The Long and winding road
I came into treatment aged thirty-one and three stone underweight. I lived a life of disruption full of impulsive and erratic behavior. My life was unmanageable and I went beyond any realms of morality I had implemented before my ‘using’. Any friends I had accumulated over the years had given me a wide berth. I’d lost or sold all of my possessions, stolen, lied and family members had given up all hope.
I have a beautiful son aged twelve and my parents have full custody of him. The sad thing is, I would have taken a bullet for him, but I couldn’t stop using it for him. I was a master at manipulation and used people to my advantage, using whatever means and resources necessary. I had a nature of ‘can I have and have you got’. I existed mainly in isolation. I’d lost any sense of reality. I was consumed in self – I was a heroin and crack addict.
I wanted so much to get clean, I knew deep down somewhere that I was making all the wrong decisions and hurting the people that I loved the most. I felt out of control and I was. I was powerless to do anything about it on my own. I just could not stop.
After years of battling with addiction, I looked like what I was. My self-care was non-existent, I’d had a string of volatile relationships, attempted and failed detox’s, and destroyed myself full of emotions, spiritual and physical damage. I was in constant seek of gratification, but nothing ever seemed to last or feel good enough. Something always seemed to be missing. I ran completely on self-will, blaming anything and anyone, justifying insane behavior, and repeating the same patterns. I could barely walk. I was extremely malnourished and breathing in fresh air even seemed like hard work. I was somewhat oblivious to the fact the problem was staring me in the face. It was me. It was my mum who intervened to find me the help that I needed. I was reluctant and felt physically and mentally incapable of using the phone myself without having a drink. My confidence and self-esteem were as low as me, it was the floor. I could barely string a sentence together. I now believe that God works through people. I will be eternally grateful to my mum.
Mum had spoken with a man, whom neither of us had met before and he could not help enough. He arranged for my mum to speak to a volunteer from a treatment center. This kind man drove a three-hour drive to my parent’s house to meet me and to do my assessment – how lovely is that?! These two men had a massive hand in saving my life and for that, I will be forever grateful too. I had a big ego, but with no substance within, so having this volunteer, another recovering addict, share some of his stories with me, put me at ease to be able to share some of mine. I had no self-worth worth and this was the olive branch that I so desperately needed. The fun had been sucked from my life a long time ago and I was ready.
Less than two weeks later I was on my way up to a treatment center four hours away, for twelve weeks of rehabilitation. I took the journey with both my mum and dad. As we got further and further away from the place I called home, I cried silently in the back of the car. I was full of self-pity and carried a whole load of denial and behaviors I was completely unaware of. I arrived dragging a suitcase twice as heavy as me, reluctant to let my parents come in with me. I was consumed by fear, I didn’t know what to expect.
What I have learned is that I suffer from a fear-based illness, an incurable disease; addiction. And when not managed, it can produce detrimental consequences for both myself and others around me. I get an obsession to use, and once I have acted on that obsession I compulsively use more. Through discipline and consistency, I am able to manage the obtrusive thoughts I have now. I cannot control my thoughts but, I can control my actions. Today I have a choice. I can sit with myself and work through my negative thoughts and feelings …. And they pass! I am open and willing to all that is suggested to me. Suggestions are free; it’s the ones that we don’t take that we pay for. I put drink and drugs down and that is just the beginning! I had absolutely no idea that I was harboring other behaviors. My disease manifests in all sorts of ways. I needed to change my whole way of thinking.
I had been extremely good over the years at adapting to my surroundings, always wearing a mask. It was now time to strip back to me. Over the years I had built up barriers and I hadn’t allowed myself to transition from child to adult, no wonder I found it hard with the responsibility of being a parent! I just could not cope with any situation I was presented with, I could not cope with life. If it weren’t for other addicts sharing their experience, strength, and hope with me, I never would have gotten this far in this short space of time. I am no longer stuck and fixated on drugs, instead, I am focused on creating a better future. I am excited about opportunities and aspire to be something now. I’ve got the chance to become a
good mum, daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, and friend. I do not have to be the person I once was and I don’t have to be.
Today I am grateful for the little things that I once took for granted. I have continuity with my son and family and hearing the little difference in their voices gives me something internally that drugs never could. My captured relationships are repairing. I’ve learned the difference between needs and wants, to be content with what I have, (I still struggle sometimes!). I no longer stay with people that confirm my behavior, giving me justification for my actions. Instead, I have genuine, caring people who are in tune with my way of thinking. I have this opportunity to really get to know myself properly and that alone is really quite special. Sometimes I still can’t believe that I’ve been given this chance.
I will continue to stay with people who inspire me, challenge me to rise higher, and help me to get better. I will continue also to take strength and commitment from those around, for they have seen the light in which I have so long searched for
I am now 60 days clean and I know it’s not going to be easy, but so worth the process. I feel like I am going to have a life now. I got offered a twelve-week extension in my treatment and I snapped it up without any hesitation at all. I know what I’ve got to do and it was the best decision I have ever made. Sometimes you don’t have to see it to believe it, you have to believe it to see it.
Hello! I’m Shaun
Shaun Simon received professional training from the Priory in London and has experience working in some of the world’s most exclusive rehabs including Paracelsus in Switzerland. She is also a qualified therapist with an interest in mindfulness practice. She will work closely with our guests to cultivate well-being. Mindfulness has been at the core of many wellbeing practices within many cultures for thousands of years. Recently there have been many scientific studies, including “The neuroscience of mindfulness meditation’ – Tang YY, Holzel BK, Posner MI, which reinforces the positive effects of mindfulness.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this a real story?
Yes. The service was contacted by the woman in the story and as soon as we knew she needed help we went into action. She was based in the UK. As New Life works with various services and individuals in each European country we were able to assist.
How long ago was this story?
This true story, which should one day be turned into a film took place in 2019.
Is the woman still clean?
As far as we are aware the client is still clean, living a happy life, integrated back with her family and her son. New Life Marbella has over a 70% success rate of sobriety within the first 12 months.
What was the man who drover 3 hours to help her?
That young man is called Amos and he is based in Birmingham. He travelled from Birmingham to the south coast to help the woman.
How did the woman get help in the first place?
The woman’s mother called the help line on the Marbella Sober Home web page. That called was redirected to New Life Marbellla the parent company, and the call was taking by a leading professional within the business.
Will New Life Marbella help people without money?
We always help everyone we can. Without exception.