Alison’s Abbeycare Experience

Name: Alison
Age: 39 Years
Occupation: Nurse
Sobriety: 2 Years, 5 Months

Alison’s downward spiral

Alison spent 28 days in Abbeycare more than 2 years ago. She started drinking as a teenager and by the age of 39 was completely lost in alcohol, wasn’t going to work, her life had crumbed around her, was taking antidepressants and, no matter how many times she tried herself, couldn’t stay off the bottle.

Alcohol only clinic

Since spending time at Abbeycare, which is Britain’s sole alcohol-only rehab, Alison spoke to us about her life then and now. Alison said: “I inadvertently found myself addicted to alcohol. I certainly never set out to become a problem drinker, no one does. I knew I had a problem, but just didn’t know the solution. I had tried to cut down myself many times but every time I failed to do it, I’d get more distraught thinking I could never beat this. Abbeycare provided me with a solution and more importantly they showed me how to implement it.” Alison has changed her fundamental thinking about herself and alcohol and has made major changes in her life finding new interest and new connections. Her life has opened up into a new awareness with the understanding that her alcohol addiction was all about loss after loss – now in sobriety, her life is all about gain after gain.

Gaining the knowledge needed to recover

“I thought because of my profession, and the fact I often work in a detox ward, that I knew about this problem. I thought I would know as much about this as the Abbeycare staff . I was surprised at how little I actually knew about how to get well. Detox is important but just the beginning. We think we just need to detox people and get them off it and all will be well, but how wrong that is. Abbeycare did detox me and then treated the cause of my drinking and gave me the solution which has made my life pretty amazing I must admit.” At Abbeycare, Alison’s treatment surrounded her whole well being. Alcohol is merely a symptom of other life issues.

Abbeycare’s programme

Abbeycare offers Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Heart Math (a proven stress reduction technique), anxiety and stress management training, and ultimately life re-framing, re-alignment and direction. “Before I committed to the Abbeycare treatment, I had spent 8 months on sick leave. My doctor had signed me off with depression as I had told him I did drink more than most people but it wasn’t too much of a problem. I had lied to him basically. I got prescribed anti-depressants. I never told my doctor I was drinking two bottles of wine most evenings and more on weekends and holidays. I also told myself at times that I never had a problem as I wasn’t as bad as other people – I never had to drink in the morning or during the day at work. What nonsense! My attitude and application to work was severely affected. This had been going on for many years. Time flies in quick when you are sedated most of the time. My time off work actually gave me Carte Blanche to drink as much as I wanted to. I was stuck. It was horrible. But I now know there’s another way to live and it can be done by anyone – we just need a bit of help.”

Alcohol education

“I was shown by my counsellors and key-workers exactly what alcohol is, a registered poison, toxin and mind altering and mood altering drug. It’s a sedative, anaesthetic and most relevant to me, a highly potent depressant. Bang, the light went on, I wonder how many people in the UK – after lying like I did to their doctors – are diagnosed with depression, take anti-depressants and drink a highly potent depressant at the same time. What a dangerous and ridiculous mixture – and I actually thought taking alcohol and anti-depressants was going to make me better.”

A new person

“Well, the drinking part of my life is now over and I truly feel like a person re-born. My spark has returned along with more self-esteem, self-worth and confidence than I’ve ever had. I also learned that the things I was getting so stressed over before didn’t really matter that much. I learned how to live for the first time really. One of the most important things I learned was true honesty. I practised that when I visited my GP to tell him I was going back to work. It was difficult, but I told him the whole truth of my drinking. To my surprise, he was delighted and he told me how much easier his job would be and how much more he could help people if people were honest. However, he did understand the stigma and lack of understanding surrounding the alcohol problem in Scotland.” “I truly feel better every day, and the large weight that has stunted my personal growth and life has been lifted. The mark of a person is how they rebound from a problem which allows them to grow as a human – I am now wearing that mark and can enjoy my life without that irrational fear and sadness every time I looked in the mirror. But I needed a helping hand to start with – everyone does at the beginning – and thankfully I managed to go to Abbeycare to get it.”

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