Newbury House is a special place in our parish, with which we have special links. Men and women with severe alcoholism problems, who have often been despairing and suicidal, come to live at Newbury. They and live as a community address their issues, with expert guidance. Newbury now faces closure, as part of the current round of government cuts.
Newbury is a rehab – a purposefully adapted Victorian House which provides an alcohol and substance free programme of recovery. Its care is residential, and folk who live there choose to spend a year to 18 months working on the issues which resulted in their addiction. The House provides structure, shelter and normality for people who have been living the chaotic life of addiction. It is not for the affluent who can afford the luxury of the more famous clinics, but for ordinary men and women.
I moved into Newbury in November 2003, and before then had been wrestling with my own addiction to alcohol. Long before I went there I knew that I needed to stop drinking, but try as I might time and time again I returned to the bottle. I had given up drinking for lengthy periods before going to Newbury, but I had always relapsed. Newbury’s approach was a no nonsense belief in abstinence, and acceptance of the fact that I could not drink again.
Newbury gave the space for me to accept alcohol and I do not mix.
If Newbury closes there will be nowhere in Manchester that a man or woman who needs residential care for alcoholism can go. In most Hostels where a street-drinker might end up, (if fortunate to get shelter at all), they will be sharing their accommodation with drinkers. It is nearly impossible to stop drinking if your peers are consuming alcohol.
Newbury provides staffing, shelter and support, and it provides for friendship.
Newbury works for a good number of people, and it is not melodrama to say that it saves lives – it certainly saved mine and my sanity.
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