Surrendering to Nightingale was like finally being able to breathe again.

Written by Lucy, a previous 28-day addiction treatment patient at Nightingale Hospital.

Imagine if we knew the ending to our stories while we were living them.  Imagine if, when I first walked into the Nightingale hospital, the walls could have whispered to me, “This place will save your life.”

The anger, the fear, the shame maybe would have dissipated, instead replaced with relief, safe in the knowledge that I am where I need to be.

Knowing the outcome may take away our fear but would it also influence our decision making too much? If by knowing the ending we could somehow change our futures then it’s a gamble I wouldn’t want to take. Without  Nightingale Hospital, I wouldn’t be here today. I now know that to be true, so that’s a risk I’m not willing to take.

When I first arrived at the hospital I was so full of rage. A fiery ball of anger, in so much pain, a shadow of the person who writes this now. I knew no peace. I knew only shame, fear, self-loathing, despair. I was terrified and angry, but I couldn’t get a day without alcohol or some kind of drug. Despite all the promises I made to myself in the morning, by the evening I was back in the cycle. I couldn’t do it anymore, I needed help.

I felt like a failure at the time, coming into rehab and leaving my two-year-old daughter. I felt like I had failed.

“Why me?”

“Why couldn’t I get a grip on this by myself?”

Always the victim. I was sick of all the lies, the guilt, shame and secrets. If this was living then I couldn’t do it anymore.

Surrendering to Nightingale Hospital was like finally being able to breathe again. I was safe, I was being looked after, I didn’t have to lie or pretend anymore.  It was exactly what I needed and I had no idea why I had fought it for so long.

I would become enraged when someone suggested I needed to go away for a while to sort myself out, so angry.

“How dare they, rehab??! What the hell did they know about me?”

But that was the fear talking. And fear had become like a cloak I would wear draped around me, ever-present, ominous, never leaving me alone.

Nightingale Hospital is like a wall that held me up when I couldn’t hold myself anymore. It helped me see through the bull**** and strip back to the core of my problems. To start the long road to recovery, a day at a time.

The staff, the peer support… Finally feeling like someone gets you. It was all such a relief, I could finally breathe again. The problems didn’t go away, but it gave me the space to see them, to make a plan with the right support, to stop white-knuckling it.

Now I’m full of gratitude. I know how to do the work, I’ve got the right support network and I feel proud of myself.

I’m 375 days sober as I write this, and Nightingale is what gave me that first day when I couldn’t even get that for myself.

It gave me the foundations, it was my wall when I was nothing but a pile of bricks.

Your addiction and your fear will try and tell you you don’t need to go to rehab, but I promise you, it’s all lies to keep you sick.

There’s nothing to be fearful of at Nightingale Hospital, they just want to help and they know exactly how to. They know you. They know me. They know addicts. That was the best feeling – finally feeling understood after years of isolation and loneliness. Making connections again. Stepping into the light.

Now, I am proud to say my name is Lucy and I am an addict. I’m proud that I’ve seen the monster that lives inside of me and faced up to it, said “NO more. I see you but I am not you.” I understand my limits now, and also the depths of my darkness too. I can walk away from that place knowing the route away will never lead me back.

So thank you to everyone at Nightingale Hospital, a place that is truly magical.

I am forever grateful.

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“When you have a problem and you drink, take drugs or gamble, the problem won’t go away. Stay and tackle the problem”
#TherapistTipoftheWeek