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How talking about my alcohol problem helped me

Meet Brian, 51, from Wolverhampton. A man’s man who always found it easier to bottle up his problems, in more ways than one, who turned his alcoholism around through the power of conversation. This is Brian’s account of how addiction counselling – organised by Port of Call – changed his life.

Brian’s story

I’m not a big talker. Never have been, probably never will be. But I’m better than I used to be. When I first spoke to Port of Call I didn’t say a whole lot. “I drink too much alcohol and need help”. That was about the short of it. But just these few words would have been hard enough for me to say at the time.

On my first day of rehab, which Port of Call arranged for me, I could barely get my words out when the receptionist welcomed me to the clinic. The first couple of individual counselling sessions I spent giving one-word answers to the therapist’s questions.

Alcoholism stories

But it got better. One day I’d been listening to some of the other residents sharing their stories and something just clicked. Up until then I’d always sat quietly and kept my thoughts to myself. But, for whatever reason, I felt like sharing that day. So I stood up and said: “I’m Brian, and I’m an alcoholic.”

The relief was massive. I talked non-stop for a good ten minutes. When I finished, I looked up, not sure how people would react, but I needn’t have worried because I was greeted with encouraging smiles. I can’t tell you what a relief that was. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

Over the following weeks it became easier and easier to talk to my counsellor about my thoughts. We’d talk about my childhood – single parent family, mum was an alcoholic too. It was the first time I’d really opened up to anyone about how that time of my life had affected me. I don’t think I’d even realised until then.

They taught me new ways to think about things and control my temper. In the past if I’d had a bad day at work, or someone had riled me, I’d go out and drink ten pints and start a fight. But now I was learning ways to rethink those urges and communicate my feelings better.

That was a big step for me. I never expected rehab to have that effect. But it did. Now I’m a regular member of my local Alcoholics Anonymous fellowship. Believe it or not, I’ve actually started a part-time counselling course myself, so that I can help others to open up and find their voice like I did.

Thanks to Port of Call, and all their amazing support, I’ve found a new lease of life. I’ve been sober for just over a year. Everything seems to be going in the right direction.

I’d encourage anyone who might have a problem with alcohol or drugs to talk about it with someone. It’s definitely the best thing that I ever did.

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

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