My experience and recovery through Bethesda

I would wish to apportion with you my journey through addiction and my sobriety and peace found here in South Africa at Bethesda.

I come from England and having been to several rehab clinics in Manchester, Scotland and London resulting in short bouts of sobriety with no genuine recovery, I remember blaming the clinics for not staying sober! I did the geographical trying to find sobriety. In the end my life was completely unmanageable and I found that I could not live with or without the drink, several attempts on my pitiful life, including overdoses, an attempt of hanging and throwing myself off a bridge, and I’m still here to tell my story.
I got to Bethesda approximately five years ago, on my own accord, with the utmost desire to become and remain sober! I remained there for three months, two months in primary at the Huguenot and one month in secondary care which then was at 24 Longships.

I had mixed feelings about my care in Bethesda which ranged from fear, confusion, depression and happiness and these, I remember could be felt all in the period of one day! The strict, although professional and proven process involved times on my own reading and thinking over, set stops with my personal Councillor, and group interpersonal sessions, always with two Councillors presiding. The latter, being the most intimidating, however, result driven sessions. Here my peers and I would mirror each other, we sat in a circle with a Councillor at each end, sharing and airing my feelings both personal and toward others, and this could and did result in conflict and tears. I experienced growth and a feeling of ‘being’!

I was taught how to live in real life, take life on life’s terms in this microcosm. I learnt how to feel, how to react positively, how to forgive, how to be aware of judging, criticism, doing and saying the wrong and right thing. I was in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing with the right people, this being one of the most important beliefs that I learnt from Colin. Colin is the co-founder of Bethesda whom I hold in my highest esteem, with respect and admiration of where he has come from, his knowledge and experience in the field of addiction and spirituality/religion.
It was here at Bethesda that I found God! It was here at Bethesda that I found the third dimension to this all-encompassing illness of addiction. The first and second dimension of my addiction being physical and mental, I had come to terms with, but not the third, spirituality! I could and would not stay sober without a belief in a higher power, God, my creator and father (for me anyway). Religion was not drip fed in Bethesda, it was not rammed down my throat but the Spiritual approach to recovery I did find, and with this I am sober today.

I feel that through my journey of addiction, a period of 15 or so years, my recovery began when I left Bethesda, I had changed.

I thank Colin and the Bethesda team for helping me change and grow.


Loretta Bevilacqua