After suffering with mental health (Military specific PTSD) and getting no or very little help from the NHS, I was even told to go home and deal with it. So I did i went home and dealt with it how i was taught in the army to drink myself stupid quite quickly i became addicted not just to alcohol but to drugs too. This vicious cycle went on for 10 years the last year being particularly bad being hospitalised 6 times into mental health units and also needing detoxes, I was on death's door and no help was forthcoming from the NHS.
My combat stress workers David Shields got in touch with the lighthouse as they are a dual diagnosis treatment centre, out came Lewis and Cheryl to assess me and my thoughts were it will be same as before from the NHS i.e go home and deal with it, I couldn't have been further wrong, I arrived at the lighthouse on 16th Jan 2018 a scared boy, I was let settle in slowly then went on to work the pre LEAP and LEAP programmes with the coaches who are all fantastic, my life has changed so much in the last 12 weeks but more importantly I have changed with their guidance, I'd like to say it's all been easy and good but its not, there have been hard times but I have been neutered through them and I am a better person for it. Since being here I have been filming a documentary which captures the good the bad and the ugly which I can't wait to watch and share, the lighthouse, the staff and the clients here will be part of my life forever, i am so grateful for the opportunity that i have been given at the Lighthouse I have just finished my 3 months here and am moving into a recovery home and want to come back to the Lighthouse to help people who are in the situation i was in 3 months ago.
You are given the opportunity to start a whole new way of life…
I have been a resident of Lighthouse for over 2 years now and can honestly say that coming here has changed my life so much. Before I came, my life was miserable and chaotic, in and out of psychiatric hospitals and mostly off my face. I would bounce between being treated for my addictions, then my mental health and back again. I had vaguely heard the term ‘dual diagnosis’, but didn’t know what it meant. When I heard about the Lighthouse it made perfect sense - a place that would treat both my illnesses together. I knew it was the right place for me.
Since coming here, I haven’t had a hospital admission for 2 years and I have managed to stop drinking completely, which I never though I would do.
The Lighthouse is more than just a place to live, it’s a place to get your life together. As well as the 24hr care, there is also education in the form of morning and afternoon groups and 1-2-1 keyword session, taken by staff who have mostly experienced addiction and/or mental illness themselves and are happy to share their experience.
There is no staff/patient hierarchy here - everyone works together. The standard of the care is improved I think, by being treated as equals. It is easier to be honest with someone who is honest with you. The staff availability is also the best I’ve experienced - there is always someone to talk to, day or night and staff are easy to find because they’re mostly around us, not shut in an office all day. The same goes for the manageress - she eats with us, makes time for weekly 1-2-1 sessions and if you do knock at the office door, you are made to feel welcome and invited in - not just ignored or told to go away like in hospital or other residential places.
We are encouraged to be independent and spread our wings, ready for when we so move on. Staff educate us about budgeting, outside support and recently helped me to open an bank account.
Hobbies are also encouraged and there are planned activities and outings that we as residents choose. Also really important is that if you do make a mistake, you are given another chance and the opportunity to work through why it happened and how to avoid it in future. In my experience, the Lighthouse is unique in this approach and it makes such a difference - also encourages honesty and the opportunity for personal growth.