Matt D – Former client at Bank House

My life was completely unmanageable before entering Steps Together. It was a train wreck. I had lost my job, thousands in debt, felt completely alone, almost destroyed my relationships with family members, I was suicidal and had no interest in living. I was broken and full of shame, guilt, despair, desperation, hopelessness and worthlessness. My physical health was suffering and I could not see any possibility of my life getting any better or easier. I was doing things I thought I’d never do, and was thinking of doing things that I never thought I’d do.

I was riddled with the disease of addiction and had turned into a person that would have been unrecognisable to younger me. I had tried to stop using on my own, or with psychiatry, medication, or by handing finances over to loved ones… but it had never worked. I came into Bank House thinking I was a lost cause, but I was willing to give anything a go as I had nothing more to lose.

My parents found Steps Together. When looking online, they phoned a few different service providers and found that Steps were the only provider who had genuine care, openness and seemed to put the client first. All of the others they spoke to were straight into talking about money and payment methods. Steps staff already cared about me before my parents had agreed to send me there, and this genuine compassion, empathy, understanding and care was what made them stand out from the rest.

There were a few obstacles that nearly stopped me coming into treatment. Getting there and money weren’t an issue as my parents would have done anything to try and “fix” me. All the obstacles I had were due to my own thinking. I find it incredibly difficult to ask for help, and I didn’t want to appear weak, or like I needed help. There was also still a lot of denial around whether I truly thought I was an addict. I also had the wrong idea of what rehab was really like. Having been a patient on NHS psychiatric wards previously; I thought that’s how rehab would be, and I detested the psych ward. My negative, pessimistic thinking also didn’t want my parents spending money on something that I thought probably wouldn’t help or work (how wrong I was!!!)

Having been to Bank House twice, the second time I knew I’d feel welcomed and what to expect. My first time, I thought it would be like a psychiatric ward and that nobody would get on, and there would be lots of fighting, arguing, noise, tension and a generally unfriendly hostile atmosphere. I was completely wrong! From the first moment when Jamie (support worker) welcomed me into Bank House, he made me feel welcomed and relaxed. I could already sense the care and compassion of the staff. When I met other staff members and the other residents, I remember feeling comfortable and relaxed immediately! The staff didn’t just make me feel welcomed, they made me feel at home.

I started to get an understanding of myself and the disease of addiction. I gained the chance to learn about who I am, and to explore traumas, feelings and emotions in a safe environment. The therapy was engaging and powerful. It was also a fantastic grounding and helped me to build strong foundations for my recovery once I had left rehab. The programme that steps run is thorough, well thought out and incorporates many different helpful techniques. It allowed me to gain hope, faith, courage and strength. Most importantly it made me start to believe that I could have a happy, clean, sober life.

Everything was beneficial. I particularly enjoyed group meditation before therapy, the empty chair and art therapy. I appreciated all of the therapeutic services and I think they are all helpful and useful.

I’m over 6 months clean/sober (and have only used on 2 days out of the last year!). I have a job I love, enjoy and am good at. I have a beautiful support network, and most of it in the NA fellowship. I have a sponsor; someone I can talk to about anything, without judgement and be given free life advice. My relationship with my family is the best it’s ever been. I got some pets! I have started reconnecting with some old friends. I’ve sorted out my debts and I’m paying them back. My mental and physical health is fantastic.

My life is completely manageable. I have so many tools and techniques to use for all of life’s challenges without needing drugs or alcohol. I’ve picked up old hobbies. I’m playing guitar, learning Italian and exercising. My life is now so full of amazing things, and I know that without Steps, none of this would have happened.

One word to describe Steps Together would be “Lifesaving” because without Steps, what I experienced and learned there, I would likely have gone back to using. There are only a few outcomes if that had happened – psychiatric wards, prison, homelessness, or death.

However impossibly difficult it may seem, the first step is acknowledging that you need help and asking for it. The sense of relief I got from just asking for help was phenomenal. It doesn’t make you weak, it doesn’t mean you can never be independent, and it doesn’t mean you’re losing any dignity or respect. The kindest thing you can do for yourself is seeking help when you need it. There is so so much great help out there, and they’ll help you get to that light at the end of the tunnel.