DDN Magazine June 2021 June 2021 - Page 17

HAVE YOUR SAY Write to the editor and get it off your chest claire @ cjwellings . com past

when I was 19 and that ’ s when I discovered alcohol . As soon as I drank my first few pints all the anxiety , all the past things that had happened went away and my confidence came . I felt confidence for the first time in my life .
That was it for me . From then on I said I ’ ll come for a session whenever my dad was going to the pub – not because I was going to have a good time , because at that time I was suffering from anxiety and depression , but because of the way alcohol made me feel . It took the dark thoughts away , and the anxiety , and gave me confidence so I could enjoy myself .
I will have to cut this short now because I could be here forever writing . All I really wanted to try and say was my experience of alcohol abuse came from a deep-rooted cause from a young age , and that for anybody that ’ s reading this it ’ s ok to be honest and by being honest with yourself you can start to get well and concentrate on the things that triggered the drink addiction or substance abuse .
I am now 33 years old and I am serving a short sentence for abusing alcohol and all my previous times in prison have been alcohol fuelled . I am currently still battling with anxiety and depression and I am on medication for this and continue to try everything to get over it because I now fully know the reason why I have depended on alcohol for such a long time . I believe that tackling the root cause of dependency , that ’ s when you can concentrate on staying clean and it can be hard but it ’ s worth it if it can give years of happiness and joy . The first thing I was told by the substance misuse team was … step one , we admitted we were powerless and our lives had become unmanageable . Chris
A MEANS TO AN END
I am now 56 years old and in prison . From the age of six to 13 I was abused by my father , physically , emotionally and sexually . I have been in and out of prison since I was 20 for theft , robbery and deception . It was always a means to an end , to get money for alcohol .
Prior to the start of this sentence I never spoke about what happened to anyone except for once . I finally went to my doctor to say I wanted to stop drinking BUT I had to find a way to deal with ‘ stuff in my head ’.
I was referred to psychiatrists , mental health teams and as I had a few attempts at suicide , even crisis teams . Every single team or person I met said exactly the same thing – ‘ we can ’ t deal with your mental health until you deal with your drinking ’. I had this for two years . I even woke from an overdose in hospital to be told I would finally get some help and then psychiatrists ten minutes later saying they will do nothing because of my drinking ( around three litres of vodka a day ).
Nobody understands or helps with the fact I drink to mask what happened . I have been diagnosed with complex PTSD and when I came into prison I knew alcohol would be taken away . If I came in as a heroin addict I would get methadone but as an alcoholic I got nothing .
So , when I came into prison I was asking for help with PTSD . On day one I saw the GP who categorically stated , ‘ I do not know why they sent you here as we can ’ t treat PTSD .’ Since then I have been on various ACCTS ( self-harm documents ) and passed around various departments but all say they can ’ t help . When I ask about a pathway for anyone coming into prison with PTSD to get treated it seems impossible to get any answers . I accept it is a bit more difficult as I am convicted of a sexual offence .
Finally , a year later , I managed to access CAT [ cognitive analytic therapy ] with a lady who comes in from outside the prison . This , for me , is exceptionally hard work confronting a lot of what happened but has finally started to look at why I drink .
In nine weeks I am due for release and the plan is to go to a rehab eventually for a 12-week period . My therapist wants to
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‘ Nobody understands or helps with the fact I drink to mask what happened . I have been diagnosed with complex PTSD and when I came into prison I knew alcohol would be taken away . If I came in as a heroin addict I would get methadone but as an alcoholic I got nothing .’
do some referrals for when I am released , to include EMDR [ eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing ], but with things as they are I ’ m told I ’ m not likely to know where probation want me on release , so they cannot do any referral without knowing the area I am going to .
So I fear that as I will only have a few sessions prior to release , I will end up drinking again as the reason I drink is still there , albeit partially processed .
Why is it so much of a problem for people to understand it . It took me years to get my head in a place ready to talk and then I felt dismissed by everybody due to drinking . Yes , I feel a failure but also that I have been failed . Garry igor kisselev / Alamy
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