When I arrived at Montrose Manor in South Africa on the 10th of June 2014 I had no idea what to expect.
I had only had two days to look at the website and brochure before I flew out to Cape Town.
The driver greeted me upon arrival and helped me with my bags and guided me through the airport. I was feeling extremely dazed and confused following the flight as it seemed to me everything had happened very fast and I had had no time to collect my thoughts or ground myself after leaving the Priory.
The Nursing Team greeted me when I arrived and I was really encouraged by how kind and supportive they were, unpacking my bags slowly and showing me to the dining room. Because the other clients were in group when I arrived it did feel very surreal – this big house with nobody there, but when they came up the stairs from the group room everyone was very warm and welcoming.
Everything was explained to me very early on – what times meals were, where I’d be sleeping, the importance of keeping to the rules and being on time. This routine structure suited me because it was not too dissimilar to the Priory and exactly what I needed. The staff was lovely from day 1, so were the team, they all made a real effort to make me feel welcome and safe, especially during meals. The room that I was moved into was a bit of a shock as I had expected to have a room to myself! But was put in a room with three other people but over 6 weeks of being in the room I was moved into a room on my own upstairs which was lovely.
The food from day one was brilliant, albeit a bit of a shock to the system to begin with because of the amount of food that we were expected to consume and the constant snacks. Now I can appreciate why I needed so much. The nurses and team (including the Dietician) were very good at explaining the choices they made with my meal plan and the treatment through every step of the process, allowing me to understand but without the control.
I think that the turning point to me was when I did my Life Story and really opened up about my past and my illness – it was a difficult thing to do but at the same time very important for my recovery. My time at Montrose has not been without bumps, but I feel that the team handled and managed those bumps extremely effectively, allowing me to understand more about my illness and how to recognize the symptoms and triggers of my addictions. Exposure was a very helpful aspect of the program for me – for so long I had hidden from eating with other people, so being put into social situations was very helpful for me. Another massive thing that has helped me here has been the encouragement from the team and nurses to attend extra meetings both at the weekend and in the evenings. The Meeting Rooms here in Cape Town have been just as helpful as the treatment at the Manor and I want to say a huge Thank You for allowing me to go there.
Montrose gave me another chance at life; all I had to be was willing and trusting of the programme – really to surrender.
26 years old