Understanding and helping yourself on a road to recovery with
the aid of Hafan Wen... A patient’s point of view
I use the word patient, but looking back I think I was more of a guest
Having reached the bottom of many bottles, I had now reached the bottom of my life,
Being under the influence of one form or another since the age of 8, I used my addictions to cope with life and my surroundings, eventually costing me everything I had!
I had heard of Hafan Wen, some of the stories, some of peoples experiences; I always thought that wasn’t for me! I can handle what I'm doing, anyway it’s no one’s business what I do, but I always felt like shit, sad, unhappy, pissed off! I wanted to change my life, give a go at something different, maybe try and get some help that I need?
One day I thought I’m not doing this anymore. So I didn’t drink for several days thinking I could stop on my own. That’s a total misconception! Believe me. I made myself ill by suddenly stopping, just stopping your addiction - you cannot do it your own! So that was my wakeup call. I asked if I could have the help available.
Hafan Wen ? Shit ! I don’t want to be put away for a few weeks, what will people think? What will happen in there? I was so scared at the thought of it. I made up stories in my head before I even went in. I’m going to be locked in a room, maybe it’s like prison, what if they keep me in ? What if they think I’m not normal ? For days I didn’t sleep and I created so many stories in my head it got me down, but then with 3 days to go I thought ok, what have I got to lose ? I’m already losing my sanity with the life I’m living now.
September the 10th, the day before my 46th birthday, check in time 10.00am, my brother in law drove me there. Total silence in the car all the way! I was told it’s not the best idea to have a drink before going in as they breathalise you as part of the admittance process, but thinking I would be in a substance free environment for my birthday I had a few beers the night before to make me sleep ! On arrival I was expecting 3 or 4 eight feet tall meatheads with a grimacing look on their face indicating you’re not going to f*** around in here boy !
How wrong was I! Every thought I had for the week leading up ebbed away in around 5 minutes!
You are welcomed, given a brew, told if you want a smoke before you are checked in you can smoke there, if you want another brew just give us a shout !
Then a check up, really happy I didn't have a drink before I went in, as I was given my meds soon after being admitted.
Then to my room, actually I was pleasantly surprised ! You have your own key, bed, table, chair a wardrobe and an en-suite shower room. Bag unpacked, I went outside to the smoking area, where there were around a dozen people joking and having a laugh. They actually seemed happy there was a newbie ! After 2 minutes I forgot everyone’s name, but that didn't matter ! We were all talking as if we knew each other from years ago ! All in the same boat ! No airs and graces ! It is what it is ! I was fine with that, I felt happy and not alone.
Within an hour you know where everything is, the goings on etc, and my nerves had calmed down and all my misconceptions had disappeared ! I thought before I went in I would sit in my room and read or just watch films on my laptop ! But yep ! Wrong again ! I loved just having the banter with everyone, no shame here, just people wanting to get better !
You have a key worker when you are in, you can talk whenever you want, and nothing is too much trouble ! My worker was Ceri, a totally brilliant person who would talk, laugh and just make sure you're ok.
Your meds are set daily, same times every day, so you feel reassured you will feel alright through the day.
There are two group meetings a week if you want to attend - N/A one night and A/A another night, not in the building you're in but in the centre on the grounds, with the public going to meet and talk too, so if you attend any of the groups you can carry on during your stay, it’s not compulsory.
You can take your mobile with you if you like; there is also internet access during the day.
Within 3 days we ended up on the sofas in the TV room watching films, eating take away pizza, Doritos and dips. We? my new friends. I think there were about 8 of us the first movie night, that number grew every day, I say we ordered pizza, but that’s not taking away the fact the food you are given is second to none ! Real restaurant quality.
If you run out of anything you need, you have two options, there is a shop run most days, staff and volunteers go to the supermarket for you and get what you need, alternatively you can receive parcels from family or loved ones, it will be checked when you open it, but hey !
My family sent me a box full of sweets, crisps and chocolate, didn't last long though ha ha. One lad said I love them ! I will swap you a Mars bar for a pack of Scampi Fries? Job done. After around a week of being there, and a week clean I actually started to feel a buzz that I hadn't felt for years ! A natural high ! How bizarre !
But I did start to feel a little sad for a couple of days though. I had met some great people and some were going home. I met some people in Hafan Wen who I will class a friend for life, the second reason I felt the blues ? This is a crazy thought ! I don’t want to go home, well not just yet anyway ?
Not wanting to leave ? WTF ? I didn't want to come in !