My Life Has Changed for the Better:
Having been in recovery now since 2004, I can honestly say my life has changed for the better in so many ways. I was, as it is sometimes described, "a functioning alcoholic", (we are all functioning at some point aren’t we?), which in itself is a bit of an oxymoron. I had a job, my family was still with me and I owned a house. Of course, all of it hanging by a very thin thread.
When I finally admitted to myself that I had a problem, AND asked for help, I was fortunate enough to get into the treatment program at Bellwood. My recovery process started, and as I accepted that I am an addict/alcoholic, life became so much easier to live, and to be part of. Anxieties left me, I became a caring person again, selfishness faded away, I became a better father and husband and more productive at work. In other words, I have become a caring human being and part of society again.
These days, life IS beautiful. Of course, it is not all a bed of roses just because I am in recovery, but the difference now is that I have the coping skills to deal with situations instead of fleeing from them by using drugs or alcohol. As long as I remember whom I am and what I am, and deal with my feelings and situations honestly, I will not use alcohol or drugs. To do that, I make sure I talk to other people in recovery on a regular basis. If I don't, I will go back to using, and I certainly don't want to do that, because that was a very, very dark place.
PS. I still have my family, house and job.
A Launching Pad to a Life Free of Compulsion and Addiction:
Before my time at Bellwood, my life was truly unmanageable. I was unable to go to work, I was a complete recluse, I spent tons of money on food and did not engage in any activities that I used to enjoy.
The Eating Disorder Treatment Program at Bellwood has truly changed my life. The goal is to treat the whole person and through a combination of structured eating, group and individual therapy, access to acupuncture/massage, daily lectures, as well as art and music therapy, Bellwood helped me tackle my issues from all directions. But it is not just the strong programming that makes Bellwood the success that it is. Bellwood's success is primarily due to the outstanding professionals on staff that provide a safe, caring and compassionate environment in which to begin the healing journey.
Since leaving Bellwood, I use structured eating techniques, I have developed a supportive network of caring individuals, I look forward to social outings with friends and I have developed a passion for art that inspires me daily. I still struggle, but I often refer back to what I learned at Bellwood and it has certainly been my launching pad to a life free of compulsion and addiction.
Thank you, Bellwood, for your guidance as I work towards a life free from my eating disorder.
Once Again a Role Model to My Family:
Low self esteem combined with high work stress, a sense of personal failure and a heavy dose of intellectualization to bring me almost to my drinking bottom when I came to Bellwood. There I learned much about myself and acquired many tools to handle my addiction, including a support network of fellow addicts. After Bellwood, I lapsed once and really hit my bottom in the detox centre; but the tools, self awareness and the network which I found at Bellwood were part of the package which pulled me through. I am now happily approaching my fifth year celebration of sobriety and can once again be a role model to my family.
B of Ottawa
Life is Better on the Other Side:
By the time I got into Bellwood I was a stumbling, slurring mess; it took me 37 years to get there. As a lot of high functioning professionals, it was only when I started to malfunction, that I got scared, meanwhile I had caused unbearable suffering to my family and friends, but by that time, my feelings had died. However, with help from those very people that I had hurt, I checked into Bellwood.
I've been clean and sober for 6 1/2 years and I can honestly say Bellwood saved my life…I didn’t have another year in me. The care and understanding at this institution is astonishing.
I can honestly say that the 12 promises found in AA are actually unfolding for this addict. When I first read them, I really didn’t think they could apply to me, but they did. I never thought I would be recommending sobriety, but I can truly say that life is way better on the other side. Good luck.
A Journey with a Lot of Twists and Turns:
My drinking was out of control and my life in chaos. I was isolating from my family and friends to drink, damaging the important relationships in my life. I was avoiding life by numbing my feelings, both good and bad.
Bellwood taught me that alcoholism is a disease and truly jump-started my recovery by stressing the importance of balance for my physical, mental, social and spiritual self. The Bellwood Aftercare Program keeps me connected with my Bellwood experience. Coupled with Alcoholics Anonymous, today I live a sober, loving and service oriented life.
My recovery is a journey with lots of twists and turns along the road. Sobriety allowed me to start that journey and the 12 Step Program provides me with insights into myself, ways of making changes and equips me to better deal with the life obstacles in my path.
To remain sober and continue to move forward in my recovery, I need to guard against complacency. Now at 18 months sober, I realize that I must do more, rather than less, to strengthen my program, spiritual condition and quality of life.
I need to live one day at a time.
Bellwood Helped Me Build a Foundation for the Future:
To list the essential and practical ways in which Bellwood and it’s highly professional staff contributed to my recovery is somewhat like recovery itself - a basically simple and straightforward exercise. The tools, structure, information and daily guidance were all in place for me to take advantage of and help me build a foundation for the future. They showed me how to do the work. What is less obvious, and perhaps more important, was the continued contact, the building of relationships and the genuine interest I felt the program and staff had in me moving forward. My time in the program turned out to be only the beginning of my journey with Bellwood. The aftercare, counselling and opportunities for volunteer service have become an integral part of my recovery success. I believe, as someone who had tried everything imaginable to quit my addictions, that it was only through a balanced approach which stressed community and one’s place therein, that finally gave me a leg up on the baggage I carried. I tried, but could not will my addictions away. Bellwood’s program has helped me implement a 180 degree turn in my life through an understanding that my problems were not unique and a shared solution was and is possible. My testimonial to you is that I wake up every morning, work hard, and thoroughly enjoy my life as I never thought possible. That pretty much says it all.
Bellwood Was an Excellent Experience that Saved My Life, Literally!:
I am a serving member of a large police force. In 2007, I was diagnosed with PTSD and took off seven months to try and regain control of my life. I was very anxious, distant from others spending much of my time isolated and alone. I was unable to get any sleep and I found myself sweating profusely for no reason at all. My social life at the time was pretty much non-existent. I had recurring intrusive thoughts of violent events I was involved in prior to being diagnosed. These events were in my thoughts on a regular basis but after my time off, I felt I could live a calmer life. I was offered the services of Bellwood but I declined because I was too proud and my ego was in full swing. In 2009, my symptoms returned stronger than ever. I coped by drinking, and this created much distance from my spouse. The intrusive thoughts were consuming my time and my hyper-vigilance was extreme. I was back to isolating and was fully disconnected from anyone. I was so anxious, I felt cold sensations. I would not go where there was any sort of crowd and I was constantly hyper-vigilant of people around me. I wore a mask to prevent others from seeing the pain I was in. Nearing the end, I drank every day just to try and stay level. My symptoms were out of control to the point where I was both suicidal and homicidal. I was out of touch. Bellwood was again offered and I took the opportunity to regain control of myself. My partner left me because of my inability to stop drinking or control myself.
Now it is 2013, I am still a serving member with the same police force. I have the appropriate medications to manage my symptoms and to get the sleep needed to be in a good state of recovery. Most days are fine but I still have to self-monitor myself daily, which I can now do effectively. I have learned healthy coping skills which I turn to when I can feel my symptoms coming on. In terms of recovery, I go to AA meetings three times per week, I have two PTSD physicians who I speak to on a regular basis and an addictions counsellor who is very helpful. Although I don't like it, I have the capacity to be in a crowd without spending all my time scanning people. I still see others as danger but I am able to ground myself when I begin to feel anxious. I do not drink anymore and this is vital so I can feel my PTSD coming on. I have shared my story with others and have a social life that is healthy and rewarding. I don't wear a "happy mask" anymore and I am able to tell others when they are triggering me instead of isolating. Overall, my support system and friends are very helpful and see me as a courageous individual fighting an illness that brought me to my knees.
Bellwood Health Services was critical to my survival. The staff are very caring and listen to their clients. The staff do what they say they will do and they take the time to be available. Their professional experiences have helped me to live a life that is healthy and happy. The PTSD program and addiction programs are excellent and without their expertise, I would not be here to write this testimonial. I would recommend their services to anyone who suffers from PTSD or any addiction.
The PTSD program involves group sessions and various other sessions which taught me how to cope and ground myself when my symptoms started. The skills are simple and work! The program offers clients the opportunity to move forward at their own pace, there is no forcing of any kind. However, there are guidelines and work to do. The expectation is the client will make the effort and do the work to better themselves. The staff was always there when I needed support and I will forever be grateful for their care.
The addictions program was excellent. It involved lectures from skilled doctors who specialize in addictions. There are AA meetings on a regular basis for support. The group work was excellent for me and allowed me to conduct a full investigation of myself. In my case, involved dealing with the addiction because it was alcohol that prevented me from understanding how to deal with the deeper issue of PTSD. The staff were excellent and very supportive.
I recently attended Bellwood’s mini-treatment aftercare program. This was an excellent couple days which brought me right back to my positive time at Bellwood. There were doctor sessions and group sessions which allowed the client to share their experiences since they graduated. I have brought home three techniques which I did not know so I have gained further knowledge for my own aftercare at home.
Overall, Bellwood was an excellent experience that saved my life, literally!
Life as it Was and Living in the Now:
By the time I was finally ready to seek help, I was drinking first thing in the morning to combat the shakes and chase the hangover away. I was able to function at my job, but I was only working half a day. I got drunk every day. I passed out often, skipped out on family functions. My reactions were over the top due to drinking. Or I wouldn't react at all. Just go numb.
Now: It will be four years since I have had a drink on September 9th. My life is so different now, so much fuller, richer and happier. I learned great coping skills at Bellwood.
I hit glitches in life, but rather than fall into self-pity I sought help. My kids are doing great. One of my kids has graduated from University and about to move out into her own place, the other is on the dean's list in his last year of University. Our relationship is great. We played scrabble on Christmas Eve, and I thought of Bellwood.
I have stuck with the strategy of setting goals for myself. I owe so much to the people at Bellwood. Not just the doctors, therapists, but also to the fellow clients. I'm really grateful that I have this second chance at life; it is so wonderful to be sober. The whole world is opened up for me.
I Can’t Wait for the Next Adventure!:
I was in a very unhealthy marriage. My husband was domineering, a bully, and controlling. As hard as I could, nothing very seemed good enough for him. Our whole life circled around his career. It didn’t matter how I wanted to live my life. Instead of standing up for myself, I basically gave him permission to break my spirit. In response to my profound unhappiness I began to drink to escape and that landed me up into detox five times and three rehabs including Bellwood. My husband left me the day I got out of my first rehab. I came home on Thanksgiving weekend 2009 with my husband of 18 years gone. No note. Just booze everywhere.
As of April 11, 2013, I’m nine months sober. The AA promises are being fulfilled. What once baffled me I can handle easily. I’ve been able to travel extensively and go to meetings internationally. I’m back at work, going to lots of meetings, AA & NA conferences, getting a Culinary Arts Professional Fromage certificate at George Brown College. I now have lots of friends in recovery. I can’t wait for the next adventure.
Bellwood was my third treatment centre in three years. I enjoyed my experience at Bellwood because of its holistic approach. Emphasis on nutrition, physical activities, meditation, relapse prevention, goal setting, and PAWS (Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms) topped with a long-term Aftercare program were crucial to me success in sobriety.
- Beverly B.
Aftercare Was a Vital Extension of My Inpatient Program:
I knew I needed help desperately. My life was completely out of control and I was slowly dying from my alcohol abuse. I had become totally isolated and drinking constantly which in the end caused me alcoholic seizures and constant blackouts. I could not stop drinking which lead me to feel helpless, hopeless and in the end completely suicidal.
I cannot say enough about my experience at Bellwood. I was so broken emotionally, physically and spiritually before I entered Bellwood. Bellwood being a treatment centre which provided me with education, nutrition, emotional and psychical rehabilitation in a safe environment especially since I had had childhood trauma, literally saved my life.
I have been sober for since July 23, 2007. I am now living life on life’s terms, reaching out for help when I need it and living one day at a time. I have my family back in my life and now they come to me for emotional support and guidance instead of them being the parent and me being the sick child. My children ask me to help other people in their lives with substance abuse problems. I refer those still suffering addicts to Bellwood and share my experience in treatment as the most important thing I have ever done in my life.
The Aftercare Program at Bellwood was my life line in maintaining my continued sobriety. In the program I received continual support and guidance from my recovery counselor. My Tuesday night group was a place where I could share honestly in a safe and supportive environment. For me it was a vital extension of my inpatient program.