KRYSTOF'S ALCOHOL ADDICTION STORY

My journey in life came to a turbulent and abrupt stagnation, self-pity and minimal self-worth and care. I was hurting myself and those who loved me in a very raw, obvious, and cruel way. My addiction to alcohol controlled every aspect of my life toward the end of my drinking career. What people don’t always talk about is that being an addict is downright exhausting. The lies, physical pain, mental angst, guilt, remorse, shame. The effort we go to just simply survive and be able to stomach food. We are not well people when we drink or take drugs and we also know deep down that it can no longer continue. Something must be done and there is a solution. I used alcohol to delay the onset of how I really felt about myself, it helped to lift my mood just enough to be able to communicate and get to the end of the day always telling myself “I’ll do better tomorrow”. Tomorrow would come and, you guessed it, the same conversation would replay in my head in a vicious loop of distorted hope and direction in life.

My family helped me in the transition from my bedroom which on reflection was my isolation pit of despair, to a place of sanctuary called The New Leaf Recovery Project. My new life as a man in his early thirties started in a comfortable, warm, and welcoming house in Acocks Green Birmingham. This house was full of people who were there to support each other. They lifted me back to my feet with a hug and a gentle nudge in the right direction. I honestly thought I was the only one who drank to this extent and felt the way I did. I was very wrong, and I was relieved to discover this in a very short space of time. I identified with everyone I met in New Leaf, and I started for the first time to open up and expose my inner self that was screaming out for help. I started speaking openly and honestly about my past and listening to advice was the start of a positive and bright future in recovery. Addicts like everyone deserve to be happy, content and live in peace and harmony with their family.

Immediately after leaving New Leaf, I started implementing what was suggested. Attending mutual aid meetings, practising self-care, and developing a more spiritual outlook on life. I took the option to return to New Leaf on their Aftercare programme. This was vitally important to the start of my recovery journey. Coming back to New Leaf after my treatment programme gave me more sense of purpose, direction, and additional support. This aided my recovery immensely and I started to share what I was receiving from remaining abstinent from alcohol, giving hope to residents who were at the very start of their treatment programme.

I was given the opportunity to start volunteering with New Leaf, taking residents to their external mutual aid meetings. Life progressed, family bonds became stronger, friends came closer, and I started my dream career in aviation as a graduate Airline Pilot.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, I made the decision to revisit a helping role and I was taken onboard by New Leaf as a Support Worker. This role in essence is now a very important aspect of my life. To help people in their time of need and offer guidance and support from my own experiences in recovery is a privilege. Addiction has an overwhelming stigma, and the way people view this disease is a slight disillusion. We get better, we do recover together with our family and loved ones. We live a beautiful life without substances or alcohol and there is nothing in life we can’t do if we keep a strong, well-oiled recovery programme. The amount of work you need to put in to get the wheels rolling should never be underestimated but this does not have to be a chore, you learn to embrace it and you most certainly start to do things when times get off balance. This process becomes second nature however at the start it can feel like a slog.

New Leaf is a treatment centre that focuses on Person-Centred Care. You start with what is best for your client's needs rather than following a rigid system designed for the general addict's treatment. This in my opinion is what treatment for addiction is all about. You tailor the approach to helping someone through what may be one of the most difficult times in their life.

Life is wonderful. Everyone deserves to love and support when they are in their time of need and we all will go through phases in life that require just that. The addict's brain works differently, we have known this for some time and understanding this and moving on with suggested techniques and reflection is essential. New Leaf kick-started this understanding and helped get me back to where I deserved to be in life. My family, friends and staff, peers and unconditional love and support from the fellowship has brought me into serenity and I hope you join me in your journey into blissful recovery. You got this! You deserve to be happy again and you will if you work for it.

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