In this story: Self management /

"It was at this time I was casually informed I have alcohol related brain damage (ARBD). I was shocked"

I collapsed in the street, an ambulance came and I spent the next three months in hospital.

Fortunately, the length in hospital was a saving grace as it gave my body time to withdraw from alcohol. I’d been a heavy drinker for a long time.

It was at this time I was casually informed I have alcohol related brain damage (ARBD). I was shocked. I was having trouble recognising people and the simple task of walking had increased in difficulty by a hundred. It took about eight months in total before I got back to something resembling normal. There was still a long road to recovery ahead however.

I now have something called peripheral neuropathy. I accept it now for what it is. I live with it without retreating back into alcohol. I manage with painkillers, but the constant aches are reminders of the hard years of toil and strain I made my body endure.

After hospital, I spent some time in supported accommodation and staff were on site, to help whenever I needed support. I have my own flat now, it’s nice and I’m doing really good. I’m eating, not drinking and have disposable money at last. It’s reassuring.

I’ve always been interested in the arts, so now I indulge in it to help me on a day to day basis. I use art as therapy and have painted many pictures. I speak five languages, some fluently, some not so fluent. I’m improving some of them by putting subtitles on when watching movies. I’ve also amassed a considerable book collection and I sometimes read two a week.

Finding something you enjoy is really important, but that in itself can be a challenge. If you do have something you like to indulge in, then my advice would be to go for it and immerse yourself.

Managing health conditions can sometimes seem to require an external intervention, usually medical in nature. Looking after yourself plays a big part too. My last drink was 11th August 2013 and I work all the time on feeling better.

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