A testimonial from Mattias, 28
It all started very innocently. In third grade, there was a classmate in my class who sometimes smoked a joint. He offered it to me and my best friend and we decided to do it once. After this one joint soon came another. In a few months, I had evolved from smoking a few joints a week to using daily. I had a difficult home situation and soon I noticed that using cannabis helped me forget my worries and numb my negative feelings. This was a very big advantage for me at the time. Soon, the use began to escalate to the extent that my school career also began to suffer. As a result, in the fourth and sixth high school, I was left behind due to excessive use. Yet at that time, I didn't really realise it was that dangerous. I just kept using. I constantly rationalised my use, it was only cannabis, it's a plant, etc.... soon I also started experimenting with other drugs, especially at parties. I used LSD a few times, and also speed and MDMA. However, these drugs were rather sporadic and always party-related. While cannabis smoking was on a daily basis at home, or while gaming. I also started doing this on my own more and more often. People around me sometimes started mentioning that my use was a lot, but I didn't want to hear anything about this.
After my school career, I soon started working at my first steady job. I was a pro at hiding my use and then at work they didn't realise anything for the first few years. Until I started using other substances. I came into contact with cocaine. Many people around me were doing it and soon I tried it too. I was hooked almost immediately. I started doing it more and more often. First only at weekends, then regularly during the week. But I always did it with someone, never alone, for many years. At that time, my family didn't notice because I was hardly ever at home. I was either working at my regular job, or at my second job I did in the catering industry. This was the perfect cover for my use. I also used to lie to my parents about everything, telling the truth myself. However, they were so gullible that they often didn't look for anything behind it. I also became very verbally aggressive towards my mother if I saw them at all, because she saw that I was putting so much money on and kept bringing this up. I just wanted to do my own thing. Even now, I still didn't realise I had a problem, " everyone around me does it" , " you're only young once" etc... that's how I told myself bladders for years. I kept this up for a few years anyway. Until at some point I got into an argument with my girlfriend. She told me I had a problem and that she wanted me to stop. I tried to do this but to no avail, I started lying even more and doing everything on the sly. I lied about everything. About money matters, about where I had been.... I also started using cocaine alone this time. I even used at work. After numerous predicaments, I really started to realise that I had a problem. I was so ashamed of this that I started using more and more. Soon I was using daily. That's when I first started seeking help. First only with a psychologist, but this didn't help. After I noticed myself that it couldn't go on like this, I started looking for admission. I found nothing without endless waiting times, apart from a crisis admission to the psychiatric hospital in Sleidinge. Here I spent eight days. After this admission, I signed up for a cocaine programme at the Kiem in gent. This lasted 6 months, of the 6 months I managed to stay clean of cocaine for 4 months. But my cannabis use was still daily. Even then, I didn't really realise what addiction really meant. After I also used a few times back, the old behaviour soon resurfaced, I started lying and cheating again. I isolated myself more and more. I still managed to "control" it more or less during this time, or at least this was what I told myself. So me and my girlfriend bought a house during this period.
After a few months of being able to keep my use hidden, I fell through anyway. I was faced with a choice by my girlfriend, either I go into a real hospital and do something about my problem or it was over between us. Even my parents, who over the years had also started to notice something, had had enough. I was faced with a choice. I decided to do something about it. However, it was by chance that I ended up at Affect2U. I actually wanted to go to Africa, but then I came upon Affect2U. A 12-step clinic, which I had never heard of before. I decided to give it a chance. Partly with in the back of my mind still thinking "I'm doing this for my family and friend, and then just continue how I was doing". I thought maybe I was going to magically learn to control my use.
Soon I came to realise that the disease addiction was something that could not be cured and that I would have to build a life in which I try to keep myself safe from using. At Affect2U, I changed as a person, on so many levels. I learned to be honest and sincere, I learned to accept my guilt and shame as things that happened partly because of my addiction. That I was not responsible for being addicted, but I am responsible for my recovery and of what I will make of it. What my future life will look like. Through the many sessions and wisdom I took with me in Affect2U, I quickly changed as a person. I started dreaming again, I started feeling again and I got to know the real ME. This is something I had lost for years. My family and friends were also very well supported and we bonded again. Confidence returned, both in my family and in myself. The greatest gift Affect2U has given me is hope. Hope that I can live with the disease and no longer have to use. This will not come naturally, but with the necessary work, it is possible. They put me in touch with NA. Which to this day is still the foundation of my recovery.
Even in my time after the clinic, I have stayed in touch, this still helps me to this day to make the right choices and continue to grow as a person. I can continue to work on my underlying issues and get professional advice on so many aspects of my recovery and my life. I know that if I keep pushing my own opinion and self-will, I will probably end up back in places I don't want to end up. Therefore, it is very important to me that I can share everything with a counsellor and they can give their objective and thoughtful advice. This is what I always draw back to. Even if I still make wrong choices, they help me to see what the possible danger behind it is or what I should best do differently in the future. Life is a big learning process, but with a good teacher I can receive and apply most of the knowledge properly.
Numerous things have already changed in my life, it has not always been smooth sailing and I have made many mistakes. But all these things have made me smarter. I went into withdrawal a second time after I got back in the grip of my addiction. But this time I did it for myself, and was not pushed by anyone to do this. This was a huge difference for me and now I want nothing more than to go through life clean and sober. Life is so beautiful in recovery, I can enjoy the little things in life. Very beautiful things are also coming my way, just by being clean. I have a good relationship with my family, girlfriend and friends. At work, they know about my problems and support me in this. I can be open and honest with everyone. What also supports me enormously is that I am part of a fellowship, a fellowship in which there are only people with the same problem. I can always get support from these people. I do meetings and work on myself on a daily basis. this helps me grow in my recovery. I can no longer imagine life without it. I have found genuine happiness.
After reading this article, if you have any questions about a residential admission Do not hesitate to contact us via email or call: +32 (0) 480 67 40 18.