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Recovery Journey #1

— Harri Mac —

"I got introduced to Sam 9 months ago through group counselling sessions at a christian rehab facility for drug and alcohol.  I was extremely jubious and adamant I wasn't going to open up to this butch, tattooed man, as I had past experience's of men abusing this.   My false self belief I told myself that he was going to break my trust.  


Needless to say within about 10 minutes Sam had dug deep through carefully questioning me and started to open old wounds, old hurts, old traumas, of which i have had a few.  Now I haven't written this as a competition of who's trauma is the worst but merely to emphasis the fact that talking, opening up, becoming vulnerable in a safe place where respect is mutually given, and by a person who wants to earn your trust. 

The first trauma I developed crippled me since the 7th of July 2005, when I witnessed the 7/7 bus bombing at Tavistock Square whilst bunking off school at 12 years of age because of bullying.  I refused wherever possible to not go on public transport, especially when I lived in London; and never on my own.

 

Whenever public transport was forced, I self soothed firstly with food, then I moved rapidly on to alcohol, weed and cocaine and later pregrabs and whatever I could get my hands on.


Through deep talks, trauma work and plenty of tissues and expletives, I was able to process and file this situation away and allow my self to come to the realisation that although this happened to me, it's not happening now.  Sam safley pushed me, he belived in me and encouraged me.  He made me come to the new the belief that I could go on public transport on my own again.  I, with Sam's help, am no longer bound to walking everywhere and I have felt like my world has opened up for the first time almost 20 years.  I am now booking weekends away, through London, on trains and busses on my own and confidentially know that I am safe. 

Another one of my main traumas that impacted my life on so many levels was the one of being abused on a residential trip.  This further engrained my trust issues with men even further, as well as other false beliefs. My trust with my parents became non-existent because I was unheard, i was left feeling unloved, unwanted, abandoned, dirty.  I truly belived I was worthless. 

During my rehab programme I had to go on an activity weekend with the project, this mimicked the environment of abuse in multiple ways and the fear of something bad happening again was very real.  I had anxiety attacks before going, and even on the first couple of days, but with the help of Sam and my support network from the rehab; and their common passion for guiding people through life, I was able to get some extra  sessions with Sam to help me implement some of the techniques taught to me through these sessions with him. 


With that, extra self care and self kindness, and having a healthy respect for the trauma, I managed to get through the residential trip.  Even when another hurdle came up I realised I was able to forgive that teacher for what he did to me. I was forgiving him for me and my freedom. 

Sam has been life changing for me on so many levels, not only by addresing the traumas, by giving me practical and useful tools like breathing work, journalling and by helping me trust my decision making, finding out who I really am and loving myself; as well as having assertiveness to implement boundaries to keep me safe. 

Being able to love myself for the first time since I can remember is an amazing new life I have come to enjoy. 

If anyone is dubious about going to counselling just ask Sam for a chat and his words filled with love, compassion and encouragement will change your life. For this reason, Sam will always be in my life in some capacity. "

Recovery Journey #2

— Fiona, HR Manager —

Throughout my life I have been to see a number of counsellors at different points, and explored CBT, hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and family therapy alongside numerous antidepressants, self help techniques and research to try and understand why I felt and acted the way I did. Why I used and abused alcohol, why I couldn’t stop at one, why it always lead to a blackout and why it consumed my thoughts and actions for so long.

 

While I could have been considered a high functioning “alcoholic” with a few successful stints at abstinence under my belt, I couldn’t remember the last time I was happy and not just going through the motions of life. Externally there would be seldom clues of the dysfunctional thoughts and behaviours I emitted behind closed doors, but those closest to me would bare the brunt of my inability to cope and manage my addiction. And that hurt me deeply. 

Exhausted from being in constant pain, shame, guilt and depression I tried to take my life in June and ended up in hospital for a short stay, after leaving a week later I b-lined to turning point thinking their expertise on alcohol would signpost me in the right direction for change, but was turned away because I didn’t fit into their model of dependence and I was pointed back to the doctors, who put me on a long waiting list for CBT and given diazepam and advice to return for a check in a few weeks later.

In desperation, this is when I found Sam, in July 2018.  It is now November 2018 and I am sitting writing this testimonial 80 days sober and more present, happy and at peace than I have been at any memorable point in my life.

On our first meeting I remember that I was convinced that a pill for forced abstinence would solve all of my issues. I hadn’t went to see Sam to treat my depression, or anxiety or hurt, I had went to stop using alcohol, to eliminate those behaviours and in doing so be “cured”. I can sit here and laugh at the naivety of this statement now I understand the work behind true recovery.

What I was met with was genuine understanding and compassion beyond anything I had experienced previously. There was no shame or guilt in the room and for the first time in 31 years I felt understood, safe and like there was some hope for recovery beyond putting a plaster over the pain.   

Sam has worked with me intensely for the last 4 months to address the trauma and hurt that was causing my alcohol abuse, rather than just tackling the drinking itself, his holistic and compassionate approach to recovery has given me the tools, not only to cope with life without drink, but set me free from my past traumas which stopped me from being present and at peace.

I am still a work in progress, but I no longer need alcohol.  I am present.  I am aware, and I am HAPPY.  

Without Sam’s expertise, compassion and understanding to guide me on this recovery journey I whole heartedly believe that I would have continued in a destructive cycle of self-loathing, revictimization and alcohol abuse for years to come.

 

I have learnt that recovery in its true form would is not possible without self awareness, self worth and deep work into the causes of your trauma and while there is still a long way to go, I know I am on the right journey thanks to Sam. “

Recovery Journey #3

— Emily Jane —

"

I have done a fair amount of therapy and attended al-anon for a number of years and mentally felt like I had dealt with most of my trauma. But something still didn’t feel right and needed what felt like deeper healing. 

 

Growing up I witnessed domestic violence and my dad left  when I was 4 years old. This gave me an array of issues of not feeling loved, feeling abandoned and unsure of my value as a person. I later went on to marry a drug addict and years later this ended in divorce. I knew that I was still going after the same kind of chaotic relationships and couldn’t work out what this deep sadness was that I was carrying around in the pit of my stomach. I have always felt that I am a strong minded person and yes I went through stuff but thought “I’m alright now”, but the feelings were still there and would show their ugly heads at moments in my life.  Whether that would be in arguments with people I loved or when I was in a loving situation not being able to really enjoy the moment. 

 

At the start of the therapy I didn’t believe I would get too much out of it because of all the work I had already done but this EMDR stuff hits differently!! Through the work with Sam we quickly found that I was a carrying a deep belief that I felt that I was unlovable and these relationships I was going into were confirming this belief in me. I’ve never experienced therapy where you get to the root of the problem so quickly and safely. It has always felt daunting to dig too deep into this and I often just dealt with the surface feelings around it. But Sam digs deeper. He makes sure you feel safe and guides you to and through it. 

 

These last few months I can say have changed my life. I actually felt the physical feeling of the trauma leave my body. 

 

I now no longer have this belief. All of my other issues are starting to disappear because we struck it at the core. I am now in the healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in and feel secure in myself. 

 

Sam, I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done for me! "

Recovery Journey #4

— Alastaire, Manager —

I have always enjoyed a beer, ever since I was a small boy my dad used to give me a little bit of his whilst we were playing bingo down the working men club in the late 80s and early 90’s; the taste for it stuck with me through my teens – who doesn’t right? Starting adulthood it become the normal thing to have a couple or three beers after work, set in stone; regardless of a bad day or a good day, it was routine and generally always had a proper ‘Session’ on a Friday or Saturday night. I really enjoyed those times, always having a laugh with Friends and socialising, dancing, doing silly things – part of growing up it they call it I guess.

 

I thought turning 30 would mean I calmed down and become a ‘proper’ adult, I was now a father to a little baby girl; did the drinking after work and the Friday/Saturday night sessions calm down? Stop? No, quite the opposite, I put it down to feeling stressed and pressured by becoming a new dad, it seemed like I couldn’t handle it properly and used ‘a few beers’ as my release mechanism; I did eventually calm down but was still in the habit of a couple after work but this was fine as I wasn’t hurting anyone and not being stupid; until Covid hit.

We all know Covid in the UK started to become a concern around February 2020 and entering lockdown in early March, I was told to work from; which I did so happily – I’d never worked from home before and loved the idea of it! Finishing work at 4pm, beer in hand at 4:01pm – what was there not to like hey? Even the sun was out; summer had come early! This was where the drinking really started; finishing work, sitting in the garden, tunes blaring, drinking can after can – I didn’t have to get up for work early in the morning, or drive. Getting out of bed at 7.50 in the morning, quick shower & brush my teeth; start work at 8am easy! This routine continued for about 9 months; I’d put on loads of weight, was looking tired and un-kept (usually pride myself on being clean shaven, fresh looking and smart).

I was told to return to work, I was genuinely happy to return in early 2021 but I was returning to the brand new headquarters; exciting times! it was this building I was employed to look after and oversee, my new job was another level but one that I knew I could do with the right support & guidance. Two key words there. Support & Guidance. During the first few months I felt I was not getting the support and guidance I needed to do the job well – I was being bashed from pillar to post from internal manager to high ranking client management; I couldn’t handle it to be honest. I did ask for help from line managers but was constantly told a person in my position shouldn’t need support; so that was that!

There was a pub around the corner so a few of my colleague used to go there most days after work for couple (going was dependant on if I needed to pick the kiddies up from school and nursery), having a beer after work never felt so good; the relief of leaving work and taking my mind off it was great, only problem was it was only for a short period – more beer was needed! After being told I was not performing in my role and I wasn’t good enough, the drinking became relentless, I was proper binge drinking now. Every single day after work via the pub, anything from 4 to 10 cans a night, constantly – but not lager, IPA’s that had strong ABV’s; I loved them – very tasty, not gassy.

My relationship was now suffering; it had been for a while if I’m honest but took an incident in the local pub in August 2022 for it to come to head; I came home in an ambulance, busted nose and pissed up. I shouldn’t have even been in the pub – a week before me and my partner had had words about my drinking; I agreed it had to stop but a week later after going 7-days without a beer, I went to the pub to celebrate being abstinent for 7 days! I was kicked out for a couple of days; after shed loads of tears and grovelling, my partner decided to give me a chance to rectify things on the condition I seek help with my drinking; enter Samuel....

I found Samuel details online like most of us and after my first conversation with him I knew he would be good for me; really considerate and understanding of what I had told him and he said he could help me.

 

My first session with Sam was very intriguing; I was initially thinking how on earth is he going to help me? But wow, so easy to talk to with and he manages to get the ‘bad thought’s’ that are buried and suppressed in your mind and body out of your system; after 3 sessions I felt brilliant – just the release and having Sam listen to me and provide his thoughts was a huge help to stop me continuing the constant cycle of self-destruction through drink. 

We did something called EMDR therapy which is truly outstanding; at first you feel rather silly and maybe even cynical but the emotions he pulled from me and redirect them in my mind was simply amazing; I can now talk openly about the bad things that have happened without being upset and wanting to suppress them by drinking.

I now have new lease of life, new and positive habits than benefit my mind and body, this new me is all down to Sam’s personality, compassion and care.

I’m not out of the woods yet, I still have to re-integrate back into socialising again but I’m massively positive about the future and that will continue to form part of my recovery. I’m not going to say I’ll never drink again as I feel that would be foolish and put unnecessary pressure on myself but what I do know is that I don’t want a drink and feel the need to go for a beer and I know that the coping mechanisms taught by Sam will continue to benefit me going forward, taking away the anger and pressures I’ll naturally come across in future, I can’t wait to continue this journey Sam has put me on.

In a nutshell; I cannot recommend Sam highly enough, if you’re struggling with any kind of addiction Sam is your man. It’s long and daunting road but it need not be, he will help you and give you the confidence to pursue your life without fear. You’re not alone and he’ll help you be your best version.

Recovery Journey #5

— Jemima  —

I have done a fair amount of therapy and attended al-anon for a number of years and mentally felt like I had dealt with most of my trauma. But something still didn’t feel right and needed what felt like deeper healing. 

 

Growing up I witnessed domestic violence and my dad left  when I was 4 years old. This gave me an array of issues of not feeling loved, feeling abandoned and unsure of my value as a person. I later went on to marry a drug addict and years later this ended in divorce. I knew that I was still going after the same kind of chaotic relationships and couldn’t work out what this deep sadness was that I was carrying around in the pit of my stomach. I have always felt that I am a strong minded person and yes I went through stuff but thought “I’m alright now”, but the feelings were still there and would show their ugly heads at moments in my life.  Whether that would be in arguments with people I loved or when I was in a loving situation not being able to really enjoy the moment. 

 

At the start of the therapy I didn’t believe I would get too much out of it because of all the work I had already done but this EMDR stuff hits differently!! Through the work with Sam we quickly found that I was a carrying a deep belief that I felt that I was unlovable and these relationships I was going into were confirming this belief in me. I’ve never experienced therapy where you get to the root of the problem so quickly and safely. It has always felt daunting to dig too deep into this and I often just dealt with the surface feelings around it. But Sam digs deeper. He makes sure you feel safe and guides you to and through it. 

 

These last few months I can say have changed my life. I actually felt the physical feeling of the trauma leave my body. 

 

I now no longer have this belief. All of my other issues are starting to disappear because we struck it at the core. I am now in the healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in and feel secure in myself. 

 

Sam, I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done for me! 

Recovery Journey #6

— Wayne, Graphic Designer —

"Sam and I have been working together for just over a year now, since December 2021. Reaching out and committing to our sessions has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in a very, very long time – the improvements I’ve made during this time are unlike anything I’ve managed to achieve on my own, it’s been brilliant.

 

I have struggled with substance abuse for years, and although I managed to put the worst of it behind me several years ago, I could never quite shut the door on it, despite my best attempts and various means. My situation started to deteriorate during the pandemic and I felt myself going back to bad habits and behaviours, losing a grip on what I had been building for myself over the previous five years or so. Sam gave me the support, tools, and strength to claim my life back, and has filled me with a confidence I don’t think I’ve ever truly had.

 

There’s still some work to be done as dependency issues don’t just go away, but I feel I’m far better equipped to deal with the future and what it may bring. My partner, friends, and family have all commented on the difference in me over the last year, and I'm so much happier and stable than I was. Work is going well, I'm studying in the evenings too now, my financial situation is improving - the impact has been huge. I couldn’t recommend Sam more highly. It’s been a life changing experience."

Recovery Journey #7

— Lucy, Marketing—

I was first asked if I’d experienced trauma years ago. I considered the therapist to be a bit ‘out there’ and I hadn’t been able to connect with her. Frankly, I thought she was way off with her suspicion.

Something had happened but I didn’t label it as traumatic as I blamed myself. I felt I deserved my suffering.

As a child, I did something I felt was wrong and I attempted to confide in a caregiver. I was searching for compassion, acceptance, reassurance, guidance and love. But my feelings were dismissed in favour of my sibling’s.  The response, just one sentence, seems so small. Certainly not traumatic. ‘I don’t want your sister to be affected by this’. But it changed everything. How I behaved, how I felt, what I believed. 

For years I used alcohol to numb the pain and tune out so much distress I'd felt all these years. I contacted Samuel to find out if he could support me with my problem drinking. It’s something we rarely discuss during sessions but it’s a relief to know he understands and doesn’t judge.

With Samuel's help, I now know that my suffering wasn’t related to what I thought I'd done wrong. It was caused by the lack of care in the response I received when trying to make sense of it and unburden myself. Because of that, I would go through most of my life feeling guilty, ashamed and that I was a bad person, unworthy of love.

Before finding Samuel, I received therapy from various female professionals over the years. I felt they would be more understanding. That there’d be some unspoken affinity between us. But nothing they said or did helped long-term.  I was sceptical that Samuel would be able to help me and shared my concerns with him at our first session. It’s not that I doubted his ability. I thought I was beyond help. Plus, I was nervous about opening up to a male therapist for the first time.

Through gentle, compassionate support, I discovered I wasn't traumatised by what I did. I had actually forgiven myself. It was the response I received. And I don't place any blame on my caregiver. I am emotional writing this. Samuel has been a lifeline. He has helped me with my historic trauma, and also during what has been the most difficult year of my life. He is selfless. He doesn’t just talk the talk. He lives his values and is teaching me to do the same.

Today I am clean and sober.  I don’t consider myself to be ‘finished’, but I’m learning that none of us ever is. And with the support and guidance of someone like Samuel, anything is possible."

Recovery Journey #8

— Gina, Executive Student—

I have just had my last counselling session with Sam, what a journey it has been! When I first started counselling with Sam i was in a broken mess. I was in rehab after admitting I needed help getting clean but I also knew I needed help staying clean and that involved having to talk about my past. That's where addiction comes from. We use too soothe....

I will say that I have had 430 hours of sessions with previous counsellors who have all said that I was beyond help or that they couldn't work with me. But not Sam he was the first person who agreed to help me. He made me feel safe and I could open up to him. I have CPTSD which I have because I have been through all types of abuse and neglect. I had flashbacks everyday multiple times and I always wanted to run. I hated myself and I even thought I was cursed. But while working with Sam he helped me to release my trauma, identify how I was feeling and ground myself. He taught me self care and love myself. He also taught me how to turn off the fight or flight mode so I know longer needed or wanted to run. He helped me regulate my emotions and connect to inner self again.

Revisiting my trauma was hard and I had flashbacks in the room but I always felt safe and came away feeling better than when I went in. And well today I know who I am, I have self worth, I don't have flash backs, I love myself, I know how I feel and can specify it straight away. The pain from my traumas has healed and I am clean. I have a purpose today and I positive outlook on my future. Sam has given me the tools to help myself so if your thinking about working with him I 100% believe that you should, he helped me an he will help you too.

Recovery Journey #9

— Luke, Football Coach—

Hi Iam Luke Hickling, I suffered from drug and alcohol addiction for 14 years reaching out for help on many occasions and never finding a way to stay clean or understanding why I had to constantly changed the way I was feeling. 

 

It was in my second treatment centre I first met Sam in a group mindfulness session where in our seconded session found myself sharing through a lot of tears and feeling like a scared little boy to Sam and the group out loud about the abuse i had suffered at the age of 20. This was something i had kept inside and continued to use drug and alcohol on for many years! It was in those first group sessions that Sam had put me at complete ease and created a safe place for not only me but others as well to share safely.  After opening up we would go through different breathing exercises and grounding Tachiquins to close the session this would always leave me feeling a lot better and less stressed and anxious!  After a few more sessions it had become very clear that i was suffering from unresolved trauma.

 

The chance came up for me to do some one-on-one work with Sam outside the centre and i jumped at the chance after already knowing Sam and how he works it was and easy decision for me!  But most importantly trusting him and feeling completely safe and relaxed in his presence gave me real hope!

 

In our first session we got quickly got started on the trauma and revisiting that time while doing this with Sam i felt very comfortable   and safe at all times! Raw emotions came up and with Sam’s help i was able to sit with and really discover what them emotions and feelings were and where they had come from and work out weather these believes i had built up from these emotions were true and i can now positively say that they are not! After doing this i was able to return to the location of my abuse and sit there and feel that this event in my life had no power over me anymore and defiantly did not need to define the man i was today! 

 

With ongoing work with with Sam i now have solid list of core values witch i live my life by today. For the first time in so many years i can trust myself and my decision making which has allowed me to plan for a future in which i have now had the courage to change my job career and peruse a lifetime ambition! I can be a present farther, partner , son , brother, and friend to my loved ones and this is all done without a thought of using and mind-altering substances And most importantly I love my self! 

Recovery Journey #10

— Louise, Nurse —

After having numerous bouts of therapy in the past, Samuel has been the only one to make a significant impact. We have worked to unpick negative core beliefs with kindness and humour and this has enabled me to live a life with much less anxiety and much more acceptance and contentment. Samuel has managed to achieve what no other therapist has and I really couldn’t recommend him enough! 

Recovery Journey # 11

— Miles —

” I was very nervous to enter into counselling due to the stigma attached to it, at the same time feeling unwell and overwhelmed with life.  I was becoming more withdrawn from family and friends.  My mum suggested counselling as I had started using alcohol and stimulants (which I know now, was suppressing the emotional pain).

I was suffering with high anxiety and low moods, self medicating with alcohol and stimulants.

After working with Sam, I uncovered the real reason behind my substance misuse – past trauma in both child and adult experiences.  We were able to work through the deep emotional loss and pain, and work towards recovery.

It had been 60 days and life has changed for the positive.  I am getting to know the real me.  I have started going to the gym again and running.  I go for walks, getting in touch with nature as I remember how much I used to enjoy the outdoors.

 

I have now cleaned up my diet to eat healthier and better now too.  I passed my driving test and purchased a car, giving me more freedom and responsibility. My work has improved, along with my focus.  This is due to a great insight and self awareness.  I could not have achieved all of the above without facing the changes I made.

I enjoy mindfulness breathing that Sam taught me as one of the self help techniques during my counselling sessions.  I have learnt to reduce anxiety with this and feel a lot more courageous.  I am able to achieve more by using strategies that sam has taught me, such as breaking down tasks to achieve more results.

It has been really good to talk with Sam.  He never judged me and I felt heard. ”

Recovery Journey #12

— Katie Griffin —

” Hi, my name is Katie Griffin.  I used to be a opiate addict and alcoholic, was always in and out of jail for fighting.  I was diagnosed with PTSD, borderline personality disorder, sever depression and suicidal tendencies. 

 

I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for Sam and counselling.  I've never met a more compassionate man than Sam. Sam has enable me to walk free free from addiction, shame and guilt.  

 

The techniques Sam uses are so, so powerful.  I was so full of self hatred, but through this journey with Sam and his counselling has given me so much insight and depth of knowledge of myself and my emotions and my actions.  Because before I had no understanding of myself, I just knew I was in pain so I used drugs and alcohol to numb the pain and self sooth.