16 November 2020
Like many people across the country, Paul enjoyed a drink after work. It had become a part of his daily routine and felt completely normal.
‘’I never woke up craving a drink, nor would I drink during the day. As soon as I’d get home from work however, I’d begin preparing the evening meal and open a bottle of wine – the first bottle would be finished by 6.30, and two more bottles would have been finished by the time I went up to bed at 11.’’
Paul’s drinking never affected his life. He never missed a shift at work and had a great relationship with his family. The wine was beginning to seriously impact on his health. When he visited his GP, he found that he was pre-diabetic and overweight. Both of his conditions related to -the quantity of wine he was consuming. It was at this point Paul knew he needed to change.
‘’I thought I was in control of my drinking, yet when I tried to cut back I realised I couldn’t – I knew I needed help.’’
Paul was referred by his GP to My Recovery, Change Grow Live’s drug and alcohol service in Tameside. He had second thoughts early on.
‘’I knew there were people in far worse states of alcoholism than me, maybe I should just try and deal with it myself rather than waste the resources of Change Grow Live.’’
Despite his worries, Paul liked the friendly, tailored approach provided by Change Grow Live.
‘I was greeted with warmth and friendliness from the moment I stepped in the building, and the recovery worker I met with explained that everybody’s journey was unique to them and of no less of a problem than anybody else’s.’’
Paul’s original goal wasn’t to completely stop drinking. It was to get to a place where he could drink a little at the weekend, as he couldn’t imagine a life without alcohol.
‘’Change Grow Live fully supported me with this goal – they’re not anti-alcohol and understand that everyone has different goals and objectives.’’ After consultation with the recovery staff, Paul decided on a period of abstinence, which would start with a medically supervised detox. ‘‘The staff at Tameside provided me with all the information and options, but the decision came from me – and often that’s the most powerful reason to do something.’’
Paul found it challenging when coronavirus swept the UK in March. He had only managed to attend two in-person sessions before they stopped. Our service reacted quickly to support Paul with regular phone calls.
‘’The team at Tameside stepped up to the challenge with great enthusiasm and professionalism. My support workers went to a lot of effort to guide me through the process and emailed me lots of resources that I could download and study – they really excelled at providing me support.’’
Supported with calls from his nurse, Paul’s detox was a success! He is now an incredible five months alcohol-free and is enjoying the health benefits.
‘’Since stopping drinking I revisited my GP to find that I’m no longer at threat from diabetes, my cholesterol has reduced, liver function improved, and I’ve lost almost 2.5 stone! I feel sharp and energetic again and know that there is life after alcohol.’’
Paul set up a website to chart his progress and to support others on their alcohol-free journey.
‘’I decided to make myself accountable and document the journey so that I could look back and see where I went wrong or what I did that worked. Thoughts, feelings, emotions, experiences, the whole lot. Then I thought why not put it online and let the world see it. That way I would be truly accountable, and it might help somebody else who was considering a similar journey.’’
‘’My whole experience from the initial meeting to this day has been nothing but positive and professional, but also incredibly caring and supportive. I never felt like I was left to go it alone; they always took the time to check in with me, listen and support.’’ He also gave some words of advice to anyone in a similar situation - ‘’I would whole-heartedly say to anybody who is considering seeking support for alcohol reduction to put all their preconceived ideas away about it being shameful or embarrassing to seek help, or that it’s only for ‘alcoholics’ or those at rock bottom. All I can say is just reach out. There is no stigma, no judgement and no right or wrong goal. Your goal is your goal and Change Grow Live will support you every step of the way.’’