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Sailaday OK – Life changing therapy at sea

Sailaday OK supports marine based adventure therapy to help adults, their families and young persons recover from the consequences of addictions, abuse and other trauma .

Our unique evidence based therapeutic model promotes positive personal change through practical expereince. To reduce disadvantage and social exclusion  by provision of therapeutic sailing  & Educate therapists and skippers in the benefits of therapeutic sailing.

 

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Home Testimonials Beneficiaries Female 29. London.
Female 29. London.

Female 29. London.

 History of alcoholism and years of multiple Substance abuse, addictions

th ship companye1. There had been a lot of emotional abuse and violence in my early childhood. This was compounded by being the replacement after the death of my brother. It led to serious problems with identity, a tendency towards perfectionism and over achieving. In other words I was an alcoholic/addict waiting to happen.

I was traumatised further by an accident in the course of my “high flying” career which pushed me over the edge from “controlled” drinking to full blown alcoholism. My colleagues were killed overseas in a river accident while working on one of my projects. I was responsible for identifying the bodies, having them repatriated to the UK and dealing with bereaved relatives. There was also a lot of political fallout which was the most traumatising aspect of all. But I believe it was my inability to cope with the lack of having any control over their fate which actually brought me to my knees.

2. I had relapsed at a foreign embassy involved in the accident I mentioned above. It is a place full of memories and extreme pain. Unsurprisingly, I picked up a champagne glass instead of mineral water and two weeks later was back in a psych ward on suicide watch....  Then commenced a whole year spent mainly in hospital but interspersed with attempts at living at home during which time I would not cope with the extreme anxiety and drink again to make it go away.

The final episode was just after Christmas in 2010.  I was admitted to hospital with bleeding from my stomach due to the quantities of alcohol which I had consumed.  After another couple of weeks back yet again in the psych ward I was despatched down to Plymouth into treatment. I had very little motivation except for the thought that if there were the slightest glimmer of a chance that it might work; I had to give it a try.  I was so anxious it felt as though my whole body was being invaded by some kind of alien life force. I was medicated up to the eyeballs. I was a barely functioning, tearful wreck....

3. Richard visited us in the early stages of treatment and when I heard what it involved I felt sure I would not cope and made it emphatically clear that I would NOT be participating.   However, I tried as much as possible in treatment to face my fears and found myself just deciding at the last minute to give it a go.  It was hard in many ways.  It was very different from anything I had done before and had a sense of myself as being devoid of all practical abilities. I also doubted I would handle being in such close quarters with the other women, who were not necessarily people I felt comfortable with back on dry land!

I realised though that there is something about being so far out of your comfort zone that makes it possible to connect with your real self. I became aware of my facades – my place of safety where I go when I cannot pair the fear and the pain.  My place of safety is found in intellect and hiding in lots and lots of words. The others had their own places of safety and that might be very different to mine. Nevertheless, the feelings we were running from were the same. The sailing experience makes it possible for the running to cease for a while, to give us space to breathe, sense where the wind is, and where the sails are taking us.   If we go off course, we have to take action to get back on course. We can of course influence our course but are at all times subject to the elements. I actually understood this on a spiritual level while at the helm one day. Perhaps this metaphor is enough of an understanding of my Higher Power, to what extent I am actually in control and where I need to accept the presence of greater forces than myself.

Overall, I learned a great deal in fact about acceptance in the course of my two sessions with Sailaday Ok. Richard helped me to see that the real me was not the intellectual keeping people and feelings at bay by erudition and force of words, but the woman who stood at the helm in the throes of massive anxiety but still holding course.

I decided thereafter to accept my anxiety as being part of myself and palpably gave up the fight against it. Funnily enough when I started to practise this acceptance on a daily basis, the anxiety became manageable and started to subside.  I know I will always be an anxious person, but these days the intensity has left me. I believe this is due not to over ten years in the psychiatric system but to what I learned on the two trips I did with Sailaday Ok.

4. I am finally working though the AA programme after ten years of avoiding it and I am not so scared about facing the truth about myself and where my drinking has taken me. My mental health is much improved.  I continue to be free from the crippling anxiety I had prior to going into treatment.  I am not yet in paid work but love my voluntary job doing creative work with a bunch of homeless guys in a day centre in Kings Cross. I was tumbleweed like them. They are a creative, chaotic bunch so I fit in with them just nicely!

Above all, I know now that my firm convictions of things I am incapable of doing or indeed am not entitled to do are there to be challenged. I allow myself some optimism for the future. And whenever I get wound up and wired to the moon due to manic London life and I head for the South West where I can breathe again and reconnect my head to my heart.... 


 

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