Yesterday I had appointment with my alcohol counsellor. For any new readers I self referred to the local addiction support service on 31 March 2016, the day I stopped drinking. I had to have various assessments and a visit to the service, after which I was allocated to Suzie.
Our first meeting was on 20 April, Day 21. I was just about hanging on to my sobriety. I had been holding out for my appointment and I knew that if it didn’t go well, if I didn’t like Suzie or she said she couldn’t help me, I would go straight to the supermarket, stock up on wine and….well I don’t need to explain the rest.
To be frank. I was a mess. Although the initial withdrawal symptoms had subsided I was felling physically unwell and emotionally unstable. I was just about managing to keep up an appearance of normality at work and home but it was touch and go.
The appointment was at my normal GP surgery so the first hurdle was having to book in and tell the receptionist I had an appointment with Suzie. I knew that meant they would know I had an addiction problem and it was probably quite serious. I was also worried I might bump into someone I recognised. What would I do if I saw someone I knew coming out of Suzie’s room as I was waiting to go in ? The thought of that happening made me feel sick. I was tempted to cry off and cancel the appointment. But I didn’t.
Suzie was not like I thought she would be. She was casually dressed, relaxed and completely down to earth. She listened to me as I poured out my shame, fear, despair and desperation. She passed me tissue after tissue as I wept. She asked if I wanted a hug and she held me. She was so very, very kind.
Suzie helped me to put together a plan. Arranged blood tests, an appointment with a doctor and a place on an addiction recovery course. She gave me contact numbers for support services if was in crisis . I left the appointment feeling relief and a sense of real hope. Most of all I was no longer alone.
I have continued to see Suzie every two weeks or so. She has supported me every step of the way. She has a very pragmatic approach. She is open and honest. She does not mince her words. She sent a text congratulating me on my 100 days because she knows counting days is important to me. She talks to me about what is going on in my life and has helped me to realise that I am an OK person – she would tell me off for saying OK – preferring to go for fabulous or fantastic or something along those lines !
Yesterday I saw Suzie for what, in the nicest possible way, I hope was the last time. I believe I have the strength and resilience to continue from here. I am physocally and emotionally stronger, I have a support network around me, including all the wonderful people who visit this blog and my sober tool box is brimming.
If I need to see Suzie again – if I have a lapse or relapse or just need to talk, she is there. But for now I am dong fine. So, at 119 days we said goodbye. Although I will miss Suzie, moving on is a momentous step and confirmation of how far I have come.