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Regaining hope and happiness after addiction

My recovery journey – Mary’s* story

A former patient of Priory Hospital Altrincham shares their story of living in the depths of addiction, going through treatment at Priory and regaining hope and happiness in their life. Now, after leaving Priory, they are living a life where they can see a positive future for themselves.

Before treatment

I began drinking alcohol heavily at around the age of 21. My behaviour over the next 12 years became progressively more destructive, dangerous and out of control as my addiction took hold. I can say addiction now, but at the time, I was in complete denial, with no understanding of my illness and a total disregard for the chaos that I created. Through my actions, I hurt the people that I loved most in the world, I lost friends as I isolated myself and I struggled to hold down the job that I had worked so hard to achieve.

My life slowly crumbled, but I continued to abuse alcohol as it was the only way I knew how to live. I believed that it was my support, my friend and my coping mechanism. I know now how wrong I was. With each drink, my pain grew and I drank more to survive in the life that I felt like I didn’t belong in.

I fought to hide my addiction from the world around me and my alcohol binges grew closer together as I drank larger quantities to dull the pain. I had become someone that I didn’t like and felt that there was no way out. I was trapped in a cycle.

Just prior to treatment, I was drinking stronger spirits, alone in my bedroom on a daily basis, until I reached what I now understand to be a point of no return. I simply couldn’t continue with life the way it was and having tried countless times to stop drinking alone, I reached out to Priory.

During treatment

Looking back on my time as an inpatient, my first feeling is one of safety. I was welcomed into a place surrounded by addiction specialists that wanted to help me and those like me. I felt absolute relief to be somewhere safe, where I could finally speak about my thoughts and feelings, without the fear of judgement.

The message was simple: there was a solution and if I worked hard and did what was suggested by those with more experience than me, I had the chance to rebuild my life. My family were given support too and whilst it was difficult for me to face up to the impact that my drinking had upon them, Priory guided them to work through my recovery in parallel to me.

Through daily therapy sessions, I began to understand that I wasn’t a bad person, but that I was a very poorly one. With the support and guidance of Priory, I began to believe that I had a future and it was one worth fighting for.

I made a promise to myself that I would give the 28-day programme 100% and I can honestly say that I did. I embraced each day and worked through the pain that I had carried in secret for so many years. Priory, I believe, was the very best place for me to do this as they introduced me to external addiction support meetings, mindfulness, meditation and a programme of recovery.

Upon discharge, I had a plan in place and knew how I could use what I had been taught at Priory back in my daily life.

After the addiction treatment programme

I left Priory nearly six months ago, and now I return twice a week for aftercare. Aftercare, which is provided for 12 months, has been key to maintaining my sobriety. Without a doubt, I am sober today because of the treatment programme and the support that I have from the team.

The care provided doesn’t end after the 28 days and returning to Priory Hospital Altrincham always feels like going home. I continue to work through a plan of recovery, the foundation of which was created during my time at Priory.

By taking life one day at a time, I am rebuilding relationships with my family, forging new friendships and can now look ahead with hope.

I will always be grateful to the Priory team. When I believed I was utterly lost and broken, they guided me into recovery and towards the future that I now believe I deserve.

* Names have been changed 

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