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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

ADVERTORIAL: It’s never too late to tackle addiction

If you or someone you know is having issues with drugs or alcohol, there are lots of ways to access free and confidential advice and support from local experts

Drug and alcohol problems can affect anyone, with many people keeping it a secret, adding pressure to holding down a job and juggling family life. This can have a serious impact on the people around you, including those you love.

Whether you’ve become dependent on drugs and alcohol, or just find it difficult to control your use, it can be difficult to acknowledge and talk about what is happening.

But it’s important to remember that effective, confidential, and non-judgemental help is available for anyone who feels they, or anyone they know, struggles with alcohol or drugs. Support is also available for families affected by a loved one’s alcohol and drug use.

The government is investing additional funding to improve the capacity and quality of treatment. This means that there will be more help available in your local area so you can get the help you need quicker and the help you receive will be better, including from better-trained staff who can spend longer with each person.

“You’ve got to do it for yourself, or nothing is going to change”

*Aleena (name changed for privacy), 37, has lived through some challenging times. Her father was killed in a road accident when she was 11 years old, triggering her to go “off the rails” as she went into a spiral of drug and alcohol use.

When she became pregnant in late 2020, she reached a crisis point and approached her local drug and alcohol treatment provider for support.

“When I was pregnant, I thought enough is enough, and became determined to change my ways and surroundings. The penny had dropped,” says *Aleena.

“I was a mess when I walked into drug and alcohol support services and now, I’m more confident and have my self-esteem back. I don’t have cravings and I’ve got the willpower to carry on.

“The talking support groups are intense, but they have got to be intense to work. It opens your eyes to a lot of stuff – especially what you thought was normality.

“I told my life story over six months, from childhood to now. You’re encouraged to open up to your key worker and once it is off your chest, you can put it in a box and forget about it.

“I can’t thank my service provider enough. My key workers took the time to sit down with me and make me feel a lot better about myself. They are like my family and have been excellent with me and my little girl.

“You’ve got to do it for yourself, or nothing is going to change. Even if you’re proud. I didn’t want to ask for help, but you need it. Grab it with both hands and give it a go. Then stay calm and keep focused and busy. If you’re bored, your mind starts wandering. You need a routine and structure.”

With a fresh start, *Aleena is now raising her daughter and continues to rebuild her life. She is also still in touch with her local treatment service, who continue to offer support.

HOW TO FIND HELP

  • You can find details of treatment services on your local authority’s website. FRANK also has a directory of adult and young people’s alcohol and drug treatment services at talktofrank.com/help
  • If you are worried about a friend or family member and they are happy for you to do so, contact FRANK, or the local drug and alcohol service on their behalf . You, or the person you are worried for can call FRANK anytime on 0300 123 6600 for confidential advice and information
  • You can talk to your GP, who can then refer you to services, but if you are not comfortable doing that you can approach your local drug and alcohol treatment service yourself without a referral or a friend or family member can, contact the local service on your behalf.

Remember that expert help is out there. Treatment is available for anyone who is dependent on drugs or alcohol. Staff in the local service will talk you through all of your personal treatment options and agree on a plan with you.

COMMUNITY SUPPORT ALONGSIDE TREATMENT

There are also lots of groups within the community of people in recovery that offer support, including Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and UK SMART Recovery – and, for families and friends, Al-Anon and Families Anonymous.

These self-helps groups can provide a vital source of support, alongside the help provided by the local treatment service.

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