Our relationship with alcohol is not just about us, alcohol can impact every part of your life and those around you. Here is a real life example about alcohol affecting one man’s life and his journey…
“I was somewhat a shell and walking on eggshells in fear of others finding out and our family being affected, e.g. our disabled son could have been removed from us if we stayed together and the wife remained drinking. Our two daughters could have lost their relationship with their mum let alone her parents”.
Making that first step to change takes a lot of courage.
“I was made aware of Carer Support West Sussex via the Victim Support service and through initial contact CGL (Change, Grow, Live). I started attending the Chichester Group for a number of months. In coming to the group I learned how to focus more on me for me and was not so scared about my wife possibly relapsing (which has never happened).”
Carers Support offers confidential and free support groups for people affected by someone else’s drinking and drug misuse.
“Just the support of people at Carer’s Support, let alone all the carers that attend giving examples, factual stories and experiences all gave me strength. It also gave me confidence moving forward in my own recovery from victim to active support worker”.
John wanted to give something back so he began to volunteer for Carer Support.
“I started to want to volunteer fairly soon into my support as I am all about spreading positivity and awareness for others. Just to be in the role of co- facilitating has allowed me to grow and learn and start my journey in helping others in their situations. As a volunteer I have had good support and training to do this.
I have learned that you listen and listen hard as sometimes you don’t hear things the first time. You pay complete attention to others as you need to read between the lines. Sometimes people are papering over the cracks to hide the shame or embarrassment”.
Through the groups, listening to other people in similar situations, and volunteering with us, John found something for himself. This has given him new experiences and a deeper understanding of the different situations for families and friends affected by another’s drinking. It has been part of his own recovery.
“My volunteering keeps me focused on me and allows me to be more empathetic rather than just sitting and cry as I used to. When I think about how far we’ve come it still is at times, an emotional journey. I have learnt that each carer’s journey is unique and personal to them.
Public speaking is hard but evokes emotion, I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve. I think others tend to see that vulnerability and identify with it as a real person talking and not text book spiel”.
Being part of Carers Support has been important to John, his desire to reach out to others in similar situations has been a real inspiration. That first step towards change by making contact with us, means he and his family can now look to a positive future.
“Moving forward I want to stay in touch with myself while supporting carers helping them to grow and build self-worth”.