What do our volunteers say about BAT?
My first experience with benzos was after a 4 day festival. I’d had no sleep and I couldn’t calm down. My friend suggested I try a valium – I was scared at first but then I gave in and within 30 minutes I felt great. All my worries had melted away.
I didn’t really think about them again until about a year later when I got anxious and depressed and straight away I remembered how the valium had fixed my feelings. I found somebody that sold them – after getting home I took 2, the next night 3 then 4. I continued to use various benzos but all along my tolerance to these drugs was getting greater and greater. During this time I’d started taking opiates recreationally as well, as they also helped my anxiety and ongoing sleep issues. In November 2015 I had my first drug overdose; I woke up in hospital after falling over and seriously injuring my arm. I told myself it was time to stop but after a couple of days I started to feel unwell and really anxious so I knew what to do and took my valium. At this point I was taking ten times as much as I’d first tried just to feel “normal”.
I decided to let myself run out of my valium to try and stop in the middle of a busy shift at work. I had my first grand mal seizure and I woke up in hospital once again. I still couldn’t admit to myself I had a problem – after all, they were only prescription drugs and loads of people I know took them.
After suffering my third overdose in 2 years I finally asked for help. I was slowly brought off all the benzodiazepines, the withdrawals were very difficult because I still had no one to speak to about what it was like to have a problem with these drugs. I just needed somebody to tell me it was going to be okay and that they understand what I’m going through. I decided I had to move away and start again after being in Bristol a few months I decided to look for some voluntary work where I discovered BAT. They offer great support to people that are in any stage of benzo use – if I’d known the help they could offer my journey coming off benzos would have been so much easier.
I am now 3 years off all benzos and opiates, and I’m now volunteering with BAT working on the helpline, and currently studying for my counselling degree.
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