‘Recovery isn’t just about stopping, it’s also about what comes after stopping.’
Raised by his dad and granddad after his mother left at age five, Steven had a challenging childhood. He began drinking at a young age, and this escalated during his teenage years and into adulthood. Around a year ago, Steven decided he wanted to break the cycle and make a change. He came to WithYou with this as his goal, and today, he’s been without a drink since March last year.
‘At senior school, I got in with the wrong crowd of boys and was always getting up to mischief, causing trouble, pinching from the shops. I started drinking around this age.
‘I was rejected to play for a football club when I was a teenager, and I turned to drinking to forget about it. I could’ve tried it again, but instead, I chose to drink. Before I turned 18, I got an apprenticeship. I remember constantly thinking that the money I earned could be used as “beer tokens” – I could drink as often as I wanted.’
It was around this time that things took a turn for Steven. He began visiting the local workman’s club, and from then on, his alcohol consumption increased dramatically. This took a toll on his professional life, causing frequent absences and discussions with his employer about his drinking habits. His own business suffered as well.
‘I would be out on Fridays in the club, Saturdays would be match day drinking, and then on Sundays, I’d be back in the club telling stories about football – drinking again. Eventually, I ended up at the club every day.
‘I’d be having a lot of time off work because of alcohol use. My employer had several talks with me about my drinking. I also owned my own business, but it all dwindled away because I wasn’t showing up and spending all my money on drink.’
Despite previous attempts at rehab, Steven recognised the need for a different approach. He really wanted to make a change. From this, he found WithYou, and together we helped him to set goals and make slow reductions.
‘Deep down, I knew I needed help. I’d paid for rehab in the past, but I’d just discharge myself and be back onto drinking again. I needed to try something different. I thought, at my age, if I don’t stop now I’ll never stop. It’ll be a continuous cycle. This was my last chance to save myself.
‘I really wanted to do it. Just coming into WithYou every week to have a chat and do a breathalyser meant a lot to me, because I could challenge myself to get a lower reading each week. Doing the drinks diary alongside this really helped. I’ve never praised myself for anything before. But hearing that my readings were getting lower each week was like hearing “Steven you’re doing brilliant”.’
With the guidance of his recovery worker, Steven began to see noticeable changes. The encouragement and positive affirmations only fuelled his determination, and before long, Steven looked forward to the weekly meetings.
‘A lot of the support WithYou gave me was around setting goals and slow reductions. As hard as it was, I stuck to it. They helped me understand how much to reduce safely. My recovery worker’s face was always over the moon when I’d give him my weekly diary and update – I was proud as punch. Coming down to WithYou each week, I could see I could get there, bit by bit.’
Reflecting on his journey, Steven acknowledges how far he’s come. Now, he enjoys looking after himself and this is reflected in how he goes about his life. This positive shift in his daily routine motivates him to continue leading a life that is truly his own, independent from his past challenges with alcohol.
‘I think of who I am now and how happy I am compared to who I was before, and it spurs me on. I have a laugh, I talk to people. I enjoy life. I thought I had no hope, that my life was going to continue in a cycle of drink until I was dead. But I changed it around. I’m learning how to cook now, I’m making lasagne from scratch. I’m learning how to look after myself, and enjoying being social again.’
With the right support, Steven was able to make a change and live a life he didn’t think was possible. It’s proof that, with determination and by taking it one step at a time, anyone can reshape their life.
If you or someone you know is seeking support on the path to recovery, With You is here to help. Wherever you are in your recovery journey, we’re here to work alongside you.
This blog was originally published by WithYou. You can read the original post here.
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