Recovery Journey #1
— 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 # 2
— 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 #3
— 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.
I tried rehab's twice, but I couldn't do them as rehab's will teach you structure, but there's no healing for me.
I am now Asymptomatic from all the diagnosis because of counselling and the emotional healing. And I have been walking free from all addiction for nearly two years now and I am happiest I've ever been.
He has taught me the tool's I needed to walk free and to be authentically me. So I would recommend sam to anyone and everyone. He really has helped me and taught me so much about just being me. And truly you won't fins a more compassionate man than Sam Skillen"
Recovery Journey #4
— Chris, Construction worker —
” First met Sam for counselling back in April 2018 after a struggle with stimulant use, and the road I was going down was to my demise. And at the time, I didn’t care about about death. Sam made me realise that I am loved by my family, and I want to grow old now. I appreciate what I have.
I didn’t face major thing in my life loosing my parents to cancer at a young age, just sticking a plaster on it with drink and drugs. That just made things worse.
I am working through this pain with Sam Skillen and it’s a journey I am privileged to share with Sam.
One more thing, just like to say thank you for saving me pal.
What a relief when you share a deep problem, it just takes the load off your brain.
Did bodybuilding competition this year, lost 5 stone. Did not place on the day, but 24 years out of the sport what did I expect. But throughly enjoyed the experience and didn’t look out of place up there.
Gave me focus on short and long term goals and the health benefits are enormous.”
Recovery Journey # 5
— Neil —
"Having been on this journey with Sam since mid 2017, the support I’ve received and what he’s helped me learn about myself has been invaluable. Sam’s experience, positivity, compassion and relatability is what sets him apart, and has had such a positive impact on my life - I feel blessed to have him in my corner and supporting me on my journey. "