Sally’s son Tom had struggled with alcohol and cocaine for 7 years.
Sally realised that the family needed professional help when her daughter in law called her one weekend to say she was leaving her son for good. Sally had often tried to talk with her son about professional help, yet he always shrugged off the fact that he had a problem, blaming his stressful career in recruitment for the problems he was having at home. Tom seemed adamant that his drinking and drug use was a way of coping, when in fact all around him could see that it was the cause of his problems.
Sally phoned Port of Call and spoke at length with Alex, who himself had suffered with addiction. Sally’s initial call lasted nearly 40 minutes, during which Alex listened attentively to what had been happening for Sally and family. Alex helped educate Sally about the fact that addiction is an illness that can be treated and more than anything gave Sally a feeling of hope. During her call, Sally came to realise that even though Tom was in a certain amount of denial about his drinking problem, there was help available. Alex seemed to understand what she was going through and for the first time in many years, Sally no longer felt so alone and powerless.
‘The team at Port of Call helped me take control of what was happening – I phoned them feeling so powerless and hopeless. What they gave me was a plan and that was instrumental in helping Tom agree to getting the help he needed .
From her first call with Port of Call, Sally realised that if Tom wouldn’t change his behaviour, she would change hers. Regardless of what Tom would or wouldn’t do, she was going to get some support. Sally decided from that day on that she wasn’t going to sit on the sidelines and watch her son ruin his life – her greatest fear was that she wouldn’t see her grandchildren again and that Tom’s life would spiral out of control if his wife were to leave him.
‘Alex gave me some very structured guidance and I immediately started going to Al-Anon meetings. I also spoke with my husband properly about how we might support Tom, should he agree to seeking help. Alex and my husband spoke at length the following night and we agreed to all speak with Tom at the weekend. Tom called Alex on the Sunday and after a long call, during which he shared some of the reasons why he was drinking so heavily, Tom agreed to come into treatment. Alex worked with Tom to identify the right clinic and he arranged everything; a lift from home into the clinic, a letter for Tom’s employer and he spoke at length with Tom’s wife about the process that Tom would be going through in treatment.
Six months on, Tom has been clean and sober since leaving treatment. He is back at home with his wife and children and he’s made some crucial changes in his life. His recovery programme is a way of life and he has a support network around him that help remind him how ill he became in his addiction and how much he has to be grateful for. Whilst there is still a lot of work to do, Tom is much more comfortable in his own skin and he no longer needs or wants to drink or use. Sally feels like she has her son back, finally and spoiling her grandkids is a regular Friday afternoon pastime once more – the sweetshop on the way home from school.
I would urge families affected by addiction to reach out to Port of Call. They’ve been through addiction and recovery and have the patience and the pragmatism to help at your time of need. Thank you Alex for your support.
Disclaimer: Genuine case studies from Port of Call Treatment Services. Permission has been sought from clients to tell their stories in the hope that they inspire others. Names have been changed to respect our client’s anonymity.