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Carina’s story of alcohol and cocaine addiction

This is my story.

From the depths of alcohol and cocaine addiction to now working at Gladstones Clinic – the treatment centre that saved my life.

I’ll start from the beginning. Thursday 25th April 2019. I had woken up to my 6-year-old daughter sobbing at my bedside, it was 11am. She was dressed, ready for school and begging me to wake up. Who knows what thoughts were running through her mind….? was mummy dead? For me, it was just another hangover, a weeklong bender and I needed to sleep. Seeing my daughters face that morning was horrendous. How could I get out of this vicious cycle of using? My plan the night before (as with every night) was to have a couple of lines and a few glasses of wine. Why couldn’t I stop? How was everyone else able to control it? Why did I have to drink to oblivion, ring the dealer at 4am begging for more? It was then that I made the decision to seek help.

First, I didn’t know what to do. I researched ‘rehab’ and costs…. then spoke to someone on a live chat who got the admissions team at Gladstones to give me a call. I received a call that evening from a lady who understood me. No one has understood me before! Not like that anyway. She got it, knew why I couldn’t stop at 1, why I took it to excess. With that I was admitted to Gladstones Clinic Cotswolds on Tuesday 30th April 2019. My journey to recovery was beginning.

I will be honest, I genuinely thought I could get into rehab and someone would teach me the way to drink and use like a ‘lady’. Was I ready to give up? To live an abstinent life forever? Hell no! I was only 31! Little did I know, at that time I was ill. Seriously ill. If I didn’t work hard and see the addict I was, I would die.

Treatment is not a quick fix. There is no cure for addiction. When I was in Gladstones I was taught that my attitude needed to shift. My behaviors were challenged, feelings came to the surface, and I was taught how to move forward. I spent 9 weeks in Gladstones, finishing my treatment on the 4th of July 2019. I freaked; how could I leave the safe bubble I had grown to love over this time? I’d been given the tools of recovery, I now needed to use them!

My focus for the first 6 months was to get in the middle of the recovery community. I chose to follow the fellowship route. Daily meetings were my bread and butter. If I was to stay clean and sober, I had to put my recovery first. I found a sponsor, I worked the steps, I did service, and I shared my story with the addict who still suffers and continue to do this today.

During this time I stayed in touch with Gladstones taking full advantage of the free aftercare on Saturdays and volunteered for a time staying connected to the team who had meant so much to me.

Don’t get me wrong. Recovery is not easy in any which way shape or form. I have been clean and sober for 2 and a half years. In that time, I have grieved the loss of 2 family members, my auntie in May 2020 and more recently my grandmother in October 2021. Old Carina would have NEEDED a fix. Cocaine and alcohol used to, I thought, cure all my problems. At no point did I think that this time round it would be a good idea. I was able to be there for my family, my daughter, and most importantly for myself.

In turn, recovery has given me a life beyond my wildest dreams. My daughter is happy, flourishing in all areas of her life. She knows mummy is an addict, she knows mummy was poorly, she knows mummy is now better, and the best mummy she can be.

December 2020, I had another life changing phone call with Gladstones Clinic. I was invited to apply for a job. Me? The hopeless scatty addict who walked through those doors was now responsible enough and thought of enough to apply for a job? Miracles do happen!

Today I am Mum, today I am employed, today I work with those who are as lost as I once was. Most importantly I am Carina, I am the best version of myself that I could have ever imagined. Gladstones literally saved my life, and for that, I am forever grateful.

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