My name is Caroline, and I am the wife of a recovering cocaine addict. I am writing this in support of the Break Free team.
I met John when I was 14. Throughout our young adult life, we were in the clubbing scene up until we were 27 when we had our first child and that side of our life slowed down. John has always been in what I called ‘those circles.’ Where cocaine abuse was the norm. John had always said he had never taken cocaine and I believed him.
For the last 6 years my husband has suffered with depression, anxiety and PTSD. His brother went missing and was found in a cave and had been there a while. John and I found out on the news that a man had been found and we called the police and were asked to identify clothes which were his. From this point I took the reins and when I look back, I realise it was then that John started to spiral. John was physically and emotionally abused as a child. He was also bullied in school until he stood up to them.
In 2017 John had a tonic-clonic seizure and his life was saved by a member of the public. In December 2019, John had a catatonic episode and we attended A&E under a mental health crisis, he received help from the home assessment team, and he engaged with the CBT online training, but this did not help him. Under a year later I caught John trying to sneak out of the house. It felt very eerie, I knew something was wrong. When I asked where he was going, he replied ‘I’m going out.’ I immediately locked all the doors and hid the keys. John was surprisingly subdued, but I stayed awake to watch him. A few months later he told me that I saved his life that day as he was going to ride his bike and go in front of a train to end his life. Since this, we have sought help from the mental health teams under the hospital. John has also tried to attend cocaine anonymous meetings but felt they were not for him.
I feel the above is relevant so I can illustrate the impact the Break Free group has made on both our lives. I was at my wits end and I was ready to divorce John and told him this after 25 years of being together and nearly 13 years married with 2 children.
I contacted Marcus from the team after seeing their many helpful videos on Facebook. These guys were just like my husband advocating a better life and that there was a better life without cocaine. Marcus very quickly got back to me and gave me his number to pass onto John. The condition was that the phone call from John was to not come under duress from myself.
I showed John the Facebook videos and he contacted Marcus. John attended the group and came home broken, crying but said he will go again. He has been attending the Wednesday meeting and attending the Saturday walks. John has only been going a few weeks and already I feel he has completely changed his life around. John is identifying with this group! Marcus has been on hand daily to check on him and John is now part of a supportive WhatsApp group. Marcus has also spoke to me which I know he does not normally do. He has given me helpful advice to support John and to also look after myself.
John is now coming out with us; he even took my eldest horse-riding, and he would never have done that. He would normally have opted to stay in bed and would have been annoyed with me for putting him in the predicament. He does not sleep all day anymore; the money is not being taken out of the bank and John is building me a nice new garden which is being concisely completed and not half done. John is returning to work and has told me he does not have daily suicidal thoughts anymore and can see a great future.
The change in John is unbelievable. I was lost, I felt I had no where to go. I owe this group so much. They will never understand how grateful I am. I may go as far to say they have prevented me going into a depressive spiral as I was not sleeping.
I could write pages of the joy this group has brought to my family. If you want to know anything further, please do not hesitate to contact me.
I feel it necessary to tell you my job role to show that I am aware of the help that is out there. We really had tried everything.