I left there, I went back for a further 12 weeks, 3 days a week, this was very important to my progress and helped me stay clean supporting my addiction issues massively. My entire family are still using drugs and remain drinking this is really difficult and continues to cause issues in their lives and consequently in my own. Using the 12 step Programme, I went to 3 to 4 meetings a week at A.A and began attending a home group, subsequently I started doing service for my home group, carrying out activities to develop the groups work. I also got a Sponsor, someone who had been through the 12 Steps and felt ready to assist another person who was early in their recovery, and they assisted me to continue going through the 12 steps again, and again, focusing every day on achieving remaining clean and progressing my life.
I began a return to education and from my own valuable experience in counselling, I began a collage course but I realised how hard I found this, much harder it seemed for me than for others undertaking the course, this was hard I discovered, because I am dyslexic. Some of the symptoms of this condition are that I find it very hard to spell words I knew and could learn and understand but which I found difficult to learn to spell and write. However, through a friend’s suggestion, I found the service of YELL SOS and they also assisted me to be introduced to Learning Societies. Through this help, and their acceptance of me exactly where I was in life, with no judgement or issue I kept going. Then, because they specialise particularly in learners who find it difficult for some reason or another, I stayed the course and still, today, I remain progressing with lots of help and support. YELL SOS assists people who are stuck and unable to find out how to get help for lots of different problems. So by shouting help (Yelling S.O.S.), people get seen and assessed and a volunteer then, if appropriate, introduces people to help in all kinds of areas. If someone’s learning by introducing them to and then working alongside Learning Societies, people can access this service which help people with all kinds of disabilities and learning problems and are particularly experienced with mental health issues and if someone has depression or anxiety. This has helped me so much with my college work, I gained the courage and self-belief I needed and I am at uni now. Being in the Ark has really helped me. I still go to 3 to 4 meetings a week, I am continuing undertaking service and meet up with my sponsor regularly. I go to Learning Societies for help with my spelling and writing for my university work. I keep in touch with Ark House and I have begun going to the gym, things like this keep me busy. Amazingly, I have begun doing some work as well. It has been 20 months since I took my last drink or drug. Don’t get me wrong, it has been incredibly hard – but I feel so much better now and I am looking forward to the future now and being in the Ark has really helped me to do this and to access other services who work together with their clients at the heart of all they do.