Antonio Pancadas - Nothing is as hard as the beginning of things

Nothing is as hard as the beginning of something… a relationship, a book, a painting, a journey, its beginning and its end. That first step that forces the second and the third.

After the roll is established things kind of take care of themselves;

and this is nothing more than my opinion at this point in time, and I mention this point in time because things change with time.

Time changes things but at the same time, time only exists because there is change. If there was no change at all, time would not exist.


Just imagine me…at this point I am just laughing, thinking about whoever is reading this and I am picturing that person thinking what in fact I am thinking at this moment:

“What the hell is he talking about?”

I came over to ANA due to a set of circumstances in my life that forced me to do something, and one of the options was rehab.

Ten years ago I went into a rehab in London and managed to get clean and stay clean for over a year but then… relapse happened. It took me another ten years of my life to get here again, to be clean and some would say that God only knows for how long this is going to last. Well, I would say that it will last for as long as I it want to, and that is the reality of it.

Nobody is forcing me to do anything and the same applies to all of us, the decision is always ours.

I know it is very easy for me to talk now; when the pain, diarrhoea, sleepless nights, head loop, frenzy, desperation, frustration, anger, hate, sweats, madness, physical and psychological disarray, etc., etc., are gone.

To be honest I don’t even want to think about it.

All I knew, was that I had a chain around my neck and I was a slave, and I desperately wanted to break free from those chains but couldn’t. For some reason, for some mad reason, I could not stop using and yet I could…but I couldn’t.

Some of you will know what I am talking about.

I had tried and failed before, so my life was lined up and that was it, I might as well accept it and get on with it…

For whatever reason I ended up trying again and I am over a year clean, back in college, doing voluntary work, living in my flat and happy as I can not remember being, and all because I gave it another chance.

Things happen, life moves on and things change. And there is Time…

Good luck to all of you…

Antonio Pancadas
October 2005

Lyn - End of the line or new beginning update

Lyn wrote this piece based on her experiences of having attended the ANA Family and Carers Group.

This is an update from when I first joined ANA in March 2004. I was so nervous; not knowing what help I could get. Was this just another door I was to knock on and get no answer? as I had done many times before.

I was at the point where I felt I could not live a life of turmoil caught up in my son’s Addiction to Drink and Drugs and found myself unable to help him. I had tried everything a mother could do to help her child for years but nothing worked for him or me. It was always the same merry go round we were on. It was a continual repetitive cycle of crisis after crisis he could not see he was slowly killing himself, and I just stood there watching all this torment he suffered, while my heart was breaking because I could not find an answer for him.

At nights I prayed for help, in a strange way I guess my prayers were answered as I saw the advert in the paper and followed it up on that day in March when I walked through the doors of ANA. If you read my first letter, it explained how both my son and I were helped. I was taught how Addiction worked and how destructive it can be for the whole family. I found this extremely useful. Soon I began to realise that no matter how hard I had tried in the past nothing could have worked because at the end of the day if you continue to do the same things in the same way nothing can possibly change.

I quickly learned if I made small changes to the way I reacted to my son’s crisis it had a knock on effect to my son. I took just small steps like making boundaries for me and my son, i.e. what I found acceptable behaviour from him and what my reaction would be if he broke those boundaries. I discussed all this with him and asked if he would like to set up his own boundaries, which he did and I accepted. This was just the start for us both.

Before, I had been powerless over his behaviour, but that did not mean I had to be pulled down the same road as him and feel the consequences of his actions. This was about him being responsible for his actions, not me being responsible, after all it was his life, to make his own choices and be responsible for his actions. ANA taught me all this and showed me that I HAVE A LIFE TOO.

I watched the change in my son and myself with the small changes we both made we have both grown and become better people. We are closer now than ever before. He has moved from being in prisons to sleeping on the streets, mental health issues, overdoses, and broken relationships to a calmer life.

He has a good relationship with his daughter. He sees her on a regular basis and also has just starting working again. He has accommodation and opened up a bank account. These are things that, in the past, were just dreams for me, but are now reality. He has found it hard dealing with the addiction but he takes each day as it comes and if he has a slip he picks himself up and starts again.

As for me, I can now sleep at night not worrying about phone calls day and night from police or hospitals. I love my son, that will never change, but it is a pleasure to go about my daily business not worrying what is going to happen next. I have a life now that my husband and I enjoy and at this time in our life we have earned it. I have now completed a Life Coaching Course. So you see I have reclaimed my life back and my son is living a more fulfilling life; one that is peaceful not soul destroying.

My family owe so much to ANA for guiding us in the right direction. Without the support of the counsellors we would still be sitting on that old-merry-go-round and nothing would have changed for us.

I just wanted to write and let people know that LIFE CAN CHANGE IF YOU ARE PREPARED TO MAKE LITTLE CHANGES.


December 2005

David’s Poem

It was my brown it was my green
I am not here I can’t be seen
It was my line it was my meth
It was my life it was my death
It was my crack it was my line
I’ll be back just give me time
Oh no im starting to think
I need a fix I need a drink
I’ve got hope I’ve got dreams too
Please help me out what can I do
I know a place it will be ok
We can do it together
Please please stay
One day at a time “just for today”
Here is the number
It’s A .N. A

July 2009

Laurie Culley – My time at ANA

After more than ten years abusing myself with drink and drugs I reached
my lowest point. In November of 2004 I was arrested for drunk driving and whilst in the cell at Ealing Police Station, London. I contemplated suicide.

I was lost alone and afraid and reached a point whereby my denial around my using drink and drugs was practically torn from me almost tearing myself and my family apart. Whilst in the cell at Ealing Police Station I was
offered help for my problems. I accepted and have not looked back. Life today is difficult but it is a damn sight better than when I was active in my addictions.

On December 9th 2004 via a local drugs and alcohol charity in London called Turning Point, I recieved a bed at ANA Treatment centre in Southsea Portsmouth. I arrived and The staff where instantly friendly.

The First four weeks were spent in the detox house at St Andrews Road. This was a shock and was not an easy time but with the will to change and the assistance of the Staff and by working together with other clients this was made into a positive and life changing experience.

After the initial four weeks detox programme and my first insight into the AA 12 step programme of recovery, I went on to what is called the primary house. This was difficult again but was eased by the supportive and caring nature of the staff and by then some good friends whom I still have contact with today. During my stay at ANA the days consisted of Group Therapy. This was challenging and at times very emotional and together with the staff and other clients extremely personal and painful life experiences were shared in confidence and with understanding. There was fun days also and plenty of walks along the sea-front which is beautiful to me in the sushine or the rain. One afternoon a week was spent playing bowls as a group and there was relaxation periods and accupuncture as a part of our weekly programme.

Overall it was a very positive and inspirational time for me and with the support of all the people, staff and clients alike I managed to equip myself with some very strong foundations for my recovery. I am now almost 17 months completely abstinent and very grateful to all at ANA for their warm proffessional and understanding ways of working with me in reaching my objective – a life without drink and drugs. It is possible but you have to want it more than anything else.

Since gaining my new found way of life I have managed to achieve my personal dream of becoming a published poet. My story in my own unique way, has been published in my book called, “Nine Months To The Day”. I am working on a follow on book and have already received interest from the publishers. We Can Achieve – The Key Is To Believe!!

Laurie Culley Pocket Poet!!!
May 2006

Here are some poems from my book. Click here to find out more…


He’s walked,
He’s fed!
At night
He’s put to bed.
He smells,
He poos;
He occasionally chews.

Laurie Culley


What happened last night?
Those famous four words.
Don’t worry you did it again.
Another mess!
Got drunk,
And acted the fool.
Woke up this morning felt sad.
Ashamed to call myself Dad!
My bed, I swamped,
It’s a Pool.
I hurt the people I love.
Why is my life so tough?
Worthless, sad, pitiful and mad,
I need to change; my life is bad!
Drink and I have done it again.

Laurie Culley

Leslie Christie - ANA

I don’t know how to say the way I feel.
But I love you all and that’s for real.

You’ve all helped me to grow.
Little did I know that I would feel like this.

A warm and a tender embrace,
Your smiling face.

When affirmations have been said,
I think of you all when I go to my bed.

I wish you all good luck,
In everything that you do.

I hope and I pray,
That all your dreams come true.

One day at a time,
Is how it should be.

Have faith in god,
And in humanity.

Leslie Christie
December 2005