Sharon's Recovery

“Just the beginning of my recovery”

Sharon shares her story on her struggle with substance use throughout her life and her recovery. She has recently spent time in residential Rehabilitation, she speaks about the difference this had on her. Sharon is currently volunteering as a Peer in Newport, supporting her community.

“This time last year I thought my life was ending. 

All I knew throughout my life was sadness and brutal beatings. From as far back as being a toddler, it is all I can remember. Then growing up in a family of abuse and assault, more beatings, and then through alcohol and drugs I was groomed into this person I never wanted to be. All this was who I was. I was going to die as a disgusting foul mouth drunk drugged-up person.  

This was not Me! 

Something clicked. A window opened into myself. I knew I had taken a turn for the worse and within myself, I knew this was not Me! I sought help with the guidance of the Gwent Drug and Alcohol Service – GDAS. It wasn’t an easy road, with appointments I had to keep on a regular basis. Those early days were gruelling, the worst days I’d ever had.  I never wanted to go out: I had a fear of going out, a fear of anxiety, panic having to put a drunken facade on to interact on a sub-normal level with professional bodies. 

For Me, for Poppy 

I knew I needed to do this for the months and weeks ahead. For Me, for Poppy, for the life I so wanted. A future, a purpose… and with the help and support of GDAS and GSSMS I was assessed at a rehab facility where I had to be interviewed on my goals for the future and what I wanted to achieve. I just wanted to be a normal person within the community again. 

No easy ride 

This was another tough gruelling thing to deal with, but I wasn’t on my own even though I sometimes felt I was. Sat at the other end of the room was my GDAS worker supporting me, being silent, listening while I poured my heart out wanting this new start of a life. The Manager did not give me an easy ticket to get into rehab. I always remember her saying “this is no easy ride, it’s going to be hard work”, so after our talk and my meltdown the manager said they’d be in touch within a few days if I was accepted. My anxiety was through the roof. Within two days I got a call and was accepted. Every feeling possible was going around my body, head in a swirl of “shit, omfg, this is happening”.  

The best ever experience 

This was the best ever experience in my whole life. The support within Brynawel rehab is amazing. I often didn’t think it at times, but Brynawel became my home. The therapy groups are to help you build a fresh life from the person who you want to achieve to be. The learning of self-belief gave me tools to start to accomplish things I never thought possible. With ongoing support, with their after-care team helping to engage in the outside world once again with groups within my community. Linking me up with helpful organizations and also online support from the team of Brynawel. I had home visit support on my progress, to see if I needed additional help or if extra support was needed. 

Now I help within my community 

This hasn’t just helped me but I’d like to think I’ve helped others, who have a life of addiction. Now I help within my community within a food bank. I’m a Peer for GDAS at the Hub where I support staff working with people with addictive behaviours. I attend the Peer Mentor Academy within GDAS and Kaleidoscope, working together with other people who have been on a journey like mine as we learn how to help others. I’ve made videos of my progress and attend courses after Brynawel and I continue to progress every day at Brynawel, now as part of the team there too.  I’m looking forward to the future, with my ever-faithful Poppy.”