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Former drug addict from Cardiff tells of recovery from addiction


Karen, 54, formerly of Splott, decided to look for drug rehab in Cardiff she turned to Port of Call for help. This is her story of how she overcame her addictions to cannabis and Lorazepam at a women’s only addiction treatment centre.

Karen’s story

Drugs were my way to escape an abusive relationship. Cannabis calmed my nerves and Lorazepam helped my anxiety and sleeping problems. I knew it wasn’t a long-term fix but at the time I didn’t care. I thought I was in control. I was wrong. The drugs took full control of me, to the point that when I tried to cut down I’d find the withdrawal symptoms impossible to live with.

Rehab center for women

My life was a spiral of abuse. I had to get out and I knew that began with getting clean from my drug addictions. I’d get up at night in secret to research where to find help. That’s when I found Port of Call and, after reading about all my options on there, I requested a call back the following morning when I knew I’d have the house to myself.

Port of Call’s adviser was brilliant. He listened to everything I had to say and calmly talked me through what steps I could take next. I decided I needed to go to rehab to stand the best chance of recovery. When he mentioned that there was a women’s only treatment centre here in Cardiff, I thought ‘perfect.’ Getting away from all the distractions of home, to a tranquil environment with like-minded women really appealed.

A few days later I walked out of the house and checked in to the drug rehab clinic. I was petrified and relieved at the same time. I soon realised that I needn’t have been. The staff at the centre were really warm and welcoming, as were the other women who were going through their own battles. Getting away from all the problems of home – my now ex-partner, the violence, the drugs – I felt like I could breathe for the first time in a long time.

The other thing that attracted me to this treatment centre was the fact that they specialised in drug addiction, particularly prescription drugs like Lorazepam. They put me through a detox programme, which was tough but the clinical staff really looked after me. They were always there for me and did everything in their power to make me comfortable.

When my detox was finished, my rehab consisted of regular one-to-one and group counselling sessions. I didn’t particularly enjoy either to begin with because I’m not one to talk about issues. That was part of the problem I now realise. After a few sessions though I began to relax and open up. The support I got from my counsellor and all the women at the clinic was amazing.

They helped me to realise exactly what was triggering my anxieties and to find new ways to cope. Not surprisingly, a lot of my problems stemmed from a string of troubled relationships. Talking about it helped. Before I knew it, my six weeks in rehab were over. What surprised me most, aside from the fact that I was feeling healthier and more positive than I had done in years, was that I didn’t want to leave.

I had to though, and when I did I went straight to Cardiff Central and jumped on a train to stay with my sister in Aberystwyth. I started a new life for myself up there; new job, new flat, new hobbies. My ex tried to contact me for a while but I just changed my number and removed all ties with my previous life. I’ve never been happier. That was two years ago and I’ve been clean from drugs the whole time.

Thank you Port of Call for helping me to help myself. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Disclaimer: Names and certain details have been changed to protect the identity of case study participants.

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