Sober after a twenty-year addiction

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“I would encourage others to reach out to Turning Point. It’s about being honest with yourself and recognising you have a problem…”

Steve talks about the impact of twenty-years of drinking, being honest about his problem and the support that he had to finally quit.    

Thirty-five-year-old Steve has drunk since he was fifteen years old, always very socially (associated it with celebrating sporting events). From about the age of eighteen he noticed he was drinking more than others, this developed into a dependency on alcohol.

He recognised he had a problem about 2 years ago. He had been in contact with Somerset Drugs and Alcohol Service (SDAS) a few times, the last time was when he understood the severity of how bad his problem was.

It was having an impact on other areas of his life -like his ability to get a job, he couldn’t trust himself to get through a day’s work without needing a drink. Over the previous two to three years, he did have periods of being sober but had never been able to totally conquer it.

His dependency on alcohol, and his inability to stop drinking, led to a second drink driving conviction. At this point he admitted via social media that he had a problem, he had finally accepted that alcohol was an issue, this gave him additional support – Steve has always liked to play cricket and football, by now friends knew that he shouldn’t drink after a game or match, taking away an extra layer of his internal conflict.

Everyone has been really supportive in helping him, it is very heartening to get the support and encouragement – enabling him to get on top of his addiction. If his friends saw him with a drink now they would challenge him. Lots of little things add up to curing big things.

He was referred to Turning Point, the service provider for SDAS, initially through his GP, they had supported some of his other friends, so he already knew of them. He has an initial chat and consultation so they could find out what changes he wanted to make. From there he was assigned a key worker, who was his point of contact, and then was able to take part in group sessions over six weeks.

Turning Point have been very supportive and helpful, when others understand the situation, they can give you advice. It is only the person who is struggling with alcohol that can make the change but having the support network there is key to being successful.

Since stopping Steve has seen improvements in his mental health, anxiety levels and thoughts and feelings. The ability to enjoy other aspects of life can be more clouded because of the alcohol.

Grateful to the support of Turning Point and family and friends, Steve commented:

“I would encourage others to reach out to Turning point (service provider for Somerset Drugs and Alcohol Service). It’s about being honest with yourself and recognising you have a problem. I often got given advice but would be thinking ‘oh I don’t really need this’ – having honesty with yourself is the only way to move forward.”

Delivered by the charity Turning Point, SDAS provides free and confidential support for people wanting to make changes to their relationship with alcohol. For support speak to your GP, call SDAS 0300 303 8788 or visit www.turning-point.co.uk/SDAS.

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