I never thought that alcohol would become a problem for me. Back in my own country, I was an average middle class person who drank alcohol occasionally. It seemed to me that everyone was doing it and I didn’t see anything wrong with it.
I moved to the UK 8 years ago and started working at a factory. My shift pattern allowed me to have quite a few days off, and I enjoyed spending time at home or in my newly acquired allotment. However, more and more often, I was spending quite a bit of my free time drinking brandy. Over time, brandy seemed to be taking up more and more of my time, and allotment trips were becoming less and less frequent. Sometimes I was having to extend my annual leave, and I started having more sick days off work. More and more often I was experiencing mental and physical exhaustion as well as other withdrawal symptoms. This was mostly resulting in me calling in sick until I received a warning from my employer. This was the first time that it hit me – this brandy wasn’t a joke. It was posing a real threat to my life as I knew it. And I didn’t want to lose what I had. I liked my family, I liked my job, I liked my life. But I didn’t know what to do. I just wasn’t able to stop drinking.
Luckily, a friend of a friend gave me a telephone number for Boston Recovery Pathways staff. This person was supported by BRP in the past and seemed to have got her life back together. Knowing that BRP staff could speak my language made it easier to take the first step. I rang them. There was a compassionate voice at the other end of the phone, and I felt listened to and heard.
What happened next? Well, I managed to stop drinking. I was connected with local mutual aid fellowship, and I attended mutual aid meetings in other languages. Meeting others in recovery made me feel that I wasn’t alone with my problem, and that there was always support there when I needed it.
BRP staff provided me with literature about addiction and recovery. This was amazing, because I love books and I love reading. Some of the books were translated to my language, and I was able to read them and use the information provided.
I sorted things out with my work at the factory – I was always good at my job, but looking back, I feel it wasn’t right to keep missing shifts constantly because of drinking. Now that I am sober and alcohol free I always show up for work. I have become a reliable and valued employee.
I was encouraged and supported by BRP staff to access English language course. I attended 2 hour long ESOL sessions every week. I enjoyed the lessons, especially that other people in recovery attend these lessons. Improving my English has always been something that I wanted to do, but I never seemed to be able to actually sign up for a course. When I was using alcohol, it was hard to pursue my goals, I couldn’t look clearly at what I wanted and how I was going to get there.
I am amazed how quickly things started to change when I stopped drinking. With support from BRP, I was able to look at what I wanted and I was able to make a plan of how to achieve it.
My recovery is going from strength to strength.