Tom Hawkins

Age:
45

When did you come through Mount Carmel?
I came through Mount Carmel from 2015 - 2016

How long did you receive treatment for?
8 months

Can you remember how you felt when you first arrived at Mount Carmel?
I felt nervous, bewildered, anxious and physically frail. I remember wondering what on earth was going to happen - I had no idea as to what rehab was about. When I first arrived at Mount Carmel it was difficult to be around people at all, but I knew I was ill and I knew that I needed to change.

What are your overarching memories of being in treatment for your addiction?
Talking and more talking! I discovered a lot about myself during treatment for addiction, and I discovered much about other people too. One of the most important lessons that I learned during treatment at Mount Carmel was that the remedy for my addiction is connection – a spiritual connection with other people. What has been uncovered in me, I started to see in other people first. I heard stories of trauma, of neglect, of pain and of disconnection, and yet I saw through it all that people retain the most remarkable and beautiful capacity for warmth, humour, honesty and courage. I remember at one point laughing until tears ran down my cheeks, that hadn’t happened for a very long time. There were some very difficult days at Mount Carmel – I sometimes fought hard to avoid looking at the more difficult parts of myself, and I found sitting with my emotions and feelings extremely tough at times. I was carried through the difficult periods by the camaraderie that exists between the clients and by the love and expertise of the staff.  I remember the first time I felt true gratitude – it was a like a joy that I had never imagined. That is one of the greatest gifts that Mount Carmel gave me – the gift of gratitude.

How has recovery impacted on your life?
Recovery has changed the way I perceive myself and the world around me and I have a peace of mind now that I never knew existed before I went to Mount Carmel. My life has a new balance and a new purpose. The 12 steps have taught me about trust, accountability, about the gift of service and have impacted profoundly on my life. The world is a softer, more exciting and more colourful place now. Before Mount Carmel I felt like I was constantly swimming against the tide. Now, with an occasional nudge of the tiller or a gentle repositioning of a sail – I let the current take me where it needs to.

What advice would you give to someone considering treatment for addiction?
Go for it. Take a leap of faith and jump in. There is a solution to addiction that works. To put it simply the transition from active addiction to sobriety for me has been like moving from a place of darkness to a place of light. Without treatment for addiction I would have died. My advice would be to say yes to treatment for addiction and then to keep it nice and simple - take it one day at a time, keep an open mind and listen to any suggestions that are made to you. And then just see how it unfolds.

What are you doing now?
I have a job that I love working for a charity as a nurse. I am in training for a cycle ride in Belgium in June – it is the first stage of the Tour De France a week before the pro’s and I am very excited about it (I started cycling toward the end of my treatment at Mount Carmel)! My life is full now, when I put my recovery first - everything else tends to fall into place.

What is your favourite colour?
Blue.

What is your favourite band/song/piece of music right now?
I Know There’s Gonna Be Good Times (feat. Young Thug & Popcann) by Jamie xx

What book are you currently reading?
Cannery Row by John Steinbeck.

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