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Now ye're talking - to someone who has been through rehab

  • #2
    Administrators, Boards.ie Employee Posts: 10,721 ✭✭✭✭✭ Boards.ie: Niamh
    Boards.ie Community Manager


    Our next guest has spent time in several Irish rehab centres, namely Cuan Mhuire, St Patrick's Hospital (a private psychiatrist hospital), Stanhope, Coolmine Therapeutic Community, and Renewal.

    She is happy to do an AMA based on her experiences in all of those places. She also has experience of AA, NA, CA and Lifering which she'd be happy to talk about while respecting the traditions of anonymity of those organisations.

    **Our guest won't be online until much later this evening to answer questions so please be patient. Thanks. **


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Comments

  • #2


    Just to get the ball rolling, I have no question but want to say congratulations for sticking with it.

    I was very fortunate in that I seemed to find it (relatively) easy to get sober after doing a stint in treatment quite a few years ago. I had been so unhappy for the previous number of years that I think once I saw a chink of light at all I grabbed at it with both hands and was prepared to do anything I was told would help me get to a better place.

    Having said that, I think it takes great courage and strength to keep going back for treatment after a relapse and I'm not sure I would have the mental strength to go again so well done you and I wish you nothing but the best for a long and happy future.


  • #2


    What substances where you abusing ?
    When did you reach the bottom ?

    Fair play and well done for floating back to the top :D


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    I was treated for alcoholism in St John of Gods last year and after approx 10 months sober am drinking again. I have experience of AA and Liferings also.

    I like the AA slogan "we seek progress, not perfection". That's all I'll say for the moment.


  • #2


    Was there any substance or alcoholic drink that you went after?

    What substitutes would you try?


  • #2


    Just to get the ball rolling, I have no question but want to say congratulations for sticking with it.

    I was very fortunate in that I seemed to find it (relatively) easy to get sober after doing a stint in treatment quite a few years ago. I had been so unhappy for the previous number of years that I think once I saw a chink of light at all I grabbed at it with both hands and was prepared to do anything I was told would help me get to a better place.

    Having said that, I think it takes great courage and strength to keep going back for treatment after a relapse and I'm not sure I would have the mental strength to go again so well done you and I wish you nothing but the best for a long and happy future.

    Thanks! :)

    I've wished at times that I was one of the fortunate ones who managed to "get" it first time in treatment, I would have saved myself a lot of heartache. I mean, first time I went into treatment I still had my family, my home, my career, I lost all of those things along the way.

    I can't even count the number of detoxes I've done. It's very disheartening starting back at square one time and time again, and really I don't know where I got the strength and resilience from to keep on pushing, to start again so many times. You really learn the meaning of humility.

    Fair play to you for getting your sobriety and holding on to it, and I wish you all the best in life.


  • #2


    What was your path to addiction?


  • #2


    What substances where you abusing ?
    When did you reach the bottom ?

    Fair play and well done for floating back to the top :D

    Alcohol. Only ever alcohol, which I'm still amazed by. I've been around drugs lots of times, but have never even experimented with any, which is just as well, because I'm certain if I tried I'd have been hooked immediately! Most of my friends in recovery had been cross-addicted to drugs and alcohol.

    About reaching the bottom, a saying I like is "Your own rock bottom is when you choose to stop digging." I've hit countless rock bottoms. To name a few, my partner leaving me and taking our baby with him. Drinking wine in the toilets on the train into work in the mornings (this would have been way back when I was still "functional".) Waking up in homeless hostels, in hospitals, on the streets, in all kinds of dangerous situations. Numerous suicide attempts. Relapsing in treatment centres and hospitals by sneaking the drink in, in hindsight that was insane behaviour. Begging borrowing and stealing to get alcohol or money for alcohol.

    I know the above doesn't reflect particularly well on me, but addiction turns you into a complete monster. That's the hard part - you wake up in a detox bed, and have to begin to come to terms with the awful things you've done and all the people you've hurt. For me, the guilt and shame was often what brought me back using again ... a vicious cycle.


  • #2


    tdf7187 wrote: »
    I was treated for alcoholism in St John of Gods last year and after approx 10 months sober am drinking again. I have experience of AA and Liferings also.

    I like the AA slogan "we seek progress, not perfection". That's all I'll say for the moment.

    Best of luck with your journey. St John of Gods is one place I've never been to, I've had numerous admissions to St Pats though and I imagine it's quite similar.


  • #2


    xieann wrote: »
    Was there any substance or alcoholic drink that you went after?

    What substitutes would you try?

    I usually drank white wine and/or vodka, but I wasn't fussy, I'd have drank anything alcoholic really.

    I've experienced benzos (prescribed) but to be honest, alcohol did for me exactly what I needed it to do, it switched me off completely, so I never really felt I needed to look elsewhere or try any other substances.


  • #2


    Well done for continuing to battle through some major losses..

    Is there a rehab facility you rate above others?. If so may i ask why?


  • #2


    Season 2 wrote: »
    What was your path to addiction?

    I'm not from a family of addicts or anything like that - I came from a good family, load of siblings and parents who did their best for us, and I have a good education. I would have been sexually abused pretty badly by a male relative between the ages of 3 and 12, and while I don't blame my addiction on that abuse, I guess it forced me to adopt some unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as self-harm (which I started at about 8 years old.)

    In my late teens I started drinking socially with friends, so unlike many other addicts I wasn't particularly young starting off. I liked getting black-out drunk on nights out as often as possible, but it wasn't really problematic for several years.

    In my late 20s I got pregnant, I was in a relatively stable relationship at the time. I stopped drinking for the duration of the pregnancy, but I resumed drinking after my son was born. At the time I hadn't recognised my drinking as being particularly problematic, I guess I was in denial. Unfortunately I had post-natal mental health issues on the severe end of the scale, compounded by the residual effects of the sexual abuse in my childhood, and with heavy drinking in the mix ... things got very bad, until when my son was 1.5 years old, I was first admitted to a psychiatric hospital and detoxed for the first time.

    A few weeks into treatment I relapsed, and that's around when my relationship ended and my partner left with my son. That was the beginning of what sometimes felt like a neverending roundabout of treatment centres and relapses and detoxes ... in total I guess I was in and out of residential treatment for about 3 years.


  • #2


    No real question, just wanted to say you sound incredibly brave and I hope you have contact/a relationship with your son now.


  • #2


    Well done for continuing to battle through some major losses..

    Is there a rehab facility you rate above others?. If so may i ask why?

    Coolmine, by a long shot. It's where I finally got some meaningful recovery.

    Some of the things Coolmine offers that other places don't:
    - Unlike many treatment centres, it's completely non-religious
    - They are very family-centred - they are the only treatment centre in Ireland that allows mothers to bring their babies in with them, and they have a fantastic parenting program called Parenting Under Pressure for mums and dads in treatment. It really helped me to come to terms with all of my guilt about being a mother in addiction, and helped me to gain some confidence as a mother.
    - It's based on community reinforcement, so the clients are essentially taking responsibility for helping each other in their recovery, rather than the staff doing the work for them.
    - You learn fantastic life skills there
    - They take a very holistic approach and look at every aspect of your life - things like housing, education, health, etc - the idea being that you build yourself a life that makes it worth staying clean and sober for. No point in getting sobriety and going back into the same environment that caused/worsened your addiction
    - Their staff are excellent and really well-trained
    - Their follow-up care (Aftercare etc) is really excellent, once you complete Coolmine you're part of the community for life.

    I'm not going to bash any other treatment centres, but if anyone were to ask me for a recommendation, Coolmine is the one I'd recommend over all of the others. I'd have a complex dual diagnosis of alcoholism and mental health issues, and unlike other programs Coolmine worked really well for me for both the addiction and the mental health side of things.

    I'm also still an out-patient with St Pats Psychiatric Hospital, I've done quite a few programs there and would speak very highly of them too. However a 28-day program was unfortunately just never going to cut it for someone with an addiction as deep-set as mine!


  • #2


    JeffKenna wrote: »
    No real question, just wanted to say you sound incredibly brave and I hope you have contact/a relationship with your son now.

    +me


  • #2


    JeffKenna wrote: »
    No real question, just wanted to say you sound incredibly brave and I hope you have contact/a relationship with your son now.

    Thank you. My son and I have a fantastic, very loving and close relationship now. He still lives with his dad, but spends every second weekend with me, and I also collect him from school a couple of days a week. It's about as close to a 50/50 split as you can get really, his dad and I are on good terms and there's no animosity there any more. Thankfully my son has no knowledge or memories of me drinking, I will have no problem being honest with him about it as he gets older, but for now I'm glad that he was too young to have memories of that time.


  • #2


    No questions, I just wanted to say well done and the upmost respect to all of you who have come through addiction. You're all amazing. Continued good health to you


  • #2


    I'm not from a family of addicts or anything like that - I came from a good family, load of siblings and parents who did their best for us, and I have a good education. I would have been sexually abused pretty badly by a male relative between the ages of 3 and 12, and while I don't blame my addiction on that abuse, I guess it forced me to adopt some unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as self-harm (which I started at about 8 years old.)

    In my late teens I started drinking socially with friends, so unlike many other addicts I wasn't particularly young starting off. I liked getting black-out drunk on nights out as often as possible, but it wasn't really problematic for several years.

    In my late 20s I got pregnant, I was in a relatively stable relationship at the time. I stopped drinking for the duration of the pregnancy, but I resumed drinking after my son was born. At the time I hadn't recognised my drinking as being particularly problematic, I guess I was in denial. Unfortunately I had post-natal mental health issues on the severe end of the scale, compounded by the residual effects of the sexual abuse in my childhood, and with heavy drinking in the mix ... things got very bad, until when my son was 1.5 years old, I was first admitted to a psychiatric hospital and detoxed for the first time.

    A few weeks into treatment I relapsed, and that's around when my relationship ended and my partner left with my son. That was the beginning of what sometimes felt like a neverending roundabout of treatment centres and relapses and detoxes ... in total I guess I was in and out of residential treatment for about 3 years.

    Well done for finally getting off it. It can be a terrible substance.

    Are you sober long now.


  • #2


    tdf7187 wrote: »
    I was treated for alcoholism in St John of Gods last year and after approx 10 months sober am drinking again. I have experience of AA and Liferings also.

    I like the AA slogan "we seek progress, not perfection". That's all I'll say for the moment.

    I did a couple of months there a few years ago..
    Fell off the wagon after a few months the first time..got another few months a couple of years later..
    I'm three years clean/sober at this stage..
    I think having the seed planted that you can give it up is a good thing..

    Mind yourself..


  • #2


    Former addict also here. I was a polydrug addict. Mainly amphetamines, benzos and dissociates. I really wish the general public could empathise more with addiction.

    I can relate to a lot of what you're saying and am going to enjoy reading this thread.


    Enough about me though, my questions:



    At what stage did you realise you were an addict?



    Was there any particular trigger or event that made you put the foot down and say, I want off this wild ride?


  • #2


    Did you ever suffer any negative physical health consequences due to drinking?Were you ever told it was damaging your health?

    I myself was a big binge drinker for about 10 years until i was hospitalized after a session. I was told my liver enzymes were far too high and this was down to my years of binge drinking.

    Luckily enough I was able to stop in time before I did any permanent damage, although it took ages for my liver function to come back within normal range.


  • #2


    Season 2 wrote: »
    Well done for finally getting off it. It can be a terrible substance.

    Are you sober long now.

    Thank you, I'm sober almost two years now.


  • #2


    Former addict also here. I was a polydrug addict. Mainly amphetamines, benzos and dissociates. I really wish the general public could empathise more with addiction.

    I can relate to a lot of what you're saying and am going to enjoy reading this thread.


    Enough about me though, my questions:



    At what stage did you realise you were an addict?



    Was there any particular trigger or event that made you put the foot down and say, I want off this wild ride?

    Well I remember in my very first admission to St Pats in summer of 2015, I turned up for admission plastered drunk, and was disgusted that they wanted to put me in the Addictions ward and detox me. :rolleyes: I was insisting that all that was wrong with me was my mental health issues, that I was only drinking to cope with my depression, and that if they sorted out my depression and anxiety I wouldn't need to drink any more.

    Obviously, it doesn't work like that! Questioning what came first, the mental health issues or the addiction is a bit of a chicken/egg conundrum, but the mental health professionals will generally tackle the addiction first and see how the person is when they're clean and sober, before treating any mental health conditions.

    Anyways that time, once they detoxed me, they wanted me to do a four-week addiction program before we started to look at my mental health. At the time I still had a job and a family to go back to, and was not at all happy at being asked to take four weeks out of my life to do a program that I thought didn't apply to me because I didn't believe I was really an alcoholic. But I did the program ... however I relapsed immediately afterwards, and kept relapsing.

    As to when I actually acknowledged I was dependent on alcohol, and really believed it deep down, I guess maybe a year after it was first suggested to me in that hospital. I could complete treatment programs, I've completed several in fact, but I found it impossible to stay sober for any length of time on the outside.

    I've heard that, for some people, the treatment centres almost become part of your addiction; I do believe that was the case for me. I was definitely somewhat institutionalised at some stages ... honestly life is easier when you're removed from reality, it's not a real meaningful existence though.

    By the way, in my case, when you take alcohol out of the equation my mental health issues remain - in fact I've had two psychiatric admissions since getting sober. But now when I meet people in addiction with a dual diagnosis, I'm able to empathise with them about their mental health but I also share with them my opinion that the doctors are dead right to address the substance abuse issues first. If only I'd fully trusted the doctors on my first admission, maybe my path to recovery wouldn't have been so long ... imagine there was a time I didn't want to take 28 days out of my life; it wasn't long after that until I no longer had a family or a job to go back to, and it ended up being years that I spent in treatment rather than weeks!

    On the other hand, I was once told by an AA old-timer that the best thing he could wish for me was a long and difficult path to recovery. It makes you value your recovery more, and makes you stronger in your recovery when you finally get it. I have to say I agree with his sentiment, although I was quite unimpressed when he said it to me!

    By the way, in answer to the second part of your question, I can't name any one event that triggered my recovery. If anything, things like losing custody of my son that should perhaps have motivated my recovery just made me hate myself more and drove me further into oblivion. What finally worked for me was the program I did in Coolmine, and the fantastic staff there. I did all of the deep work there that I really needed to do if I was ever to leave my addiction behind, rather than just skimming the surface of my emotions like I used to get away with in other treatment programs.


  • #2


    Did you ever suffer any negative physical health consequences due to drinking?Were you ever told it was damaging your health?

    I myself was a big binge drinker for about 10 years until i was hospitalized after a session. I was told my liver enzymes were far too high and this was down to my years of binge drinking.

    Luckily enough I was able to stop in time before I did any permanent damage, although it took ages for my liver function to come back within normal range.

    Amazingly I've never had any real physical consequences. I'm a 34 year old woman; women are meant to suffer more physically but I guess perhaps my age has been on my side. Every time I've been admitted to hospital they check all my bloods and I've prepared for the worst, however my liver and everything else has always been absolutely fine.

    I've said to my psychiatrist that I clearly have a liver of steel and that I don't deserve it, that they should take it out of me and transplant it into the body of someone in need. :o

    Now that I'm out the other side, I'm so grateful for my physical health. Between the drinking and the suicide attempts I should probably be dead several times over; instead here I am physically and mentally healthy and with my whole life ahead of me. I don't know how I got so lucky, but I am determined to stay on the path I'm on ... my last relapses got so chaotic and destructive so quickly; I'm not being melodramatic when I say that if I were to have another drink ever again, it could well end up with me dying.


  • #2


    Do you notice a difference in the quality of your dreams/ sleep.?


  • #2


    Yester wrote: »
    Do you notice a difference in the quality of your dreams/ sleep.?

    Good question - I've often seen people really struggle with their sleep on admission to treatment centres.

    When I was drinking, I'm not sure I ever really slept - moreso just passed out. I mean, I wasn't the type to binge for a few days and then sober up - when I was drinking, I was drinking every waking moment. So my days would revolve around buying alcohol, drinking it, passing out every now and then, then waking up to drink some more. Whether it was 10pm or 8am or 3am - time just didn't matter. So I probably didn't dream much, because I was getting very little real sleep.

    I've often found I'd get very vivid dreams as my sleeping pattern settled back into normality. The drug they give you to detox, Librium, is a benzo ... it usually makes you sleep a lot, and sometimes it's hard to tell what's a dream and what's reality. So those few days while detoxing, my dreams would always have been weird.

    Thankfully I've never really suffered much with insomnia, I usually sleep very well these days. I get at least 8 hours sleep every night. I do still have odd dreams, but I think that's mostly due to a particular medication I'm on (Seroquel.) It keeps me mentally well, so I don't really mind about the odd dreams I get with it!


  • #2


    Are most of those in rehab genuinely there, or do you come across some who are there just to go through the motions, or to keep someone else happy?


  • #2


    skallywag wrote: »
    Are most of those in rehab genuinely there, or do you come across some who are there just to go through the motions, or to keep someone else happy?

    Hmmm in my own experience, the likes of the private institutions with short-term programs (like four weeks or so), the profile of the clients tends to be older people (50s-60s), financially secure, who don't really believe they have a serious problem but are in their either to give their bodies a break, or to please their spouse or grown-up children. (The whole empty-nest syndrome is a big thing, I've seen it happen a lot that alcoholics who've been drinking but functional the whole time often fall apart when their children leave home, which also often roughly coincides with their own retirement.)

    Then you have the likes of Coolmine - a much longer-term program which is affordable for anyone. Many of Coolmine's clients are there for drug abuse, and a lot of the clients had been engaged in criminal activity to fund their drug use. Therefore some clients would have gone there in order to avoid prison, or others would have come straight from prison on TR. Also, particularly in the women's residential facility, parents seek treatment in order to retain or to get back custody/access to their children.

    There is a very interesting study available on the Coolmine website about a study researched by Trinity, it's called Pathways Through Treatment, as far as I remember one of the conclusions reached was that regardless of the path into treatment - whether the client was self-motivated or only there to avoid prison or to please someone else - the two-year sobriety rates on successful completion of the program were still very high. (I think 72%, which is significantly higher than most other recovery programs.)

    The point being that even if you go into treatment motivated for what might not be considered "genuine" reasons, through successful interventions your attitude and priorities might very well change. I've sat in enough groups with well-hardened career criminals who have very genuinely turned their lives around; who have become decent people with good hearts. There are huge benefits to society when people become clean and sober; not just to the individual and their own family.


  • #2


    .....
    . What finally worked for me was the program I did in Coolmine, and the fantastic staff there. I did all of the deep work there that I really needed to do if I was ever to leave my addiction behind, rather than just skimming the surface of my emotions like I used to get away with in other treatment programs.

    I love this 😍
    A dear friend reckoned coolmine was the best thing that ever happened to him.


  • #2


    Does a stay in Coolmines etc involve the use of alcohol anti craving medication such as librium,.or is it a totally clean detox to recovery!?


  • #2


    You mention earlier that your career was one of the many things that you lost. Can I ask what career were you pursuing before you entered rehab. Has your experience in becoming sober influenced you in choosing a different career since becoming sober or have/will you you returned to the same industry?

    Very well done to you on becoming sober and the best of luck in the future!


This discussion has been closed.