Lucy came to Help Me Stop for alcohol treatment in our Online Rehab. As part of Alcohol Awareness Week, Lucy has made a series of recordings, to help raise awareness of alcohol addiction and encourage people to get help with alcohol addiction. Contact Help Me Stop here or call 0208 191 9191, to start your alcohol recovery process. All our programmes include the options for loved ones to get support, whilst their relative or friend is in alcohol treatment with us.
‘My relationship with alcohol had become very destructive. It was all-consuming. Although I had boundaries, a 6pm start, I was obsessed with it getting to 6 o’ clock, obsessed with making sure there was wine in the fridge and another bottle to follow. And it was quite isolating because as soon as I took that first drink, I wanted to go and sit on my own, and have peace and quiet, and be left alone just to drink. I didn’t want to interact with anybody. So relationships around me were suffering very badly because I wasn’t present other than physically. And I was very unaware of the impact it was having on others in the beginning. I became aware and I knew it was impacting my relationship with my husband, my children. I managed to keep it from other people, but my immediate family, and my sisters and parents, all knew that there was quite a big problem and it was becoming worse.
‘Just before starting with Help Me Stop, my alcohol consumption had massively increased. I was feeling isolated, a bit scared and a bit out of control really. And I was in a very miserable place. Just before I reached for help, I knew I wanted to stop. I knew I needed some form of intervention and I didn’t want to go into AA meetings. So, I did some research and really liked the idea of Help Me Stop because of the fact I could do it from my own home and it was a relatively short period of time in my life to complete it.
‘So, when I enrolled on the programme, I didn’t know what to expect. I was nervous that I had previously attempted to give up alcohol and that involved Zoom sessions and a group of people. So I had a little bit of experience. I had an immediate session with my therapist and she really put me at ease. And my first therapy session was strange, to say the least, because I didn’t understand the format but the staff were amazing and very inclusive. And so were all the other people on the course. After day one and day two, which were daunting and a little bit strange, and I had my sessions in the evening, 6 till 8.30, so it was a good time of day for me. That’s the end of the day, the time when I would have been drinking, so it was really quite valuable that I chose to do rehab in that way.
‘Initially, although I voluntarily made the call and I put myself on the course, I was fairly resistant. I was trying to convince myself, as I had been doing for a long time, that I wasn’t an alcoholic: a word which I found it really difficult to say and still do. But I found that as the days went by and the format of the meeting became clear to me – I understood how it worked; I found it easier to follow – and the people within the group between my friends. Very surprisingly and unexpectedly, we became a really close group. The support was amazing. I have never known anything like it. I was able to share totally and honestly everything I felt for the first time and I know that others were the same. And I am still in contact with them on a daily basis.
‘Participating in an online programme was something I had done briefly before but not quite to this level. I was apprehensive but the structure of the groups is brilliant. The format, we have the readings, then we’ll talk and we do the preamble – the format was just brilliant. It enabled all of us to participate. The therapists always got everyone to join in. They would never leave someone out. Obviously, some more vocal people would speak first. But then the therapists would come in and encourage everyone to speak about something, if they wanted to – there was no pressure at all – but it was if they wanted to and invariably everyone did, even if it was just to say, ‘Hi, my name is…’
The group was quite a strong group. We formed strong bonds quite quickly. We were from all different walks of life and interestingly, not just alcohol, there were drug addicts there as well, which was a shock to me – but actually, I learned that they are all the same thing, just all a different addiction. As the weeks went on, I formed just the most amazing friendships with them and we all support each other as much as we possibly can. And I found the online thing felt as if I was in a room with them.
‘On my graduation, four people graduated before me because I extended and the rest were still in the group. And they all came back, and my husband and my daughter came back because I’m a very family-orientated person. And I talked about my family all the time.It was one of the most emotional evenings of my life. I can’t describe it. I was crying through talking through where I’d been and crying through talking through where I was now and how I’d changed. And listening to those people talk about me and say lovely things and then my daughter spoke, and my daughter and my husband both came away from my graduation saying,’Wow, mum! They really know you. That’s just amazing. They are so lovely.’ And I just thought, how lucky am I that I have gone into this room and met 10 amazing people. And they’re all amazing. every one of them. And each of them helped me on a different day in a different way, at a different time, but each of them helped me. And I hope I helped them.
‘I’m 73 days’ sober and life is quite different. I get up in the morning. I don’t feel ill. I don’t have a headache and I don’t feel sick. I vary my routine massively in the evening, but I don’t think about alcohol in the evenings and certainly not at 6 o’ clock. I am very sociable. I go out quite a lot. I have an exit plan. Always, I have a strategy. I plan everything. And I’m happier. The horrible thoughts in my head have gone. I am more cheerful and I’m more stable. I’m definitely more stable. I was behaving in a bit of an insane manner, really. And it doesn’t have that hold on me that it did. And I’m not naive to think that will automatically last forever, but I will work hard to try and make sure it does.’
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