In October 2021, Lisa called us for help with how to stop drinking alcohol. Now four months into her sobriety, we chatted to Lisa about her experience of trauma, alcohol addiction and alcohol recovery. We are always grateful when our clients tell us their real story: the ups and the downs and everything in between. With this honesty, they always inspire others. From all the team at Help Me Stop, thank you Lisa for your commitment to change. To find out about affordable alcohol treatment, please contact us here or call 0208 191 9191. Read and watch more of our clients’ recovery stories here and here.
Lisa speaks about trauma, addiction, and finding her way into alcohol recovery
‘I was going through a very personal, critical trauma in my life, and it had quite a devastating effect on me and my family. Unfortunately, I started drinking quite heavily to blank the trauma out of my mind. But at the time, I was so preoccupied with myself, I didn’t really notice how badly it was affecting them. It culminated in the end of August, beginning of September, me getting very drunk and actually driving. And that had a devastating effect on me. Thank God nobody was hurt. But it made me realise I needed support and I needed help, and couldn’t do it on my own. So, we contacted Help Me Stop on the Monday, had an interview on the Tuesday, and I started straight away on the Wednesday. It’s the best thing, really, I ever did.’
‘I found my voice again and found some confidence’
‘I would say the course itself was very well constructed. I didn’t really know what to expect but I found it very comforting to go in at the morning time, and do our meditation and group relaxation and then have our Process. It’s the first time I think I had spent time actually being open and honest. Initially, I found that quite scary, but the longer I was there, I felt like I found my voice again and found some confidence. And it was pushed back into me that I did have a voice and I was a confident person. And the guilt and the shame I felt was much less as the weeks went on. I think the different sessions we did helped a great deal, and I would also say that the peer group, it grew and then it became smaller as people graduated, but the mixture of people was really comforting. I think they will be friends for life.
‘When I went into Help Me Stop, I would say I was at rock bottom. It was a very scary time in my life. I felt very fearful of everything. And I did have a lot of guilt and shame, and I know that I had damaged my family very much. After three days, I did have a drink. It was almost like a test to myself, to see if I could drink safely and not carry on. It clearly didn’t have any good or positive effects on me. So, after that I abstained completely. Going in every day from then, talking though the problem and being more open and honest, it gave me more strength to avoid drinking alcohol.’
‘I understood freedom from the trap of alcohol’
‘As the weeks went on, I could sense a sudden calmness. We had art therapy and I found that really helpful, because I could draw how I felt. My pictures went from tiny pictures, to bigger, bolder pictures. I just felt more confident. With peace in the house and the confidence coming back, each day I became stronger. I understood freedom from the trap of alcohol: how to stop drinking and stay stopped.
I was very lucky to have the most wonderful peer group. We soon realised we had something very much in common. We started a Whatsapp group, which we found very supportive. We welcomed each other and made sure people were okay. If we were struggling, we could put on the group chat that we just needed a little bit of a talk, and someone would very quickly message or phone. We were able to be honest with each other. I feel like they will be friends for life.
In alcohol recovery, ‘my family has a future together, full of fun and laughter’
‘For eighteen months before Help Me Stop, I’d been drinking daily. I’d been struggling. To feel clean and to wake up fresh is amazing. I find that I have so much more energy. The most important thing is there’s calmness back in the house. There doesn’t seem to be fear. There doesn’t seem to be tension. That’s my aim to get my family back and let them gain trust in me, and to feel that we can all move forward together. I want to become the family we were because the critical, trauma incident happened. That will always be my aim. My family has a future together, full of fun and laughter. I couldn’t have done this on my own. I really needed the Help Me Stop programme and therapists.’
‘It was interesting the other day that I did actually think about the future. And I remember one of the sessions in our therapy, the therapist was talking about the fact that we will never drink or take drugs again. My problem was being an alcoholic, and it occurred to me that I would have to be going into company of people who did drink. I found that quite daunting at the time. However, I feel now, for the future I’ve got confidence. I’ve been in a pub recently and had lime and soda, where other people have drunk and it didn’t bother me. So, I feel suddenly when you have a clear head and everything is so much more rational, the problem of wondering if you can stay sober, it’s so less daunting, because I feel like I’ve got the confidence to know that I don’t want to drink.’