My beautiful, intelligent and funny little girl struggled in many ways as a child. She was a little more anxious than her peers, a little more sensitive, a little less patient. Jessica hated bright lights and busy places and, while she was academic, she hated school with a passion.
I, of course, worried. She was so different to her brother, who had bags of confidence and took everything in his stride. I took Jess to the doctor, spoke to her teachers, found a counsellor, but no-one really knew why Jess fretted so, not even Jess.
Eventually Jess was diagnosed with ADHD, which made a lot of sense. Life went on and after her A-levels, Jess threw herself into the world of horses, which helped in many ways but certainly not all, but she did find friends.
One morning she came home, and her clothes had that distinct aroma of cannabis. She went to have a nap and I quietly put her things in the wash, worried and unsure what to think or indeed say. We have had loads of conversations in the past about drugs. I didn’t want to go mad, but I didn’t want to give her the green light either.
The following day, when I was calm, I broached the subject and Jess laughed and told me that a few of her friends smoked, so naturally her clothes would pick up the smell. With relief I accepted what she said but reiterated that cannabis can crush the spirit and kill motivation. She nodded her head in agreement.
However, over the next few months Jess’s behaviour began to change. She slowly began shirking her responsibilities and was rarely at home. My anxiety grew. When we did talk, Jess would accept she was being neglectful and promised to ‘change’ but although she was saying the right things, her behaviour didn’t match. I felt alone, confused, worried and had no idea what to do – she was in her early 20’s and legally, could come and go as she pleased.
Over the 18 months that followed, things spiralled downwards. She became angrier, frostier and sullen, her once sparkly eyes looked dead and cold. She never had any money to pay for the things that once mattered to her. Eventually, Jess told me she was smoking cannabis regularly and that she thought it was ‘helping’. She couldn’t see that it wasn’t. I looked at options which included rehab or counselling. Jess wouldn’t cope with being in an institution, but I didn’t feel a weekly counselling session would be enough. Nonetheless, I found a counsellor for Jess and one for me.
My counsellor was supportive and I was able to open up. I felt so ashamed and guilty that my daughter was using cannabis, I had kept it to myself for almost three years. But it wasn’t until Jess told me she wanted to stop smoking cannabis that my counsellor recommended SP Bespoke – an at-home rehab and detox service.
“It’s not cheap,” said my counsellor.
I didn’t care, I couldn’t put a price tag on my daughter’s life, and I felt desperate, hopeless and helpless. Jess’s cannabis use, and risky behaviour was infecting my own professional and home life.
“I can help your daughter,” Shig Hayre asserted, having listened to my story patiently through my tears.
“Getting her off drugs is the easy part. I can keep her well.”
I trusted Shig immediately. I don’t know why; it made no sense. Here he was, promising me that not only could he stop Jessica using marijuana, which had plagued Jess and us for three years, but he could keep her from wanting to smoke in the longer term.
“I will need to see Jessica, and make an assessment, so I can choose the best people in my team who I think will be the best match. Addiction is an illness Gwen, but addiction is the symptom of something deeper and my team have the skills to get to the heart of the matter and help Jessica overcome the reasons why she turned to drugs in the first place.
“I can get Jessica well and I can keep her well.”
Jessica had been having counselling for almost six months and while her consumption had decreased, she hadn’t stopped, although she was repeatedly saying she wanted to. She didn’t know how and never believed she could.
“What if Jess doesn’t agree with the assessment, Shig?” I asked.
He said: “Often people dependent on their drug of choice don’t want an assessment Gwen, they are scared, they are having a battle with their addict brains.
“It’s a frightening prospect to think about stopping something you have relied upon for years. They have become physically, mentally and emotionally reliant on something that is harming them. It is an illness. They believe they can no longer live without whatever it is they are addicted too.
“We have been called to intervene in some situations.
“The families have had enough but the addict does not want to stop. Even in situations like these, we are able to get the addict to agree to our intensive therapy and by the time we are finished, the addict is clean. We don’t fail, but the journey is tough.”
I was lucky – Jess agreed to the assessment.
Jess said: “I was relieved that I was going to get proper help, but I honestly didn’t think it would work, and truthfully, I didn’t know if I could stop. Cannabis at first had given me calm and a sense of contentment, but I knew it was making things worse. My life was not better, in fact I was more anxious than I was before I started. I lost interest in everything I once loved and I didn’t want to do anything apart from smoke. I was in pain, confused and angry. I couldn’t imagine life without cannabis.
“My life and everything in it centred around it. I was lost and trapped and beginning to hate myself.”
Shig and Paul spent several hours with Jess and me at our assessment and, in that time, Shig was able to identify the sort of help from his experts she needed and who would be best suited.
He told me he felt Jess needed a ten-day treatment plan at home starting in less than a week. When he left, he told me he was available on the phone night or day for free if I wanted to talk, which I did and rang
him many times.
Treatment is not cheap but it is good value and very effective for the whole family, who also suffer, and with a team of support with members who have proper understanding because of their own journeys.
We agreed a start date and the first member of his team, an ADHD specialist, spent three days with Jess, helping her understand herself and finding a way to love her differences, on day four a former heroin addict arrived with Shig and spent three more days with Jess, and in this time, Jess put down her last joint. The last few days we spent together with Shig and an expert in drug addiction, neurodiversity and family dynamics.
The journey was the toughest one Jess has ever been through in her life, but bizarrely now, instead of reaching for a joint in those moments of pain, she searches inside and a few hours later will verbalise her feelings with a profound level of understanding which astounds me.
It is now six weeks on, and she has not smoked cannabis.
Jess said: “I never want to have a puff on another joint in my life. I never want to go back and all I can see is a future that is filled with hope.
“My drug dealer rang me last week and asked if I was okay. I told him I had quit. I couldn’t believe it when he said ‘Never go back. Weed is a dream killer’.”
Shig Hayre and Paul Kalaher launched SP Bespoke four years ago, with one sole purpose – to help anyone affected by alcohol and drugs for the long term.
With a team of some 500 experts nationwide, SP Bespoke help people tackle the core issues of drug or alcohol misuse at home and untangle the personal and work problems which eventually come with alcohol or drug misuse.
After a four-hour assessment, SP Bespoke offers an immersive, one-to-one, tailor-made plan, including all immediate family members, for several days as a more effective and permanent alternative to a residential rehabilitation treatment centre.
Shig said: “We give you and your family the right help for your unique set of problems.
“Alcohol or drug dependence is not just a problem for the individual – issues permeate through every area of their lives and into the lives of everyone close to them.
“Misuse of alcohol and drugs is an obsession that will cause an immeasurable negative impact on the family, friends, and employers of the primary sufferer. It will cause anxiety and stress for the whole family.
“Our service gives you hope and understanding from those people who have been where you are now. You no longer feel alone, knowing you have dedicated professional support. You will gain self-respect and dignity, both at home and in your professional life.”
Paul added: “We believe there is rarely such a thing as an insoluble problem and with passion, to see someone become well as it happens is very fulfilling.”
SP Bespoke help you find immediate and long-term solutions for:
Alcohol and drug dependence and addiction
Anxiety, stress, bereavement, ADHD and PTSD
Shig Hayre, director of SP Bespoke, almost lost his life to alcohol, but after specialist medical and psychological help, he has not picked up an alcoholic drink for 16 years.
Shig said: “I was an international entrepreneur.
“From humble beginnings I worked relentlessly and as my businesses grew, it wasn’t long before I possessed all the trappings of wealth – a home with a gym and sauna, a stable of expensive motor cars, and private education for my children. However, the quantity of my alcohol consumption grew to beyond what I thought was a social pleasantry. Drinking turned into a daily coping mechanism, to alleviate work-related stress. It did not take too many years for my health to reach the point where the next stage would have been death. I was diagnosed with Wernicke-Korsakov syndrome, known colloquially as a ‘wet brain’.
“I was in my mid-forties when my family persuaded me to seek support in the USA. I thank God they did as it saved me from certain death. In the last 16 years I have not picked up an alcoholic drink of any sort. My life is not only the healthier for it, but I am happier and richer in the quality of my life.
“Over the years, I have counselled, from the heart, countless fellow alcoholics and addicts and their suffering families, many of whom now enjoy many years of peaceful sobriety.”
Paul Kalaher, director of SP Bespoke, is an alcoholic friendly lawyer, offering non-judgemental support to help clients find practical solutions for legal problems. Legal problems are often an inevitable consequence of alcohol or drug misuse.
Paul said: “Hard work and exhaustion led me to look for solace in a bottle. I turned to alcohol in a futile attempt to escape the stresses and strains of work life. This descent had to stop when my own health failed. I have been lucky enough to retain a loving family, but many are not so lucky.
“My wife of 33 years and my two children have been amazingly supportive throughout but, like Shig’s family, they must have been very worried at times. Along my journey I have seen many people from all walks of life divorced, become unemployable and die from their misuse of alcohol and drugs. Fortunately, I have been able to help many people recover to lead more fruitful lives and my passion is to see people get well and stay well.”
n For details about SP Bespoke visit spbespoke.com
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 07809 565487
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