The Road to Recovery - Lee’s Story
The Road to Recovery - Lee’s Story
My life before I started drinking was pretty damn normal, and very good more to the point. I had the close loving family, good friends, and I couldn't have asked for a better childhood. One thing I have noticed, only since being in recovery, is that I wasn't very confident in myself. I was always very shy and quiet with new people, even more so with the opposite sex.
I had my first drink at aged 14 and from that first sip, I thought I had found what I was looking for. Alcohol gave my confidence to chat to people, but to be honest I just really enjoyed the social side of drinking, as well as the effect I got.
I just loved it, however I never drunk like a normal person, right from that first drink I experienced black outs. I started using recreational drugs around 17 or 18 but I always seemed to be the one to go too far, always wanting more, whatever substance I was using.
When I was 19 I was diagnosed with cancer. To be quite honest, I worked very hard at blocking out my emotions and any worrying, and upon reflection, I 100% advise against this with anything traumatic in life. I used to tell people that “it didn't bother me much” but once I got through treatment, I pretty much had the mindset that “you’re only young once”.
My drinking got worse and it negatively started affecting my life, family, relationships, jobs and more seriously, my physical health. I was admitted a few times to the hospital both here and abroad purely as a result of my drinking.
I underwent residential treatment at The Northlands Centre when I was 28. I completed the 6 week programme, and can now see that at this time I was doing this for other people not myself. But I also know that if I hadn't gone, God knows how My life would have ended up by now.
After leaving the northlands managed to stay sober few months however I eventually relapsed and started drinking again. For those that know, I can tell you this wasn’t a progressive relapse, no matter how long you have been sober, when it returns its ALWAYS worse. I have struggled on and off in this relapse cycle, gaining periods of sobriety (2 years at one stage) but when personal problems would arise I always fell back to what I knew, alcohol.
A very good friend of mine who went to school with Gary Rutherford, passed me onto ARC’s Facebook page, I mesaged Gaz and within a few days I had met up with him for a coffee. Even though ARC was in its infancy and still a signposting service, that meeting was a real breath of fresh air. This was only in March of this year!
Within a space of a few months as ARC continued to grow, I was accepted into the first ARC Fitness Recovery Programme. The group met up for a coffee in a private environment to help break the ice before starting. To be honest there couldn't have been a better bunch of people to start the journey with. Even though I can be quite quiet and introverted, I found everyone so welcoming, and of course we were all in the same boat.
I had already started going to gym quite a few years back during one of my periods of sobriety and I had found this immensely benificial to my recovery while I worked it. Training was one of many things that kept my head straight and in the right place, much more than the rest. So when I heard about ARC I couldn't wait to get started.
I found the 6 weeks were very enjoyable. We had online accountability with a WhatsApp group for all 6 members plus Gaz. This was really helpful and we pretty much stay in contact daily. Garys fitness knowledge was second to none and each class during the programme was different and enjoyable (but tough lol).
Since the programme finished Gaz still keeps the classes going for us all and although I haven't been able to make all the classes continuing these were massively important to me. It would be quite a daunting experience for me if everything just ended after the 6 weeks.
Another beneficial aspect for me was a restorative yoga class with John Bell incorporated into the programme. I've been to a few of these classes since and I cant recommend them enough for people in recovery if not. Pure serenity.
Honestly, with the help of ARC, my life is so much different now since I started taking control of my recovery. I am 100% a different person and living a life I could only have dream off, I was free from alcohol 1 year and 6 months there on the 22nd of this month, I've still got another few things to work on but I feel I am a much better person to both my family and friends. I am no longer sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.
ARC has been one of the biggest pieces of my recovery process to date. I could not recommend it enough for anyone struggling with substance misuse. The coach is an exceptional human being and is doing an unreal job and service to the community.
I hope to prosper more with the continuing classes and other things keeping me right.