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A former drink and drug user talks about his time at Manor Clinic

Mark* stayed at Manor Clinic for our seven-day medically assisted withdrawal detoxification programme, followed by our 28-day Addiction Treatment Programme to get him on the road to recovery.

My name is Mark. I admit to having an addictive personality and being an extremely driven individual. Working as a freelance IT consultant and living near to London, I was a workaholic and became very materialistic.

I was always a social drinker (and an occasional social drug user) but always drank to excess and became a regular binge drinker. At the age of 39, I realised I had to do something about my drinking. I’d moved to France to renovate a French property and my drinking escalated as I’d lost the much-needed routine of a professional working life. I was regularly partying with visiting friends and local ex-pats. I was introduced to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) whilst in France and had long periods of sobriety but I could not stay stopped. I managed to remain sober for almost 500 days once, but over a five-year period I would generally relapse every six to nine months, even though I attended AA in France and when I returned to the UK for work. My drinking progressively got worse and I was then drinking alcohol and taking social drugs on a regular basis. The more I drank and used, the more I wanted to drink and use, but I knew it was not good for me, nor for my family and loved ones.

After a serious drinking binge, I admitted myself to Manor Clinic for the seven-day detox programme. There I realised, I needed to do the whole 28-day programme to manage my alcohol addiction, but I was stubborn and keen to get back to work. I discharged myself clean after seven days. However, the programme and experience helped ‘lay the seed’ for my desire to change and to rediscover myself, but I realised I needed longer to make a lasting difference.

I managed to stay sober for almost six months following detox, but relapsed again following two recurring personal triggers of relationship issues and high stress levels at work. I knew I needed to be personally reset with professional help, as my relapse pattern was ingrained in me, specifically before my use of alcohol destroyed everything – my job, my family and me. I decided to go back to Manor Clinic for their 28-day programme.

This programme at Manor Clinic gave me time to look at myself. I was at a stage in my life in which I had lost track of who I was; my personal identity was confusing. I needed to understand why I wanted to self-destruct, self-harm and escape reality. Manor Clinic helped me to rearrange the jigsaw puzzle, to realise that I have an obsessive nature and obsess about everything. I was always after the next high and disappointed when I did not achieve my overly high standards. I now understand the genetic line in my family for addiction and can see a strong drinking pattern from when I was young.

I went into treatment at Manor Clinic thinking I was just an alcoholic, but left as an alcoholic and an addict to work, exercise, drugs and adrenalin to name a few. I know that drugs are a major trigger for my drinking and I now attend Narcotics Anonymous (NA); I have been clean from drugs for the same amount of time as alcohol. Life is going really well for me now and my partner is expecting a baby. I enjoy keeping in touch with Manor Clinic and the Wednesday aftercare sessions are an important element of the programme which keeps myself and other former patients focused on our recovery and positive for the future.

*names have been changed

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