My addiction to alcohol was progressive over a number of years. Alcohol became a “normal” part of many of my usual life activities such as socialising with friends, sport, work and relationships. There was a tipping point when alcohol went from a choice to a necessity.
From an alcoholic’s perspective, continued use of alcohol is likely to kill you, often both slowly and painfully. It took me a while to accept this as it had been as much a friend as an enemy for many years. As the continued use of alcohol led to greater consequences, many things in my life I took for granted (success, financial security, houses and relationships), were taken from me and I didn’t know how to cope. My primary mechanism to deal with the fear and anxiety was to drink more, not to ask for help.
The impact on my friends and family was one of despair. They couldn’t reconcile the person they knew with the person they saw before them, seemingly committed to self destruction. This had further effects on the inter relationships within my family as there were many disagreements over how to deal with my behaviour.
Coming to Broadway Lodge was an admission that I was broken and, despite any pride I had, I desperately needed help. Broadway gave me somewhere safe to start the lifelong journey of recovery. Counsellors were encouraging and supportive, but also made me take risks in sharing my feelings. Importantly, I never felt judged. Broadway gave me a starting place for my recovery and gave me key tools to use along the way. I was shown the path and it was up to me then to take it.
I have been sober for just over a year and have never needed to take a drink from the day I came to Broadway. Today my life is full of meaningful things underpinned by a consistent structure of recovery meetings and helping other alcoholics …to this end I have been involved in voluntary work and have started training to provide service on the AA telephone helpline. I was also recently elected a trustee of a charity in Bristol supporting community projects. Through these and other types of activities my self worth is returning and life is much more balanced. Today I have peace of mind and most of the time I can say to myself that I am enough.
To keep your recovery you need to give back freely to others what was given to you. People continue to put time and effort into giving me opportunities to support my recovery and I try to do the same for others.
I am and always will be very grateful to Broadway Lodge. I had to and have to continue to put the work into my recovery, but at the time I entered Broadway Lodge I needed to be shown that there is another way. Since I left treatment I have been an active member of the AA, and attended meetings at various different places in the UK. I have been fortunate to meet other recovering addicts who went through Broadway and the mutual love and respect for Broadway always shines through.
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Pride and shame stopped Richard from accepting he had an alcohol problem