Hear from Addiction Treatment Programme alumni
People often come to us at their most vulnerable time. Beginning addiction treatment can be daunting for people and their loved ones. Sharing stories from alumni who have also been in that position can help those looking to make a change in their life see that it is achievable. We’ve compiled a number of stories from our former Addiction Treatment Programme patients to help provide a unique insight into the recovery journey at Priory.
Former patient at The Priory Hospital Altrincham
"I vividly remember being dropped off at Priory. I was lost, scared, full of fear, hatred and self-pity. My life and everyone's around me was eroding into misery. It was a case of 'when' rather than 'if' I was going to implode. My addiction was so in control of my life, the love I have for my two daughters could not stop me. I walked through the doors thinking 'how has it come to this?' One of my first feelings was of overwhelming relief, feeling safe and being able to speak openly without being judged.
"Being in the group environment during therapy sessions and living together was a challenging yet amazing experience. At first the most simple of things, like being honest with myself and others, was extremely hard.
"By learning to see in myself what others could see, I slowly began to let down my guard. Realising that I was not alone in my addiction, and addictive behaviour, was massive. Being 'willing' was easy for me as I was ready to do anything to change. I was desperate for the suffering to end. To strip back my ego, and learn to communicate how I was feeling was a humbling experience. Looking at myself and seeing the truth was liberating and tough to do – to see the root cause of my addiction and that I took drink and drugs to numb my feelings and escape. The time I spent in Priory was like holding a mirror up to myself to see the real me. I could identify with the behaviours and feelings of others rather than see the differences. I was given the knowledge of my condition, the awareness, confidence and belief that I could change.
"Since leaving Priory my life has changed considerably. I take responsibility for my recovery and I am available to help others. Aftercare is a really important part of recovery for me as I am able to draw on the experience of peers with good sobriety, in a therapist-led environment. Today I have a new perspective on life and myself; I have feelings again and a peace in my life. Life has many ups and downs but I am here to experience them all, and for that I am so grateful. This journey is the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done and will continue to do. Today I have a life worth living."
Former patient at The Priory Hospital Glasgow
"Before I even started my 28 day stay at Priory, I was given a guided tour by Billy the Head Therapist, and also had a one-to-one meeting with my doctor which helped put me at ease.
"From the moment I started I was made to feel so welcome by all the staff and was blessed to find myself in a group who couldn't have done more to help me through my first few apprehensive days.
"The Addiction Treatment Programme is carefully thought out and it is of great benefit to join a group of people who are all at different stages in their journeys, to beat addiction.
"All staff, be it therapists, doctors or nurses are extremely helpful and will always take the time to listen to you if you have any issues to raise.
"I was told before I entered that the food in the restaurant was excellent – that was indeed the case and all the chefs and the restaurant staff deserve a special mention for the hard work they put in every day. They always have a smile on their faces and after a hard day it’s great to enjoy some excellent food. I would strongly recommend Priory."
Mike, former patient at The Priory Hospital Roehampton
"I went to see a doctor and admitted for the first time in my life that I 'might' have a problem with alcohol. I remember to this day the doctor getting up at the end of our consultation, during which time I had filled out a risk assessment form (pertaining to my mental health) and shaking my hand and saying, 'I think you may have taken an important first step today'. Within three days I had been enrolled at Priory.'
"Those 28 days at Priory took me toward step one in the programme of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) – the Fellowship, of which I am now an active and grateful participant. I learnt that I was powerless over alcohol and that my life was and had been for an awfully long time, unmanageable.
"Looking back [on my time at Priory] I realise how lucky I am to have experienced that intervention. It was necessary to be amongst other addicts to realise that I was not special or unique in that company. For people like us I think we need to find ground zero. Reduced to an essence then grow slowly out and away from our toxic past. Everything is so much easier and clearer from my current vantage point as I am approaching five years in sobriety. What you need as a newcomer is hope, open-mindedness and willingness. Add to that acceptance and humility and the addict stands a chance.
"Those days in Priory took me out of my isolation and self-preoccupation by force. I tried to take an active part in everything that was on offer, including movement and role playing classes, meditation, exercise, and going out to AA meetings. The outsider must learn to feel a connection and that must be valid. It is a spiritual transaction. A lot of what goes on in treatment is done by the power of suggestion – implicitly suggesting that the solution is more attractive than the problem.
"I feel as though I have been given a second wind – another chance at life."