Interview with Simon and Peter Davies from Addiction Care
I am honoured to have the opportunity to interview Peter Davies, founder and owner of Addiction Care.
Addiction Care is a UK recovery clinic based in Guildford, Surrey.
I have known Peter for many years, he specialises in helping people recover from their addictions, whether it is alcohol, drugs, food, gambling or any other addiction he has the expertise to work with people to the point of recovery.
Peter has battled with his own addiction in the past and his story of recovery through to building his own business is fantastic.
Simon – Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to ask you a few questions. I would like to start by finding out more about your own addiction and how you managed to recover?
Peter – I drank for over 25 years, heavily throughout and to extreme in the last 5 years. During the last 5 years of my drinking I also found cocaine and was using 4 grams per day for over 3 years. Like all addictions when you are “using” even though intellectually you know you need to stop – emotionally you can’t. I entered rehab at the age of 45. My last drink or drug was on the 9th February 2002. If I make it to this February 2019 I will be 17 years without a drink or a drug. When I left rehab I concentrated on Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous for support – for the first 10 years I averaged 4 meetings a week – now in year 17 I do 1 or 2 meetings a week. Not because I am going to drink – it’s because I don’t want to drink!!
Simon – In your profession you meet many people with a variety of addictions, are some addictions harder to kick than others? If so, which ones and why?
Peter – All addictions are hard to beat – by definition. I think the hardest ones are food and sex. Alcohol, drugs and gambling and similar addictions – there is something that needs to be stopped and need never be used again. With food and sex we all need them. So for a food addict they need to adopt a food plan and stick to their food plan – they need to view food as a fuel for the body and not for comfort. If a food addict has a food plan they need to avoid trigger foods. Food needs to be eaten however a relapse would be to break the food plan or to use a trigger food. Regards to sex addiction – we all need sexual intimacy – however it needs to be within the boundaries of a relationship and not outside of the relationship. Therefore intimacy with a chosen partner is fine – however acting out with porn or other partners is not. You can see why food and sex are difficult – its like saying to an alcoholic have one drink but no more!!
Simon – If you had advice for someone who wants to quit drinking alcohol, what would it be?
Peter – The most important thing is to sit yourself down and be honest with how alcohol is affecting your life and those around you – take a look at the real consequences. Is it affecting – your mental health, your physical health, your relationship, your finances, your job, your social life, is it making you feel low, stressed or anxious. If so you need to stop. Until you accept the consequences and decided to take action nothing will happen. If your like me you will react badly to someone else telling you what to do – it has to be your choice.
Simon – Many people try and get sober on their own, using sober-books, the internet and the support of online groups like the Be Sober community. What is the benefit of using a one-to-one service like Addiction Care?
Peter – I believe that my service – which is 1-2-1 face to face therapy and even residential rehab is but an intervention. I can help people voice out loud what is going on and offer them non-judgemental reflection and help them and support them through the first difficult weeks. I can also help them break the denial and then look at more psychodynamic events in their life which act as triggers. This is what therapy is good for. I also – without forcing clients – suggest they use self-help platforms and especially Alcoholics Anonymous meetings as they offer on going support second to none. The best of all therapy is hearing peers struggle and then find recovery.
Simon – Many people ask me when the sober journey gets easier and when they will stop thinking about drinking. I found that my thoughts dramatically decreased at around 90-100 days, what is your experience of this?
Peter – Time heals – at first there is the physical withdrawal this can take 10 days or so – once the physical withdrawal has happened then the mental withdrawal can take much longer. Often people will find themselves triggered and then craving after several months – this is cognitive and all cognitive adjustment takes time. Its best to avoid euphoric recall via meeting people, places and things that can trigger us. Yes – this takes time and may take months. This is why self help groups offer such good support – the longer you stay sober the easier it will get. In my 1st year I had many cravings in my 17th year I might have had one craving / trigger which lasted 15 seconds!! It gets easier.
Simon – Addiction Care is based in Guildford in Surrey and you help people recover from their addictions on a one-to-one basis, can you help people regardless of location, for example by using Skype for sessions?
Peter – I like to meet the person for the initial assessment face to face – body language is so important to reading and understanding the person. There is much more to discover than just the substance the person uses. After the initial meeting I am happy to Skype the client and have several overseas clients at present using Skype.
Simon – What should people do if they want to find out more about how you can help them?
Peter – First take a look at the website which is comprehensive www.addictioncare.co.uk – There are also some videos to look at. Feel free to ring me 24 x 7 and we can arrange to meet.
Simon – Finally, can you give some words of advice for people on the sober journey? What tips would you give to ensure there is no chance of a relapse?
Peter – Be realistic. People do relapse. It can happened and we don’t know why. If you relapse then start again immediately. Try to avoid old habits – there is no need to hang around in pubs and drink cola when your friends are drinking alcohol. Reattach to social events and sports. Spend time with family and friends. Within the addiction we lose all connection with “normal” things – recovery is about re-attaching to them. Above all remember why you have chosen to stay sober – keep reinforcing those reasons that made you stop. Remember “No matter how bad you feel – drinking will only make things worse”
Thank you to Peter for taking the time to share his thoughts and insight with the Be Sober community.
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