by Jojo Furnival
In today’s blog, recent resident Chloe* shares her New Life recovery story…
My life before coming to New Life was not a life. It was a depressing cycle of dissatisfaction, not knowing where I belonged or how I belonged, and full of self-destruction. I was a horrible person, full of anger and hate, judgment and self-loathing. I would not have wanted to be around myself if I was an outsider looking in, with such an attitude of selfishness and disrespect for all those around me.
Coming here, I was 100% out of my comfort zone. New Life was the exact opposite of my life at home. The slow pace scared me. I thought everyone was mad, living in a dream bubble and there was nothing to be learned here. I thought I knew best and that nobody had anything to offer me as help.
Changing my mindset was without a doubt the toughest challenge, alongside admitting I was wrong.
New Life taught me to lose the word ‘me’ and ‘I’ from everything I say, and also that the joy you get from helping others overrides anything materialistic.
Being mindful is not an idea that had ever entered my head before. Life was very much as I saw it, or it was wrong. In reality, what was was wrong was my lack of realisation that by helping others you actually help yourself. When you do, loneliness, which was a major issue of mine, ceases to exist; you find yourself surrounded by people, not just any people, but true people, full of joy, care and compassion.
The greatest thing I’ve learned here is that life is short, you only have one chance. If you don’t make it what you want it to be, no one else will do it for you. You have to work hard to be the person you aspire to be. If life is not working for you, you and only you can change it.
Discovering self-love and inner kindness have been the most vital but hardest things for me. It’s easy to forgive others, but forgiving yourself is the biggest challenge in life. It is very easy to buy what you want in life, but what you need is priceless. The more you give, the more you gain.
As a result of my time here, I now feel ready for a normal life, to face challenges instead of hiding from them. Life is not a smooth ride, but I now have the tools to deal with situations instead of panicking and drowning them in drink. Not having to live a lie anymore has been the biggest change, and such a blessing. I finally feel at peace and free.
My hope is that everything I have learned here is put to use once I return home. Loving kindness, and respect for others, works in a beautiful way, as you actually end up reaping the benefits of it.
I just want life to be normal when I go home. No more extremes of anything, just calm and peaceful with honest and true smiles.
Spirituality is my ‘new friend’ and in it I feel I have a companion for life. The loneliness is gone, the crutches I used in the past can be thrown away and I can stand on my own two feet now (without falling over drunk too!)
I hope to continue learning, to keep growing and to start being!
*New Life Foundation respects individuals’ right to anonymity, and in this case names have been changed to honour the wishes of those concerned.