I ended up in the police station and when I was there I met a lovely lady who told me about SWADS services.
Within a couple of days, I visited 13-14 Milton Road as she suggested. I was very apprehensive initially, I didn’t know how these people could help me. I was seen by a lady who did an initial assessment and it was suggested that I join a group. I felt like I was up for it, I had been told this was something that could help and I was keen to do anything that would help me out of the situation I was in.
I found some comfort within the group at SWADS, realizing that I am not alone in my struggle with drink. The people within the group understood what I’m going through, whereas in the past others have sniggered and sneered at me because I have this problem. I did a detox and whist it did help initially, I didn’t drink for that period, I did unfortunately resume drinking again. Why? I can’t answer. It was something that had a hold of me and was not going to let go of me. I went through periods of abstinence but always seemed unable to maintain it.
Whilst going through the group, the Art Studio was mentioned and if anyone was interested they were welcome to join in. Never been a great one for drawing and painting, I was dubious to whether it would have any benefit, but another member of the group suggested that we go together, which I agreed to...but didn’t turn up, much to his dismay and annoyance. My friend from the group was not happy with me but felt positive about the art and so I did go the following week. I thought I better at least give it a try and see how I got on.
The first thing we did was drawing, which is a subject that I have never been any good at, but I was surprised by the encouragement given to me by Lucille. My attempt at drawing was not brilliant but I was told that it was fine, there was nothing wrong with it. As I continue to come to the Art I feel that the work I am producing is improving steadily and this is partly I believe because there is no pressure, you work at your own ability level. Drawing is not the only activity that is available to practice, recently I started sewing, and I have made a few patches for our recovery quilt, which is a group project we all have contributed to. Again sewing is something I would never have envisaged me doing as a pastime or hobby. I could sew a button on a shirt but that was the end of it, until now, I do get some pleasure from participating in the task. It’s peaceful and therapeutic and I never would have thought I would actually enjoy doing this.
Well I’m getting close to three month sober this time. I think having the art is helping me focus on something else. If I wasn’t here through the day I could possibly have fallen into the bad habits I used to have. Coming here has given me something to do that is of benefit to my well-being. Having no thought of drink is a huge step for me and my recovery and I feel that as long as I come here, having the support from all around, things can only continue to get better. I take each day in small steps and for the moment it’s working.
The thing that was missing was employment but that changed and I’ve been able to work now and I’ve have had some agency jobs, in between jobs I’m volunteering one day a week for The Gate, and work in the warehouse or on the Van, delivering furniture to people.
SWADS is no longer a place where they only support people with addiction issues, there are lots of people from different backgrounds coming to use the art rooms and it’s great to get to chat with more people as we do our art.
I am grateful for the opportunity to come to a safe environment, where I know I won’t be judged on my past and be given the encouragement to get my life back on track.