27 September 2018

BLOG: Mary’s Story

Individuals struggling with addiction can often experience a reluctance to confront the challenges they face. At the same time, concerns around perception and social acceptance sometimes lead family members to put off seeking the support both they and the individual need. In extreme cases, this situation can spiral for many years.

At the Rutland Centre, we specialize in whole family recovery. By placing emphasis on the family as much as the individual, we help ensure that not only the direct challenges but also the less obvious ones are addressed.

Importantly, our approach is abstinence-based. We passionately believe that whole family support is an important aspect behind the successful recovery.

Below is the story of a former patient, Mary, who had been struggling with active addiction for many years:

“I spent nearly 30 years in turmoil. This included self-harm, starving myself, and self-medicating with drugs and alcohol to alleviate the pain and despair that I lived with daily.I attempted suicide on several occasions, I was hospitalised many times, in psych wards and in John of Gods a few times.”

“I was diagnosed with many different forms of psychiatric illnesses, and was heavily medicated over the years, I lived in fear of my own mind.My alcohol consumption increased and with that I lost my self-worth, my self-respect and caused much pain and concern to all of those who loved me.”

“I was so deep into my addiction that I became oblivious to the welfare of my own children, everyone was my enemy, I blamed everyone else for the way I felt, I lied, I was devious, I manipulated others, my biggest lie was to myself, I was very ill, yet refused to acknowledge this fact. I was slowly killing myself and I didn’t care.”

“Things began to spiral out of control at the beginning of 2015, I began drinking vodka for the first time in my life, as I found it made me unconscious quicker, that was my goal, to drink to collapse to be unconscious.I began taking large amounts of prescription medication with the vodka, hoping I wouldn’t wake up in the morning, I was terrified, I knew either I got help quickly or I was going to die.”

“Walking through those doors with my suitcase for my five week stay was terrifying. I did not know what to expect.It was the first time in my life that I was with people who did not judge me and who understood how I felt. Very quickly I began to see hope and the possibility of a different life.”

“Spending time with the other clients and hearing their stories was part of the healing process. I identified with others, I wasn’t alone, I wasn’t unique.Group therapy was invaluable, it drew out so many emotions that I had bottled up for all my life, I had never developed coping techniques since childhood, and I began to understand so much about myself. There were days of joy in there, and days of anger, but I was beginning to ‘feel’ again, and without self-medicating.”

“It was not easy taking responsibility for the chaos and damage I caused, but with that acceptance came healing. Trauma I had suffered as a child and in later life was discussed for the first time ever, and I began to understand that these traumas, that I had buried deep were fuelling my destruction, and that without addressing them I wouldn’t become well.”

“The staff are exemplary, the empathy they show contributed to my recovery, I felt safe, understood and I never felt judged.I was treated as a normal human being, not as a messed-up, hopeless alcoholic.I was taught coping skills, my self-respect slowly returned, I ate the best I’d eaten in years, I began to want to live again, and began to see life as something beautiful and precious, and I began to grow up.”

“The day I left I was terrified, and I asked myself ‘could I cope alone?’ But I wasn’t alone: the doors of The Rutland did not shut, I could ring anytime if I needed, I attended relapse prevention on Saturday mornings, and attended After Care for two years, I had good and bad days, but it was a huge comfort and support knowing that that The Rutland was always there for me.I basically did everything that was suggested to do by The Rutland, and it all worked.”

“Today I am 3 years and 3 months clean and sober. I have grown as a person, I have self-value, self-respect and I love myself.My relationships with my children and family are amazing.In my book the biggest way to apologise for all my wrongs is ‘change’, and that’s what I’ve done. Today I am running my own business, while studying part-time for a third level degree.My life is full, busy, and very rewarding.”

“I also facilitate a relapse prevention group, and to be able to show my group the same non-judgement and empathy that I was shown in The Rutland is a gift.I haven’t suffered from anxiety attacks, depression or needed to be medicated since leaving The Rutland. I am no longer a hurt child, I am a loving and caring mother, a grandmother with time and energy for my little angels, an auntie full of love and laughter, a caring sister and a loving daughter.”

“Healing and recovery comes from within, however guidance, support and encouragement is invaluable and necessary. I would highly encourage anyone with addictive behaviours that are causing negative consequences to their mental and physical health, to their relationships, to their finances and to the general functioning of their daily lives to consider making a call to The Rutland.”

“There is no shame in admitting you need help. It is the biggest gift you can give to yourself and your loved ones, there is a wonderful life the other side of addiction.”