We tend to avoid measuring our results in terms of statistics alone, as these cannot fully capture the powerful impact that recovery has on our clients and those living or working with them. Therefore, we evaluate success more on the observable changes in the attitudes and behaviour of our clients.
The following is a video given to SharingPoint, produced by an ex client. All of the words are written and sung by the client herself and just as remarkable is that fact that the video was taken by her best friend who is visually impaired.
“I started in group when I was ten days clean of prescribed medication, an addiction that I had for over a decade. I was originally prescribed medication at 18 due to panic attacks, and over the years I developed a dependency to them. By the time I found SharingPoint I was a shell. I had no idea who I was, what I liked, where my life was going. I hated myself from the inside out. I was angry what felt like all the time. I lived in total fear of everything and everyone. The only way I could keep myself safe was to keep everyone, family, friends even my young child at arms-length. That way I wouldn’t get hurt and no one would see what I thought was inside.
Group was so scary for me. I was terrified of everyone and had many panic attacks in group. The facilitators were amazing with me and taught me how to breathe my way out of the panic attacks and I slowly learned how to live in the now and experience life as it was happening in the moment. I remember so clearly the first panic attack I had in group and the facilitator helped me through it and I remember the thought that crossed my mind ‘If I had found this place 20 years ago my life could have been so different. Why didn’t any doctor do this with me?’ For the first time in my life I felt safe. I was afraid that I wouldn’t fit in group, that if I wasn’t on heroin well then I didn’t have a real problem. I quickly realised it wasn’t about the drugs or drink: it was about learning to find out who I was, what I liked and the end result being, me learning to love myself. Everyone in group was so welcoming and caring which at the beginning scared me and I made a mental note not to trust any of them.
However, over time I started to feel safer and safer in group. People were so honest and all the mad thoughts that I thought only I had others were talking of. I started to think maybe I’m not mad!!! I spent three and a half years in group. They were without a doubt some of the best & hardest years of my life so far!! I could safely say I spent the first two years learning to live in this very moment, and learning to experience my life as it was happening, not the past or the future. The level of fear that I carried when I first came into group had started to lessen, and I began to live a life I never thought I could have. Terror certainly does not frequent my mind and I never went back to prescribed medication again, something I firmly believed would be with me until the day I died.
My life today is filled with love, yes there is fear, but I have gained many tools in group that help me when I do feel fear. I have friends that I can talk to honestly and openly. I am applying to study midwifery at degree level. I feel at peace, but above all for a woman who lived in terror at every minute of the day. I feel safe in my skin: this to me is pure gold.”
“SharingPoint saved my life! I was introduced to SharingPoint about four years ago through an NA sponsor. At the time I was two and a half years clean, and pretty much devastated at where my life was. I had started using drink and drugs at twelve, and spent seventeen years caught up in active addiction. I had heard someone say ‘when you take away the drink and drugs you are left with the reasons you started using them’, and that was so true for me.
Experiences in my childhood had left me angry, devastated, and broken. The drink and drugs started out as an escape and quickly escalated into part of the problem. I had bounced around different countries, homes, friends, and jobs all my life looking for answers. My coping strategy in life was to trust no one, and don’t ever let anyone take advantage of me ‘again’.
I truly believed that if I just got my addiction under control everything would fall into place. It didn’t! The effects of my childhood had tentacles in every part of my life and I spent my life reacting out of fear of everything and everyone. It took a while for me to open up and to trust SharingPoint and the other members of my group. I cannot say enough about the professionalism and care that we received as group members. I can only say that SharingPoint taught me to open up, to trust, and to eventually face my issues in a safe and caring environment.
Today drink or drugs don’t even enter my mind—I have no need for them! I am happy in myself, my relationships, and my life. I feel confident and self-assured for the first time ever. I like being me! I couldn’t thank SharingPoint enough, how do you thank someone for giving you a happy life? I would, and have, recommended SharingPoint to anyone struggling in this world.”
“I came from a household where my father was an alcoholic and my mother was mentally abusive. I joined SharingPoint in 2010. I was 20 years old at the time. It all started because my younger sister had been involved for a while, and I noticed a change in her. I had wanted counselling for a long time beforehand but had always been too afraid to seek it out. Eventually I asked her for a number she had gotten, the number of my uncle whom both of us were very close to, and after having the number in my phone for about four to five months, and much encouragement from my sister and uncle, I eventually rang up and arranged a one-to-one meeting.
Terrified was an understatement, I was bricking it, but I went, and after an hour I walked out with, I suppose the best way to describe it, was a little bit of understanding and happiness so I went back. Originally the plan was to see this person for a couple of weeks and then jet off to America, which in the end did not happen. After two months of one-to-ones, I joined a group in February 2011 and I have never looked back. Before I joined I was insecure, paranoid, believed everyone would talk about me and believed I wasn’t worth more than a piece of trash on the ground.
After three years of the hardest work I have done in my life—and probably ever will do—I can honestly say I’m not the same person that walked in. I still struggle with some things I came in with but I can handle them so much better than I ever have before. Doing this for the past three years has not been easy. It was full of ups and downs, brought up stuff I never imagined, but I can honestly say it is the most rewarding thing I will ever do with my life for myself. SharingPoint has taught me how to enjoy being happy and how not to let the bad times, which will happen to everyone, take over my life, and for me that was huge. I 100% recommend anyone to give it a go, because even though it’s hard work, the payoff is better than I could have ever imagined.”
“My name is John and I have been involved with SharingPoint for just over 3 years now, in which time my life has been completely transformed from a life of predominant fear, darkness and despair – to one of light, love and laughter.
I joined SharingPoint in October 2007…..I had been just over 2 years clean from alcohol, drugs and a gambling addiction…..My life had changed in many ways in that I had returned to education and had a life free from alcohol, drugs and gambling as well as the associated fighting, hospital admissions, arrests and court appearances. However….I was experiencing feelings of overwhelming fear, and despair on an almost daily basis and I didn’t understand why this was happening.
At a point where I felt as though I couldn’t go on living this way….I became aware of the existence of SharingPoint. I met with SharingPoint and was invited to attend weekly meetings with people who were also affected by addiction in one way or another. I felt hope for the first time that others felt similarly to the way I was feeling and that there was a way to change this for the better…..I have attended these meetings on a weekly basis since, as well as forging new relationships outside of ‘group’ that have become the single most important part of my life.
During my time in SharingPoint, I believe I have changed beyond recognition from a person who was probably best described as a block of fear. I began looking inside myself for answers to my problems, rather than looking outside and blaming the world and its dog. I discovered a self-loathing and self hatred that I wasn’t aware of before. I had spent my life portraying a happy and confident image in order to hide the real me from the world. I didn’t like myself at all. I spent my life trying to make people like me and wondering endlessly what others thought of me. I believed people saw me as a scumbag, lout or vandal. I was unable to forge healthy relationships with other human beings and didn’t really understand what a healthy relationship meant. I didn’t trust anyone. I didn’t know how to trust people. Becoming aware of who I was was brilliant for me but also very difficult, because I didn’t like what I saw.
Group meetings at SharingPoint helped me to find out who John is and helped me to learn how to firstly accept, then like and eventually love myself. I learned how to trust and began to engage in healthy relationships. I was in a relationship with a woman when I began in group and was filled with suspicion, jealousy, anger and resentment because I knew nothing else. 6 weeks ago and 4 years later I married the same woman and am glad to say that we have a healthy, loving and trusting relationship where one another can be themselves. I have learned that I must look after myself and have a good relationship with myself in order to have healthy relationships with others. I have 2 young children, who I believe are benefiting greatly from the work I have done and continue to do on myself. We have a beautiful home today filled with life, love and laughter.
I cannot speak highly enough of SharingPoint and everyone involved in this fantastic organisation for what it has given to me and my family. I am happy today, beyond my wildest dreams. I know this is due to the hard work and commitment that I put in, but I would never have done any of it without the guidance, care, compassion, support and expertise of the guys at Sharing Point.
Tomorrow morning, I begin a new job, a job that I thought was out of my reach when I applied for it. However I interviewed for the position, told the company all of the good things about myself and why they should employ me and I believed in what I was telling them. They employed me because they liked what they seen and heard. I really like who I am today and I believe in myself. For this and for SharingPoint I am eternally grateful.
“I came to SharingPoint a little over two years ago. Although not an addict myself, I grew up around addiction and it shaped many aspects of who I became. When I found SharingPoint, I was at a stage where I did not know who I was, what I wanted or how to feel. Although I was not addicted to alcohol or drugs etc., I had adopted other methods of burying the pain I was in, such as self-harm, dysfunctional relationships and anything I could use as a distraction. I had no concern for myself or for where my life was heading. I had been numb for a long time, but the pain was surfacing and starting to become more than I could bear and more than anything, I felt so alone.
I assumed that because I wasn’t an addict, I wouldn’t fit in in SharingPoint… but when I joined the group sessions I found something I never thought existed and that was a group of people who could identify with me because they had been where I was and I didn’t feel so alone anymore. I believe that the greatest part about facilitated group work is that there is always someone ahead of you on your journey to help you on your way, and always new people coming in to remind you of where you started.
SharingPoint provides a safe place for people who have never had a safe place to go in their lives. It was a place where I could finally learn how to trust and form new relationships. For me it has been a place to go and listen and to be listened to with no judgments, egos or agendas. A place to learn about myself, who I am and most importantly how to live. The facilitators have helped me get out of my head, which is where I had spent most of my life, and helped me come down into my heart to live my life. They steered me back on course and helped me discover things at my own pace, providing guidance and counsel when needed, and nurturing the process of self-discovery.
Through SharingPoint I have a life today beyond anything I could have imagined. I always thought that if I could just stop the pain and heartache, that would be enough. SharingPoint showed me that that is just one step. Beyond that I have found the beauty of emotions, I’ve grown to like and love myself, to appreciate life. I have two young children who I am able to give love to openly and freely, and am teaching them how to do the same. My husband joined SharingPoint a year before I did and I could see the change in him and knew I wanted some of the peace he seemed to be finding. Through working on our own issues separately we grew as individuals, learned to communicate and forge out a life for ourselves full of love and hope and happiness.
I truly wish that SharingPoint continues to grow so that as many people as possible affected by addiction could experience what I have been blessed to have experienced in the last two years. I have been given tools for life that will help me along my journey long after my time with SharingPoint is over.”
“I have been affected by addiction my whole life through close family members and then, later on, through my partner. For years I put everyone else’s needs ahead of my own. I lost my 2 brothers in close proximity to each other through drug related incidences. I got to a place where I was lost and full of fear and became suicidal. It was at this point when I joined SharingPoint.
It’s difficult to put in few lines what SharingPoint has done for me because I’m a totally different person because of it. From a girl who was terrified having to leave the house, woke up wishing I hadn’t every day and couldn’t feel anything except fear, to the person I am today. I love meeting new people, I love trying new things, I can now give and receive love and have great relationships in my life but most of all I now have a relationship with myself.”