Brenten – Sober since March 22

Following on from my 28 superb days in Bank House, I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to move on to secondary care at Elizabeth House and strengthen my recovery. That decision has been fundamental in me achieving long term sobriety this time around.

I am privileged enough to have had to have attended other rehabilitation centres previously (not at Steps Together) and the reason I say “privileged” is that I am fully aware that there are many people that do not have these opportunities.

I remember speaking to my family about two weeks into my stay at Bank House still being fearful of the prospect of extending my stay in rehab. When you start to feel better in primary care, you start to think that it will be enough and that I’ve got it this time around. Unfortunately, my journey has been full of relapses and failed attempts. Now I am able to reflect on that at this point in my recovery and having spent an extra two months in secondary care, it was the best decision I have made in my life and that’s no understatement in any way!

Whilst the thought of extending your stay seems like a long time, it really is a drop in the ocean in terms of your entire lifetime. You have got to ask yourself, how important is getting your life back and what length will you go to get well again?

As a whole, both my time at Bank House and Secondary Care at Elizabeth House have been so impressive, not just with Steps Together but as an organisation. As I have mentioned, I have been to other rehabilitation centres in the past and for me and my experience Steps Together have shone out above the rest. You can really tell that the organisation and all the teams are working toward the same goal, which is to give the very best to both clinical and therapeutic care to each and every individual that walks through their doors.

When I came to Elizabeth House I felt on top of the world, after completed a 28 day programme at Bank House my thinking had cleared during those days, I was able to embrace doing everything possible to stay sober this time and secondary care supported exactly that.

I thought secondary care would simply be an extension of primary care. How wrong I was, whilst I did feel really good I had no idea of the huge benefits to come over the next 56 days of achieving long term, continued sobriety.

For me the main benefit of secondary care is the time it gives you, and with time comes many benefits of strengthening your recovery practices and tools.

● The time to deepen your therapy work
● To deepen your understanding of yourself and learn to sit with yourself
● The time to integrate with all of the Fellowships by attending face to face meetings 3-4 four times a week and meeting people outside of rehab that will help you in your recovery when you leave
● It gives you the ability to plan your future. I even launched an Airbnb business to stop myself going bankrupt!
● Elizabeth House gave me the opportunity to test myself every day by being able to go out by myself in my spare time and integrate back into what life is like outside of rehab
● Time to expand your 12 step recovery work
● Time to strengthen your recovery tool kit and practices like meditation, morning routine, be open and honest with others and yourself
● The opportunity to fully formulate my discharge plan, this is of key importance to achieving long term sobriety
● Enough time to yourself to start to sort out personal life issues whether that’s family, financial, work or anything else. For me, this stopped me experiencing a shock to the system when leaving primary rehabs previously and led to relapses

I would urge anyone that has the opportunity to attend Secondary Care at Elizabeth House to just have the willingness to have a look around as I did before making my final decision. I should also make a point that Second Phase Rehab is available to anyone who wants to build on their existing recovery achievements, you don’t always have to go through Primary Care with Steps Together you can access this service if you have been through another rehab provider.

Such is my gratitude to the team that I now volunteer at Steps Together, the family feel is so strong I am now blessed enough to call many of the team my friends and keep in contact with them to this day.

My continued recovery now mainly lies with the Fellowship and I cannot stress the importance of that as well but the Step Together Aftercare Services, which are always available and I know I can pick up the phone to Elizabeth House whenever I need, day or night.

I would like to end by saying that there is a solution and we can recover one day at a time and for me Secondary Care gave me the best chance in achieving sustained, long term recovery this time round.

All my love, Brenten