Recovery looks different for everyone. The people who access drug, alcohol and mental health support come from a range of backgrounds, and all have their own unique relationship with these issues, and experience of accessing support.
September is Recovery Month and we’re highlighting some of the stories of the people we support and their experience of recovery.
Sammi: “I can finally say that I’m proud of myself and that I like who I am.”
I can’t pinpoint one specific catalyst for my lifelong battle with drugs and alcohol. However, I did have a difficult childhood, struggled with the death of friends and family, suicide, abuse, mental health issues, and most recently a horrific incident that left me with a physical disability. From a young age, alcohol and drug use were normalised to me. Each time I suffered any kind of trauma, I delved deeper into that world. I thought that was normal because it was to me.
Over the years I ruined relationships, lost jobs, even lost my house. I repeated this cycle over and over. I knew I could survive the worst and for a long time I thought I was enjoying it on some level. I tried therapy lots of times, I tried detoxes, but I just didn’t care. I felt like I had no point or purpose in life.
Then, almost two years ago, I looked around me and realised I was going to lose everything again. Except this time was different. I’d put so much hard work into learning how to walk again — I’d been in therapy for PTSD and for abusive relationships — I was finally learning how to like myself again. So why was I back here?
I decided to pick myself up and sort myself out. I asked for help. I didn’t want to be stuck alone in my house feeling more lonely, desperate and unhappy.
My nurse got in touch with With You for me, and since then I’ve been getting support at meetings and groups. I can finally say that I’m proud of myself and that I like who I am. With You have helped me to maintain my recovery and stay motivated through training opportunities, courses, volunteering and various projects within the charity.
When I was 13, my little sister died. That tragic event really affected me. When I was 16 I moved from Glasgow to England and discovered alcohol. It became an issue really quickly and would stay an issue for the next few decades of my life.
After moving to England, I had kids, got married, and was headhunted for a good job in London. I felt like I’d arrived, but at the same time, I hated it. I’d realise later that it was the alcohol that I hated, how it dictated my life.
Eventually, my alcohol issues led to my marriage ending, and I ended up homeless for a while before moving back to Glasgow. This all culminated in March 2020 when I tried to take my own life. I sat in my flat just thinking about how I couldn’t get away from alcohol. I couldn’t live with it, I couldn’t live without it. I just saw no way out.
I’d got support a couple of different times, but nothing really stuck. I didn’t even really understand what I was suffering from. Eventually, a crisis psychiatrist referred me to With You.
Maggie was my With You support worker, and I credit her with saving my life. I went in feeling broken, but as soon as I met her I felt comfortable. We sat in a room, and I broke down and I cried, for the first time in a long time. Maggie really gave me the confidence to say “I can do this”.
Eventually, I began to volunteer at With You, helping to run online groups during the pandemic. This really empowered me. It gave me confidence, self-worth and self-belief.
It’s been a journey and a half from this little boy losing his sister, to sleeping on the streets for two years, to losing everything, to finding the right support and feeling like I could do this.
Read the full blog post here.
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We are proud to work in partnership with many of the leading charities and treatment providers in the sector.
This content was created by With You.