Meet Derek’s Journey

Dereks' journey from Belgium to Aberdeen to Recovery

How AiR Supported me

Dart ADA @ Me

When I arrived back in Aberdeen on the eighth of February 2018 it was a huge step into the unknown. I had been living abroad for seventeen years, speaking Dutch and Flemish for more than ten years. I was back, to go old Doric “spiking”. That was a shock to the system on its own.

I had got off the plane at Dyce with two bags of clothes and very little money. I had to go to Marischal College to get digs sorted out, and was allocated 165 Crown Street.

I left my rehab in Brussels almost clean so was in a hostel with no rules and I was quickly back to my old self. But I was still reducing my methadone which I was adamant and driven to come off. But I was dabbling again and drinking so much. I got in contact with Aberdeen Drugs Action. It ended up being one of the best decisions that I had ever made. After a few consultations with my key worker I thought about going on antabuse.

I had few friends in Antwerp who were on it. I’d seen first hand some of their reactions to it when mixing it with drink. It was a medication not to be messed with. At the same time my CPN at the Timmer Market asked me if I wanted to go on a DART course. I think he must have seen my hard
work with my methadone, that I had the potential to get off the drink at the same time. Som after humming and haying with myself I started DART. At first I was very shy and nervous, especially when I had to stand up in class and tell my life story. But you know what? Everybody in the class had been or were in the same boat as me and the boat was sailing. After a couple of classes with the whole team I realised the passion and patience which abounded in the course. I wanted to do another six weeks. I started antabuse around week four and what a life changer that tuned out to be.

After drinking almost every day since 1986 I have been sober now for a year and more, for me the key to stopping drinking was a combination of DART and antabuse, things you can turn to for help. I take my antabuse tablet every day and I’m happy to take it the rest of my life, it gives you the assurance that if you drink on top of it you are in serious trouble.

So my last words and advice are dig deep and face the demon head on, you can do it if I did and start to reap the benefits. You have your health back, your dignity and most of all great self pride in what you have achieved. I will always be grateful to DART and ADA because they help you step by step back to a bit of normality. But crucially you have to want it yourself.

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