I still cannot believe how my son’s life and our lives have changed – I still think it is a beautiful dream. For many years, my son had a problem with drugs and alcohol. He went to a very well-known clinic in London to get better, but after one month of a very expensive detox, they let him out without any after care support – very soon, he was back to square one.
All of the family were desperate to find a solution. We were in hell exactly this time last year, in Jan 2016. Then, with the help of a recommendation, we went to Start2Stop.
We still had a mixture of hope and doubt that this would work after everything we had tried, but with the help of his counsellor and the support of everyone who works there, he was able to get better. Now, although he has left the Mews House and is doing well, he sees Mews House as his second home and regularly pops in to see his friends.
Thanks to Start2Stop, we found the son and brother we thought we had lost.
So, believe me as a mother, miracles can happen”
After 4 months in America I came to The Mews House because I needed a safe place to be in while I transitioned back into everyday life. My marriage had broken down, my children were afraid that I would relapse again and they didn’t trust me, my future seemed bleak.
I have been to many rehabs in the past, but The Mews House is like no other! The counsellors and staff here are truly genuine, understanding, caring and patient. I feel that because The Mews House is run by recovering addicts for addicts, they understood me without judgement.
The Mews House was perfect for me because it was a stepping stone back into real life, with unlimited support and care.
Situated in the heart of busy South Kensington, I knew that I had a safe place to come back to when I had difficult days. The staff at The Mews House taught me how to live life in the ‘normal’ world. I now have a positive outlook that everyday is full of possibilities as long as I keep it in the day and put in the action.
With the support and guidance of my counsellors and the wonderful friends I have made at The Mews House I have finally found a sense of who I am, and I actually like me! I am just over three years clean and sober now. I have a good relationship with my ex husband. I have my children back in my life and we have a growing relationship, thanks to the solid foundation The Mews House has given me.
The Mews House residents and staff are my family of choice and I am eternally grateful to all the counsellors for believing in me, never rejecting me, or giving up on me even when I made mistakes along the way to self-discovery.
Today I have my life back and I am full of hope. Yes, life still throws curveballs and there are some hard days, but I know that I can achieve anything because I have my ‘recovery family’ with me every step of the way.
Leaving The Mews House didn’t feel sad because the support and love did not stop when I walked out the door. I am welcomed back anytime to attend groups, get support, or just to hang out for a cup of coffee. The Mews House door is always open!
The Mews House was my home and safe haven for a year and will always be one of the most special places. If it’s the gentleness and the understanding that the staff welcomed me with, or if it’s the fact that I’ve changed so incredibly with the help of a community, I don’t know. I just know this place was absolute magic.
I found that when I can open up to the help that I’ve learned I deserve, start 2 stop will help you in all the ways they can. From the counsellors, the recovery assistants to the lovely cleaning lady, they are there to help and accepted me just the way I am. They fought my battles with me. It was the most scary and brave bet I’ve ever placed in my life.
I remember the first time I walked in. It was a Sunday evening, my now counsellor welcomed me and the community had cooked a dinner that we all enjoyed. I was scared, lonely and self obsessed but they didn’t care. They loved me until I slowly started to love myself. It was like coming home to a then unknown but beautiful place.
It will always be a journey for me. But I’m grateful to say that my life really started at The Mews House.
I arrived at The Mews House straight from rehab in South Africa. Before I left for South Africa everything in my life had ended – I had no job to come home to, I had no friends left to move near to and didn’t have any idea what to do with my life. It was my plan to move back to Bournemouth where I had grown up, but I had the opportunity to spend a month in The Mews House so decided to go for it – I literally had nothing to lose.
One month turned into 5 as I realised what a lifeline I had all around me that I had the opportunity to cling onto. The counsellors and support staff there were invaluable, and even now, over a year since I left, I still pop in to say hello. The fact that they were all in recovery themselves was what made them so important to me – everyday I saw people around me who had gone through what I was going through, and had come out the other side. They were a constant inspiration.
However the most fundamental part of my recovery process was getting to know fellow recovering people. Whilst this is certainly possible through meetings, I wanted to be with a group of people who were all going through the process at the same time together. Joining S2S was massively important to me for this aspect of my recovery. It took a long time for me to be able to share my thoughts really honestly in groups, but once I started to learn that others would accept me however I felt, a new level of self-acceptance started to emerge (however weird my feelings might be to me – someone there had felt the same).
And again, over a year after I left the programme I still attend the aftercare sessions – I am afraid to give up on such a crucial part of my recovering life!
Both The Mews House and Start2Stop have changed my life. However as I begin to realise my own strengths I realise that they changed my life because I allowed them to. I went in with a mind wide open and a willingness to change that was overwhelming. I have worked very hard at my recovery. And because of all these things I have a life that is full, that has its ups and downs but that is full of laughter, people and most of all hope.
Cosmo – writing this has been quite an emotional thing to do. Above is just a summary but it has made me think over my whole time in The Mews House & Start2Stop. I really mean every word I have written above – especially the last line of it. I am having a very, very hectic few weeks and this has just grounded me a bit to realise where I have come from. I just want to thank you again for my time at The Mews House and S2S
When I left my Secondary rehab in South Africa, which I had been at for three months, I felt pretty confident that I would be alright when I got back to London — go to meetings and get on with my life. However, I honestly do not know what I would have done without coming to you. I had no idea how difficult the transition would be and had I not come to The Mews House I am certain I would not have coped well.
The set-up there is so brilliant and everyone there is so supportive and knowledgeable. The groups and advice were invaluable, the staff amazing and I loved being with everyone and have made important friendships which is very special.
Thank you so much to The Mews House and again, what you have achieved there is so important and an enormous benefit to us coming out of long term residential treatment, particularly abroad. I know that it has helped me in immeasurable ways.
I came to The Mews House at two years clean from drugs and alcohol in order to deal with my eating disorder, which had started to ruin my life just as my other addictions did. I was grateful to be clean, but I could not stop bingeing. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how many times I swore that I would do it never again, I was doing the same thing a few days later. I was incredibly lost, I had no idea what to do anymore. I had so many dreams and passions yet I was imprisoned by my bulimia. What a horrible, painful place that was.
Then in August 2013 I moved into The Mews House where I was welcomed with open arms. The staff was amazing, incredibly supportive and knowledgeable. Everyone is kind, warm and loving yet very professional. I got in there so broken. I kept on sabotaging my dreams and not much was left in my life. In fact, there wasn’t much life in me. However, this place has changed everything around for me, I was literally brought back to life. I stayed here for 2 months and then moved out but carried on doing daycare for another 3 months. This place has become like a home to me and I love dropping by to say hello and have a catch up.
It was here where I really learnt to be myself, and that being myself was ok. I always thought I was confident and good at pretending all was cool, however they saw straight through me :). Slowly but surely I learnt to drop my persona, to become vulnerable and share my feelings. Although at the beginning I often didn’t really know how I felt. It has been all a process and continues to be, I have accepted that it is progress not perfection and that myself I didn’t need to be perfect.
My life today, yes I have my life back thanks to you guys at The Mews House / Start2Stop, is amazing. I am working towards my own goals and dreams, looking after myself in a loving way, have great, meaningful friendships, many of which I formed here and know I have the ability to create a life beyond my wildest dreams. Life is a journey with ups and downs but I have a choice today, which reminds me of Viktor Frankl: “the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way”.
The Mews House is a truly special place and I’m incredibly grateful for all you have done for me. Thank you so, so, so much Cosmo and all of you, I literally owe you my life.
Lots of love to you.
After years of trying to achieve and maintain sobriety, I came to a standstill and I knew that I either had to put everything I had into recovery, or I would lose everything. I had been to quite a few rehabs in the past and none of them cared for and supported me as Start2Stop has. I decided to take a chance and come to start2stop from the U.S.
I had never spent a long period of time outside of the U.S and originally planned on staying for 90 days at Start2Stop. During that period I found a rock solid support system and a tight knit community that Held me when I could not hold myself up. The counsellors are incredible and the sense of camaraderie is unlike anything I have experienced before. I ended up extending my stay another 4 months and during that time I saw the real change happen.
Start2Stop gave me the tools to succeed in the world, outside the safe bubble of treatment, which was something I had not found in the past.
Since leaving, I have achieved the greatest amount of clean time I have ever had. I have found my footing and am going to school Full time and doing a job I enjoy. I still see my Start2Stop peers regularly and keep in touch through aftercare. I cannot thank Start2Stop enough for giving me an opportunity to regain control of my life and the confidence to renter the “real world”.
This whole living life thing is exhilarating and exciting but full on at times! I still can’t believe I am employed and actually turn up on time everyday ( well, most days!) , I can’t believe I am working in Soho ( during the day nowadays!) with keys to the office, my own desk, access to bank accounts etc . When I step back and take the time to look and take some perspective it all almost seems surreal.
The true ‘beyond your wildest ‘ stuff though is having just been at the convention clean and sober and able to feel the magic and gratitude ( there was many a year when I planned to be there and never made it or was sat in a seedy crack house wishing I was there and envying the people who had recovery). Beyond my wildest is making my 3 month old nephew smile. My dad said to you when we first came to see you that he didn’t think there would ever be a time when we were around a table together as a family – that happened on Christmas day – 24 hours after my nephew was born .
Beyond my wildest is so very many things today that I never , ever felt or dreampt were possible. I honestly had very nearly decided to surrender to the illness and let it take me as it has tragically with many friends. I just wanted it to kill me quickly for my sake and the sake of those around me and not draw it out like a cat with a mouse torturing me – which is exactly what I felt like in the end .
My battle has been a 20 year one and agony for my family, you know the endless rehabs I have been too ( It was another joy to actually be with a few therapists over the weekend who have tried with me but often had to boot me out , read riot act, etc and to actually be able to laugh about it now, feel on an equal level and call some of them friends today) and I truly not only believe but KNOW I would not be 22 months clean and sober today and living the life I am without S2S. What you have created in that magical mews is something that I have never found in any rehab or country in the world, truly. The team you have is also the best I have ever come across and gels so well each bringing their own strengths, skills and beautiful spirits to the table to create this incredible environment .
Trish said many things to me that have stuck, but she said nearly two years ago : ‘S2S is a family and our door is always open’. I know other rehabs who spout all that but the minute the payment is made and the 28 days or whatever is up the truth is its more like “Good luck, nice knowing you!” .
What Trish said has proved to be absolutely true and again unique to anything I have ever come across.
When my Godfather died in a helicopter crash recently along with some other family friends , I went straight from work to S2S the next day, even over a meeting. It was just instinctive – I then went home (Oxfordshire) the next day. There was open arms for me the minute the front door opened and that is something that is priceless, humbling and I appreciate more than I can say.
If the world is small, then the recovery world is even smaller in a way. But what I have found in the rooms is also a S2S family within meetings. It really is quite moving and beautiful.
I was pretty blown away and humbled to be asked to do an ex-client share at S2S – another beyond your wildest. I was due to be at Home for Easter Sunday but would never say no to S2S. I was moved when I initially sat in that circle and felt very privileged. Many memories flooding back too – happy, fond ones, tough ones and a couple pretty heart breaking. The only thing that threw me was when someone introduced themselves as a ‘doubie and digital’ addict!! – wasn’t like that in my day!!! – smack, crack, coke, vodka – keep it simple!!