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My journey to the Villa Paradiso Group started when I had had enough, I was beaten, and taking drugs and alcohol every day had destroyed me and my family. So I google searched Recovery Centres Step Program.

Many popped up but one that caught my eye was Villa Paradiso with a 24hr helpline. I called the number immediately and a reassuring voice answered and arranged a meeting with me 1 day later close to my home.

Matt explained that the center was currently closed for the month of August, but that did not deter him or me into seeking immediate help and setting up a plan of action before I could be admitted towards the end of August, 3 days ahead of the official reopening.

The immediate plan devised was that Matt would take me under his wing and take me to the Narcotics Anonymous meetings twice a week, although I was still actively using, it was better than getting into even deeper problems.

29th August came round slowly and it was time to be admitted into the Villa, I was the first and only patient there for 24hrs and Matt and the medical team stayed vigil that first night in case I had a bad reaction to my first night without using crack for the first time in 2 years. I slept well, heavily sedated, and when I woke up started to crave my drug of choice crack, Matt immediately started his program for me, keeping me busy with step work which makes you look at yourself and your addiction and the destruction it has caused to myself and every aspect of my life.

That cleansing and rebuilding process continued for 28 glorious whole days, tears were shed, laughter was made, and understanding, acceptance, and surrender of my disease became apparent and easy to understand, I was changing and wanted to change. Every day a new aspect of my addiction was addressed and I felt hope for the first time, serenity, and trust that everything would be ok if I worked at it.

I felt like me for the first time in 24 years, like being reborn with an arsenal of knowledge and understanding to keep me clean.

The time flew in the villa, and soon I was out in the real world but I was not alone, I had my routine of regular NA meetings, a new friends circle, people in recovery, and Matt 24hrs on the end of a phone in case things got tough or I just needed a chat.

Every month we would set aside an afternoon where I would revisit the Villa, see old faces, and have an in-depth 1to1 with Matt and the councilors, like a service for your car, a check-up, an overhaul of my recovery, any areas I need help with, guidance, affirmation, just nice to spend a few hours in the environment that saved my life and I was reborn in. I will never forget the miracle that took place, I am still clean and sober and for that I am eternally grateful.

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