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A little bit of me.Ö

From the early age, of around 9 years old, life had already dealt me a pretty rubbish hand. And instead of having the Ďnormalí worries of a child my fight for survival began. It wasnít long before I found comfort in solvents. There was always a can of hairspray or deodorant around the house. Or the occasional treat of a bottle of gas! It was great, as when faced with reality there was only so much I could take of Ďbeing strongí with my ĎIím okí head on.

Trial and error had now become my way of life. Self medicating in all shapes and forms to fill the void. The search for that missing bit of the jigsaw puzzle was on through self harm, eating disorders, occational drink binge, sex addiction(or was I looking to be loved?).

Co-dependency led me into many violent relationships. My earliest one was where i was introduced to amphet and the good old rave scene. What better way to escape? The feel good factor from the speed and the loud music to drown out my thoughts. Perfect!

Perfect until the lights came on and the music stopped. Then I was back to having to deal with me. Moving from place to place was another attempt to run away from me Ė hahaha! It didnít click for a long time that I always took me with me. Falling pregnant with my first daughter, and beat from the chaos of the previous years, surely this little bundle I was going to bring into the world was now going to fix me? Noooo!

The fear of being on my own (and all the other baggage) and the co-dependency in me, led me to an unhealthy marriage, alcohol and the birth of another beautiful daughter. The following 12 years of alcohol abuse were horrific! For my baby girls more than me, as I was often passed out, or in a rage or blackouts. My girls lived it 24/7.

I was on first name terms with the police and paramedics like you do. And my doctor knew me as librium (lol!) with the amount of home detox es I had. My final act of insane behaviour (in blackout) lost me my girls. Which was, in a sense, a relief as they didnít have to suffer at my hands anymore. And the thought of prison was looking good. To again escape the hell I was living, and this time my freedom would be physically taken away. To my disappointment the court decided on community service. I was arrested for drunk and disorderly the very same day.

My CPN, who was now working with me, suggested rehab and within a week I was in. And boy was I ready! But in no way prepared for what was ahead of me. I could write a book on what I learned in the 6 months I was at Touchstones 12. But in simple terms what they did for me was Ďgrow me upí, equipping me with all the tools I should have acquired growing up as a child. I mean, people have been living like this for years!

I also gained a sense of self worth and an awareness of myself and my surroundings. I owe my life to the fantastic staff there.

July 15th 2011 will be my second year of abstinence. And life is good! My girls are also in recovery with evident growth.

Thereís no such thing as a bad day. Just a learning day, although situations can and will always be challenging. Today I give my time as a support worker to ARC communities, coordinate for a group called AGRO (recovery through activity) and have completed training for SMART, which is soon to be introduced into our group.

Iím very aware that Iíll always be an arms length from a drink or drug. And that relapse happens long before the event. So for me itís always important to challenge my thoughts (trigger)Ö.before it becomes a feeling (urge)Ö.to go on to act on it (lapse).


Some More Written Work From Our Service Users


My advice to you is to open up and chat, no matter how much you feel like a twat.

For the first few days you may feel insecure, but donít walk way through the door - walk past the front door.

The groups youíll find are honest and true, and if not all it will relate to you.

I almost forgot to comment about the food, three times a day it adds to my mood.

The staff themselves, well what can I say theyíll encourage and push you there funny that way.

The weekends themselves fill them with fun, from my point of view this is the best thing Iíve done.

The sound of Cider.

Goodbye scrumpy my old friend

You nearly got me in the end

You numbed out all the pain I was feeling

And left me with a bunch of stinking thinking

You took away my wife and my home

All my friends went and I was alone

If the anger, resentment, and hate was not enough

You sent me to the hospital, and they said tough

This is the sound of cider.

Goodbye white Ėace my old friend

You nearly killed me in the end

The copper at the door to remind me what Iíd done

I realised cider, my old friend, had me on the run

As I sat there shaking, feeling guilt#

My self-esteem and confidence began to wilt

This is the sound of Cider.

Goodbye strongbow my old friend

I wonít let you near me again

Though the heartache and the pain I dried out

There was no doubt

I found a solution to you and it wasnít jack

It was a new way of living without booze on my back

I had to let people go and make sober friends

The ones who wonít change meet dire ends

This is the search for Sober.






Why I am here in Touchstones12

For the past 10 years I thought alcoholism was the answer to all the problems in my life. I first started to drink when sadly my Father passed away suddenly, I was confused and angry, firstly I started by going out socially with my mates on weekends then I found myself drinking daily. I used to balance my drinking with my work and my relationship with my partner and I used to have a strong faith at a very young age but by drinking it made me alcohol dependant and most of the time I would isolate so I could drink alone; while I was drinking it made me depressed, suicidal thoughts and attempts, lonely, hopeless and powerless; my Doctor had said to me if I donít stop drinking I would die I have tried detox 5 times and 2 years ago I looked at rehab but finally now I have started my recovery and I know my partner, friends and family are proud of me and I know one day I will be able to achieve my goals and I will be able to have a career and will be able to make a difference. 

Today thanks to Touchstones12 I have been clean from this horrible illness for 3 months, I have started to grieve for the loss of my Father and work through the fantastic programme which will help me with my recovery now and I have a future. I am so grateful to all the Staff at Touchstones they have really helped me to face reality and I know that if I wasnít for coming here I donít think I would still be here it is either life or death I will never forget this, my faith with God my higher power is amazing, and that is massive.

September 2010 


I came here 2 get off CAT people told me I couldnít do that, but six months later Iím back on track; I never thought I could do that, cause where Iím from all we know is drugs people getting robbed, burgled acting thugs an oz a day it was my life not afraid to use a knife. But then one day I woke up found a way out of using drugs instead of locked up in a police station so I left Wxm Colwyn Bay was my destination Ė to a house full of users some were addicts some were boozers felt so sad and all alone had no money, had no phone till I realised we were all in the same boat here to help to stay afloat no time to boast in a few more years I would be a ghost cause I could feel an over dose was coming close; so I stood back and took a glimpse left my life stop hanging with gimps, but now Iíve realised I donít need them I can start my life over again make it fresh from the start givin up drugs I found it hard till I found my higher power then I blossomed like a flower the only difference is my leafs donít die just as long as I give it a try: My greatest fear is that I donít relapse but then I think back how my life was crap so Iíll never go back to the way I was taking drugs just chasing the buzz life a mess all a fuzz: Then I sat down and wrote this track opened my eyes and took a look back, but now Iím here feeling fresh thanks to T12 they done their best not just with me all the rest so this goes out to T12 Ė MASSIVE RESPECT!

27th July 2010



Farewell to you Addiction

Youíre forever in the past

You were brilliant in the early days

Naively I thought it would last.

I loved the feelings you gave me

You made me feel so good

But as the time passed by

They changed to depressive moods

Even though you were causing such pain

I would take you back time again

Now that Iím in sobriety

I know I was insane

Youíll always be there, your part of my past

And there you will remain

Iíll never choose you over my health, family and happiness

Just to cause so much pain

I have good friends and family

Who I love very dear

Iíve got a good life to look forward to

Now that youíll never be here.

Goodbye Addiction




Youíre Dreams.


Stop thinking so Small, The desires of our heart usually seem big to us.

They challenge and stretch our thinking.

This is what is meant by being outside our comfort zone; dreams and desires often make us uncomfortable.

They are a little scary but we have to stop thinking small.

Let your dream expand.

Unpack your desires and let them grow on paper and in your mind.

Start getting some ideas out and let them simmer for a while.

Discuss your dreams with a trusted friend.

Itís amazing how something as simple as this often becomes the step towards realising progress towards a suppressed desire.

My desire to start this journey of recovery began as a simple idea and chat with someone who could help and a suppressed desire for a better life.

From desires, ideas, and a belief in yourself and a helping hand from other your dreams and become reality.


Donít be afraid to fail

Wake up and live.



Case Study

K comes from a relatively wealthy background and has previously attended college and worked. Sadly over time K became unmanageable from alcohol consumption and consequently disowned by her family. Several years past Kís family had paid a considerable amount of money for her to attend private rehabilitation. Unfortunately K returned to drinking soon after completion. 

Several years later K made a self referral to Touchstones12. During her time at Touchstones12 K was able to come to terms and seek help to address her eating disorder problems.

As a part of the programme at Touchstones12 K worked through a number courses and gained ECDL certificates. K was signposted to CAIS and consequently accessed counseling services. In other directions Touchstones located an eating disorder group in Conwy and further introduced her to a specialist eating disorder counselor. In line with voluntary work K made links with SOVA for the purpose of voluntary work.

K started voluntary work with a furniture reclaim charity. On completion of the programme at Touchstones12, K applied for and secured full-time employment.

Case Study

L came to Touchstones12 with a history of offending in his local community from a young age. He left his partner and young son behind not knowing if he would be able to return as their relationship was so affected by his substance misuse.

He had no qualifications or work experience to speak of. At the start of the Project L found it really difficult to work within a structured environment and talk about the consequences of his life that his addiction had caused. Within a few weeks he had gained qualifications in first aid and food hygiene and started a basic IT courses. This helped his self esteem and his communication skills.

Gradually his family started to visit him at the Project and built up his relationship with his partner and young son. As his time at Touchstones12 progressed he showed a keen interest in the social care sector and attended a volunteer course run by the Criminal Justice Partnership, it is a 12 week course looking at all areas of social care.

L completed his time at Touchstones12 as a very confident man with more experience and qualifications than he could imagine.


Case Study

T was referred by her substance misuse worker from Phoenix Future / Arch Initiative

When T entered Touchstones 12 she had a history of alcohol and drug misuse. T has complied with the programme and gained a lot of confidence and self esteem from working through her step work and partaking in workshops. Further, T has accessed counseling services with CAIS.

During her stay at Touchstones 12 T has been on courses and gained qualifications in-:

  IT courses.

  Confidence course with Working Links.       

  Endeavour course through Dip.

  Evening Counseling course at Llandrillo college.

T has been involved in Voluntary work with :-



  Soup wagon.

  Choose life

T has re engaged and developed a good working relationship with her family and ex partner (her daughters father). T feels she has overcome family issues which she did not think she ever would be able to do. T has also worked through personal health problems. T has been given lots of encouragement and opportunities to try different courses and voluntary work; which in turn has helped her realise what she wants for her future.

T has started to apply for jobs in Social Care Sector.

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