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Support for families of drug users – a Port of Call Success Story

When a person is struggling with a drug problem, the energies of those around them are often channelled into helping that person to recover. Rightly so, but support is also available for the families and loved ones of drug users, as Wendy from Salford found out.

With her son’s drug addiction quickly spiralling out of control, the 58 year-old contacted Port of Call for cocaine addiction help.

The below is an account of their journey.

A case study from Port of Call

Wendy’s story

Luke and I were always very close when he was younger. His father and I separated when he was four and, although it was tough at first, it resulted in the two of us becoming a very tight unit.

He was always very well behaved at school, achieving fantastic grades and socialising with friends that were always very pleasant boys.

Great GCSE results and a standout performer in his BTEC at college, Luke was desperate to go to University. Like any mother, I knew I’d miss his bubbly presence around the house but, with my blessing, off he went to study psychology in Leeds.

My first inkling that something was wrong was about midway through his first year of studies. Every other weekend he would come home to visit me and his childhood friends, but this one weekend, he just wasn’t himself.

Usually, he would spend most of his time out with his friends or I’d take him out for food. I loved treating him to a nice meal because I knew that his food intake while away from home wouldn’t be the healthiest! That was no problem. I guess a lot of young adults who move away from home to attend university neglect their diet.

The weekend I realised there was a problem was in December. Luke came home for the first time in close to a month. I wasn’t used to him staying away from home for that long so was really looking forward to spending some time with my son. However, upon arriving home, he spent the entire weekend in his room. He didn’t go and see his friends and came downstairs only to grab some food. This just wasn’t him. I knew there was something wrong.

I decided I had to speak to him. I thought he might be having problems with his studies or perhaps girl troubles. When I did approach him, he completely broke down. He screamed at me to leave him alone and spoke to me in a manner I’d never known.

Worried, I decided to message his flat mate at university through Facebook. It wasn’t a case of going behind his back, I just needed to know what was wrong.

I was horrified when I found out that he had been taking cocaine and, after researching, it was clear that he was suffering from cocaine withdrawals. Luke’s friend informed me that, while it wasn’t uncommon to see people using cocaine in their social circles, he had grown concerned by Luke’s habits. He was missing lectures and becoming unpleasant to be around.

A quick Google search alerted me to the services that Port of Call provide. I read up on the benefits of drug counselling and was delighted to learn that Port of Call also offered support for families of drug users in the UK. I was really keen to see Luke speak with them but feared that he wouldn’t be happy with the suggestion.

I was right. When I told him that I had been told about his cocaine habit, he hit the roof. “Everyone does it”, he yelled – as if that was going to provide me with some form of comfort. He refused to accept that he had developed an addiction.

With that in mind, and after reading about how they assist families affected by drugs, I decided to contact Port of Call myself.  I explained Luke’s change in personality and asked for advice. They suggested that, with the help of a counsellor, I stage an intervention. That’s exactly what I did. Myself, his father, his flatmate and the drug counsellor gathered at my house and sat down to speak with Luke.

We were warned that he may react angrily, and he did. However, after some tears of anger and frustration, he agreed to go into rehab.

He was placed into a local rehab clinic and the entire process was managed entirely by Port of Call. I couldn’t recommend them enough. I was able to visit Luke for meals and to bring him items which seemed to comfort him. The counsellors were true experts at putting us all at ease. Of course, Luke was the priority, but they understood that support for families of drug users cannot be understated.

We were thankful to Luke’s university for allowing him to take a break from his studies and were assured that his place on his course would remain available when we felt that he was ready to return.

He went back to Leeds in February and I am delighted to report that he passed his first-year studies with flying colours. What could potentially have developed into damaging addiction turned out to be a short-term issue that has now been dealt with.

I now have my son back and we couldn’t be happier. It’s all thanks to Port of Call. I cannot thank them enough.

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

If you are concerned about your own or a loved one’s relationship with drugs and alcohol, get in touch with Port of Call on 08000029010. In addition, we recommend taking a look around our website to find a drug rehab near you.

About the author: Alex Molyneux

Alex is our admissions team leader. Over the last 5 years he has spoken with more than 10,000 people via our helpline and has organised over 1,000 detox and rehabilitation placements.

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