A Christmas Recovery Tale

This recovery journey started on 3rd of December 2015 when I received a private message via Facebook…

“Hi Tracey, its Adam Holmes, hope u don’t mind me massaging I just had my interview at Arc house yesterday been accepted just waiting to do my methadone detox on Burbidge I’ve been four weeks on Saturday off illicit drugs so I’m buzzing with that hope ur good take care, adam x”

I was well chuffed to hear from him I knew Adam way back in the day, 20 years when I was his first Keyworker at a day rehabilitation centre Kickstart. Since then, I have followed his journey, including the highs and lows, including being street homeless and spells in prison. This time though there was something different, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, it was still and still is one of my favourite and most inspiring recovery stories.

I’d spoken to him on the phone, and he was both excited and anxious about recovery worrying about whether or not he’d fail again, but I tried to remind him of all the times he’s succeeded too. At the time, Adam had been posting and updating his progress on Facebook before going into rehab. I still recall reading his daily post and was so inspired that I’d decided to collect them all and give it to him once he’d completed rehab to remind him of how far he’s come. Today, five years later, the original post popped up on my timeline. I’d mentioned it to Adam, who had since changed his Facebook profile, so I have pulled it together again, not just for him, but also for anyone else who it might help.

1st December

  • I’m in town later to pick my train tickets up later on to go Scarborough tomorrow at Arc House anyone wanna meet for a coffee or something to eat my appetite is back with a vengeance lol. it I’ll be wanting to lose my belly wen get too much weight on hahaha
  • Just been reading my just for today n the last bit so right, just for today I will keep my priorities in order, number one on the list is my recovery

2nd December

  • Just got on my train guys I missed one that was going straight through to Scarborough but I’m on my way now gonna av a good day nothing can put me on a downer today got my literature so a good read
  • I’m buzzing, just been to arc house they’re gonna get in touch with my social worker and offer me a place so just waiting to get into hospital now and to rehome mollie my dog bless her

4th December

  • Just been in cathedral said prayer n sat down for 10 min gives me some peace to my mind n soul

5th December

  • Morning everyone how’s everybody today our mollie is going crazy playing lol shopping day today I hate today payday. Oh, and I can’t forget it’s four weeks today clean off illicit drug buzzzzzzinnnnnn naturally

6th December

  • Just not long been out of bath had a rite soak n let all the stresses just float away smile I’m on ball today first time in years.
  • First day in along long time I’ve forgotten to take my meds wow
  • Just got back home from town I’ve never seen it as quiet nipped into cathedral and said a prayer to keep me safe and clean just for today it’s so peaceful in there give u time to think as well away from the madness lol
  • Bed for me guys see ya all Tuesday peace n love to you all and needed tonight’s meeting got some good old honesty it woz raw but needed it thanks for support

7th December

  • Morning everybody how’s people today I soo can’t wait till tomorrow’s meeting I can’t miss any till I go treatment not long now whoop whoooooop lol

11th December

  • Is chilling avin a coffee listening to some pink floyd before meeting it’s all good stuff

12th December

  • Just got to Addaction loads early n soaked through lol
  • Goodnight all and thanks for a great meeting see u all tomorrow smile emoticon peace n love

13th December

Thanks everyone for an awesome meeting always enjoy the fellowship some great friends love n peace, Adam

14th December

  • Just started my step one didn’t know I cud write that quickly without thinking about it powerful stuff step 1 hope to c u all tomorrow nite nite all early one for me
  • Soooooo bored today can’t wait for meeting tomorrow

15th December

  • Morning everyone just on way to see my social worker for last time before I go in Burbidge on Monday can’t wait n also cut my meds down again today, I’ve never been more ready as I am now
  • Awesome meeting tonight I’ve never seen it as busy roll on tomorrow but for now nitey nite everyone sleep well

16th December

  • Complacency is the enemy of members with substantial clean time. If we remain complacent for long, the recovery process ceases.” Basic Text p. 80 Recognising complacency in our recovery is like seeing smoke in a room. The “smoke” thickens when our meeting attendance drops, contact with newcomers decreases, or relations with our sponsor aren’t maintained. With continued complacency; we won’t be able to see through the smoke to find our way out. Only our immediate response will prevent an inferno. We must learn to recognize the smoke of complacency. In NA, we have all the help we need to do that. We need to spend time with other recovering addicts because they may detect our complacency before we do. Newcomers will remind us of how painful active addiction can be. Our sponsor will help us remain focused, and recovery literature kept in easy reach can be used to extinguish the small flare-ups that happen from time to time. Regular participation in our recovery will surely enable us to see that wisp of smoke long before it becomes a major inferno. Just for today: I will participate in the full range of my recovery; my commitment to NA is just as strong today as it was in the beginning of my recovery.

17th December

  • Had a great meeting n brought quite a bit to share but I really needed it off to bed after my coffee getting rite nervous n everything else for Monday. But I can’t wait just to get there
  • In library working on my step one I needed the peace n quiet to concentrate it’s proper head mashing but issues I need to work through just done question three wow about been obsessed with something believe I’m like a cd stuck on repeat n play lol
  • Everything that occurs in the course of NA service must be motivated by the desire to more successfully carry the message of recovery to the addict who still suffers.” Basic Text p. xvi Our motives are often a surprise to us. In our early days of recovery, they were almost always a surprise! We’ve learned to check our motives through prayer, meditation, the steps, and talking to our sponsor or other addicts. When we find ourselves with an especially strong urge to do or have something, it’s particularly important to check our motives to find out what we really want. In early recovery, many of us throw ourselves into service with great fervor before we have started the regular practice of motive-checking. It takes a while before we become aware of the real reasons for our zeal. We may want to impress others, show off our talents, or be recognized and important. Now, these desires may not be harmful in another setting, expressed through another outlet. In NA service, however, they can do serious damage. When we decide to serve NA, we make a decision to help addicts find and maintain recovery. We have to carefully check our motives in service, remembering that it’s much easier to frighten away using addicts than to convince them to stay. When we show them game-playing, manipulation, or pomposity, we present an unattractive picture of recovery; however, the unselfish desire to serve others creates an atmosphere that is attractive to the addict who still suffers. Just for today: I will check my motives for the true spirit of service.

18th December

  • Good morning everyone wot a brilliant day to be clean still shocked the fact it’s first one since I was 14 can’t believe it wow lol
  • Just read just for today I love it “just for today I will share my recovery in an N.A meeting”
  • I think that’s brilliant to share your journey with other addicts n friends just to be able to throw everything out ya mouth n leave it in that room
  • Thanks to everyone for all the birthday wishes I’ve never been as popular in one day hahahaha

19th December

  • Anyone want to meet in town for a coffee my dog is going in foster today not an happy chappy but I know I’ve got to, get myself better but doesn’t mean to say it’s done my head in n been paid today
  • Just bought myself my birthday present buzzing blue addidas bottoms n blue trainers I love buying clothes wouldn’t of dreamt of it two month ago lol
  • Thought meeting woz at 7:30 just been told it 5:30 so I’m walking like a nutter on a mission lol

20th December

  • Well, that’s my bags packed n done just waiting for our mollie to go into foster care
  • I best set a reminder to turn my electric off in morning or wen I’m back in six months I’ll av a rite electric bill lol
  • Took my last bottle of medication today – my journey begins

21st December

  • Morning everyone I’m ready to go Burbidge just waiting on foster carer to ring for mollie now just took her out for last walk.
  • Mollie just gone never thought it cud hurt so much wow
  • I wanted to get to hospital early but come on a hour n three quarters early wow eager beaver lol that’s how much I can’t wait to get in there
  • I’ve never eaten so much pie chips n peas n had seconds now I’m on my pudding I’m gonna come out of ere a rite pie muncher lol its all good
  • They just done my medical on ward wen they wired me up to ecg machine that many wires I woz getting weary thinking is this an electric chair lol
  • Visiting times are half four till eight and on weekends n xmas, boxing days is 10 til 8:30 it’s just that got asked
  • I’m rite happy now thank u Raff Latif for coming n seeing me that’s just made my day wow I’ve never had visitors ere n it just makes it a lot easier bloody hell got tears
  • I can’t believe they av messed my medication up already just gone to get my lefexadine it woz on computer earlier now there is, no meds wot so ever down for me how incompetent r they?
  • I’ve got my card put up where I can see it what all of my new family signed thank u all

22nd December

  • Morning everyone doing great so far
  • I know I’ve got it all to come so taking advantage of being well at the minute eating loads it’s the first time in ages I’ve had three meals in 1 day I’ll put weight on in ere I know that much, they are sorting my meds out this morning I cut down to 15ml today 10ml tomorrow then 5ml day after then none Im gonna be raw as f##k lol won’t be laughing then lol
  • Just had my dinner and also cherry pie with custard I’m that stuffed gonna av an hour or two while I still can n still feel ok lol talk to ya all later, also I got chance to hospital chapel earlier got given a bible and a cross my higher power is watching over me and keeping me well and healthy peace n love to you all take care

23rd December

  • Thank u soooooo much Bradley it woz great seeing u my brother and passed on loads of time we had a rite good chat cheers mate and sending all my love out to everyone of my friends and my n.a family av a great meeting tonight, love n peace, adam
  • Just had my first lefexadine tablet I woz riding it out best a cud but I don’t need to I’ll be glad wen all the meds av stopped I can’t wait but it like that saying don’t run before ya can walk I just get to eager n wanna get things done remember adam just for today n.a has taught me soooooo much which I’m glad for I’m ready to surrender myself and start from ground n work my way up I’ve got that much to learn everything I’ve missed from age 14 to 43 wow.

24th December

  • Its late morning and I’ve slept all way through I had awesome sleep mind u that woz with meds but it worked lol I cut to 10ml today 10ml in two days wow but I start my lefexadine today
  • I’m soooooo shocked of how many people are giving me support it feels great n it’s the rite time for me as well I’ll never forget what ya all av done for me by just been there or just a few words, that can change how u feel from sad to happy n it makes a world of difference I will always be ere to give the same help and support for everyone if needed all my love peace from my heart.

This is as far as I got, but fast forward to 2020. I can tell you Adam never used the train tickets to get to Scarborough a few of his recovery Buddies Mick, Raff and Lee had offered to drive him directly to rehab in case he tried absconding or tried scoring for the last time.

Adam came out of rehab in July 2016, and whilst it hasn’t always been easy, he is still clean to this day. He went into supported accommodation when he returned to Sheffield and now has his place on the Manor. Adam had previously had periods of separation from his only daughter, Leah Jade, but since he started his recovery journey, their relationship has gone from strength to strength. He was beaming the other day about her going to university and how he couldn’t be prouder.

An ambassador for recovery he helped support Sheffield Recovery Community to help raise awareness about addiction and recovery by sharing his story (read here/what here) He’d also completed the Sheffield Ambassador scheme and volunteered for a while with Kickback Recovery before starting as a volunteer coach at De hood. Earlier this year, he helped set a new recovery support group up there.  

I know Christmas is literally around the corner but significant dates don’t count in recovery what counts is that one more day clean. I have put some links below, some sources of support, but in the meantime i just wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and lets SMASH 2021.

Love Fordy x

Remember, try not to be afraid of who you truly are, be proud of your recovery and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more posts, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up for emails.

 Oh, and If you liked the post please share it on social media and with friends  – and if you didn’t like it then do nothing that’s ok too

 

Adams story is just one of many recovery stories, proof that we can recover – to read some more go to https://sheffielddact.org.uk/drugs-alcohol/help-and-support/success-stories/

If you are struggling over the festive period, please don’t suffer alone, reach out https://sheffielddact.org.uk/drugs-alcohol/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2020/12/online-recovery-V5.pdf

 

If you thought living with someone misusing substances is tough, spare a thought for those who have lost someone to substance abuse.

According to statistics, up to three people are adversely affected by one person’s substance misuse. But I know it is far more. It’s been over fifteen years since I lost my father to alcoholism, and it still affects me to this day.

It is especially hard when I hear about another person, someone I know who has passed either as a direct result of misusing substances or due to fragile mental health as a consequence of substance misuse.  Yesterday, i heard the sad news that someone else I met, who’d successfully completed rehab, who when the last time I’d seen him, he seemed so positive, but has now passed away.

That’s five people now this year who have died this year alone. After overcoming the shock, my thoughts and heart always go out to their families and the loved ones left behind. We cannot ever underestimate the trauma that the families and friends are still left with after a loved one has passed. Hence my motivation to write this blog.

Often it can feel like a double bereavement. 

It isn’t uncommon for families and loved ones to go through the grieving process whilst their loved one is still alive. I lived with the anticipation of death way before Dad finally passed. He wasn’t the Dad that I recognised; He’d changed so much it was hard to remember what he was like before. I’d grieved over lost hopes and expectations that he would never truly appreciate what it would be like to have a peaceful mind or get to see his grandkids grow into adults. The missed opportunities were endless. 

Coming to terms with the way someone died 

Somehow it can be easier to accept death when someone has passed after a long or fulfilled life. However, the stigma associated with addiction can make coming to terms with the circumstances of death even harder, than say losing a loved one to cancer or in a tragic accident. The additional fear of judgement can often leave families, loved ones feeling isolated, stigmatised or that somehow your situation is less valid than that of other bereaved people. 

I vividly remember being given the option by the GP who was preparing Dads death certificate whether or not I wanted the cause of death being pneumonia or alcohol. Given a choice, I wouldn’t have chosen either, but I had insisted on the latter. Whilst I didn’t want my Dad to become a statistic, I didn’t want his death caused by alcohol to be in vain. His death wasn’t a peaceful one, far from it, it was slow and painful. He endured both physical and mental torture, and as I have mentioned in previous blogs if he’d have had the chance to end his days differently or sooner i suspect he would have. 

Whilst there may be similarities, substance misuse impacts/affects both the users and families and loved ones differently. Addiction isn’t like treating a fracture, where the break can be located and fixed by a cast. Some families live with the uncertainly of never knowing how who or where the rupture took place, and if they did, they would have moved heaven and earth to help fix it. The feeling of powerlessness can be overwhelming at times and is even harder to bear with so many unanswered questions. 

Fifteen years ago, there wasn’t as much support for families like me. Through writing this book, I have come across some excellent resources that I wanted to share with you, in the hope that if you know someone who has lost a loved one either directly or indirectly to substance misuse that you could guide them in the right direction (see below) 

In the mean time RIP to all those lost souls and to the loved ones left behind.

Love Fordy x

Remember, try not to be afraid of who you truly are, be proud of your recovery and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more posts, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up for emails.

 Oh, and If you liked the post please share it on social media and with friends  – and if you didn’t like it then do nothing that’s ok too

Sources of support 

Adfam was founded in 1984 by the parent of a heroin addict who could not find the support they needed. Overt the past 34 years they have evolved from a small support group into the national infrastructure body working to improve life for families affected by drugs and alcohol use.

Bereavement Through Addiction Provides support groups, a helpline and an annual memorial service in Bristol.

Drugfam offers a telephone bereavement helpline and other sources of support

Survivors Of Bereavement by Suicide (formerly SOBS) Exists to meet the needs and break the isolation of those bereaved by the suicide of a close relative or friend National Helpline: 0844 561 6855, 9am to 9pm every day

Grandparents Plus is the national charity which champions the vital role of grandparents and the wider family in children’s lives – especially when they take on the caring role in difficult family circumstances.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book & Life Update

 

Well, it’s been a fucking crazy year hasn’t it? who would have thought this time last year, some of us would be having to self-isolate at home and especially over Christmas. I however, have found myself embracing the change if I’m honest, COVID has provided me with some much needed ‘time to think’ and has made me realise more than I did before just what’s really important in life.

During COVID I got involved in helping to set up an online support group for families, there are a few of us, who are volunteering to help facilitate the group, being involved has helped remind me about how important it is to recognise the support needs of families and friends affected by addiction.

Best of all the time that would normally have been spent travelling into work on the bus had been replaced with writing time and with the help of the ‘Monday morning Motivation’ writing group run by Beverly Ward  and weekly coaching sessions I finally feel like I am making some progress.

I am nearly halfway through the book, it hasn’t always been easy, but I HAVE found it therapeutic, I am still amazed about how much more there is to learn about myself and how I approach life in general. The book is about two peoples journeys of addiction, mine and my Dads

I thought I would share with you the part of the story. I am at the part of the story when I am starting to really realise that Dad has got a problem with the drink and it’s the start of a journey, I never thought I would be embarking on. I wanted to pay homage in this post to all the families and friends affected by addiction and to also encourage others who find themselves in similar situations to reach out for help, I have also included a link to the video that was made. *Please note this is a draft and will go through another edit*

Continue reading “Book & Life Update”

Christmas is coming… Check yourself before you wreck yourself

People look forward or dread Christmas day for many reasons, it  can  be an opportunity for relaxing or relapsing – you decide

A Christmas Poem – By Fordy

The pressure of family expectations.

The awkward conversations with family members you speak to only once a year,

Worrying about money, the money you haven’t got.

A chance to compete with the neighbours

Check out who’s lights are the most outrageous.

To pretend that Father Christmas existed.

Time for Santa’s elves to get mischievous

For some, it’s to celebrate Jesus.

An excuse for the stretchy pants and to get ready to stuff their faces

To attend midnight mass.

To reflect on Christmas past.

Remember a loved one whose been laid to rest.

Or to put Jamie Oliver’s recipe to the test.

To get pissed and forget about life.

Take a day off from the worry and strife.

A chance to wallow in self-pity

Tell a joke from the Christmas cracker and pretend to be witty.

A chance to tell someone you love that you care

Or a time to envy others and compare

The time of year to get everyone together

Moan about the weather

The lack of snow, ya remember all that white stuff we used to get years ago.

For some, it’s a much-needed day off work.

For others, it’s just another money-making machine.

Or the shops have closed a chance to save some cash.

Then there are ones who get up early in preparation for the boxing day money saving dash

However, you see Christmas day, regardless of previous rituals that have been encouraged over your lifetime, remember Christmas can be about anything you want it to be

CHECK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU WRECK YOURSELF

You decide if your previous Christmas revolved around any of the above. You didn’t like them – this is your chance to make Christmas about whatever YOU want it to be – I’m not suggesting you take the fun out of Christmas, but it’s also not an excuse to say ‘fuck it’ this time only comes around once a year and give yourself a day off. It’s another day, how you interpret it will dictate and shape whether or not this year will be a negative or a positive experience.

There is no right or wrong, but you do get to decide.

Happy Fucking Christmas

Love Fordy

Remember, try not to be afraid of who you truly are, be proud of your recovery and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more posts, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up for emails. Oh and If you liked the post please share it with others – and if you don’t then do nothing that’s ok too