At the age of 24 Les started to suffer from reactive depression following the break-up of his engagement. The condition has remained a constant factor in his life since then.
Following the death of his mother approximately two years ago the depression ‘developed’ to such an extent that it profoundly limited his physical activities, created broken sleep patterns and induced a form of mental malaise which Les found extremely difficult to cope with. He initially attended for assistance with improving his sleep pattern in July of 2009 but it became evident that he was keen to learn guitar so that he could learn some Lennon and McCartney songs. (He is an avid fan!)
Individual sessions endowed Les with a basic understanding of the instrument but he has found working in the group to be a great practical importance because of the positive and enthusiastic examples set by other guitar students. This had ‘fired’ his desire to persevere with the instrument and, despite his poor memory recall (a symptom of the reactive depression) he is remembering chord shapes and can now play rhythm parts to certain songs. This enables other group members to practice different guitar parts so that each member manages to contribute a specific ‘part’ to the overall melody; with Les supplying the much needed backing. He is well liked within the group and displays a relaxed and well humoured attitude as well as eagerness to learn. The simple fact that he is now contributing to the overall ‘sound’ of the group is, for Les, a huge ‘step forward’ in self confidence.
Alex has been attending ADS for approximately one year. Prior to this he had a history of multiple drug use which really started at the age of 18 when he started to attend a local college of further education. His initial reason for experimenting with drugs was simple curiosity. He witnesses a number of his friends trying a variety of substances and wanted to share in the experience. This resulted in trying cocaine, cannabis (resin and ‘skunk’) magic mushrooms’, ketamine and ecstasy.
Eventually his drug usage declined and became confined to ‘skunk’, partly because he did not like the effects that the other drugs had upon him. It is worth noting however that, despite his use of drugs over the last 11 years he has successfully gained a BA.HONS degree in Ceramics and also a B.TEC National Diploma in Graphic Design.
Alex initially attended ADS for assistance with remaining clear of ‘skunk’, having drastically reduced his use of the drug, and for initial guitar tuition. Although both acu-puncture and acu-stimulation were also used as supportive therapies it rapidly became evident that guitar tuition was his ‘favourite therapy’ He has frequently told me that learning to play this charismatic instrument is proving itself to be one of the most positive tasks he has ever undertaken. He recently said to me that if he experiences a phase of depression (an unfortunate legacy of his previous multiple drug use) he reaches for his guitar and not a ‘spliff ‘.
To watch Alex play guitar is inspirational! He has really applied himself to learning the instrument, evidently practices at home, and adopts the role of occasional group leader in the guitar group, a role I am quite happy to let him play. His gentle enthusiasm is infectious and he is a delight to work with! As an additional point he has informed me, and I have no reason to doubt him, that his use of ‘skunk’ has become virtually non existent.
Stephen has been attending ADS for approximately 14 month. His reason for initial attendance was to seek help with stopping cannabis and high alcohol use.
In summary he started to use cannabis when he was 17 and did so because of peer group pressure. Alcohol was not a problem; although he has told me that he did ‘enjoy’ a pint, until he started to brew his own wine. The ease of makinghis own wine linked with its ‘immediate availability’ resulted in increasingly heavy consumption. Ironically when his first daughter was born on the 6th of May, 1993 he drastically cut back on his use of cannabis. It was a case of adopting another ‘bad habit’ to take the place of cannabis. Unfortunately his alcohol consumption became so serve that he felt he had to leave the family home and was eventually responsible for the demise of his marriage.
Stephen spent two years living in supported accommodation. However in September of 2009 following a ‘serious’ drinking session (possibly used as a means of escape from an impending divorce) he ruptured a blood vessel which resulted in very high blood loss and a subsequent admission to hospital. In manyways this episode served as a ‘wake up call’ for him, especially as the incident could have proved fatal. Shortly after this incident he was allocated a local authority flat and has made a genuine effort to improve his life style. Daily use of Antibuse has stopped his drinking and his cannabis use is equally ‘non existent ‘.
He has put on some much needed weight and now enjoys a positive relationship with his ex-wife (who has always been supportive but who found his heavy alcohol use increasingly difficult to cope with) and his two daughters.
Stephen is a great believer in keeping himself occupied. He has decorated his flat, baby- sat for his ex-wife, is renovating two motor bikes and is an extremely active member of the guitar group. He has never missed a session and finds them positive for two main reasons. 1) He is learning to play an instrument that he has wanted to learn for a long time. 2) He is socialising with the other group members and discussing areas of mutual interest and concern. In his own words ‘I am building my family and social life back together’ and being a member of the guitar group continues to play an important part in the process.