Hopelessness, helplessness, and sickening hours spent unsure whether your loved one is dead or alive — this is a daily occurrence for carers looking after the drug and alcohol dependant. Martyn Jones, 70, of Hendy, experienced this with his wife Sandra. With his wife now recovered, Martyn has taken his journey and is using it to help other carers learn how to cope.The couple sat down with Star reporter CHAD WELCH to tell their story.
FOR the last seven years Martyn, who also has Parkinson’s, has been running a group called CASM for fellow carers, with the aim of saying “you’re not alone, we will support you”.
The weekly meeting, held on Tuesdays at 6pm at the Disabled Drivers’ Association on Albert Street, Llanelli, is an open forum run by carers that aims to help carers.
“There are very few carers groups around that do what we do,” he said.
“We are completely unbiased — we have all been there, so we can empathise.
“It’s very well being there and wearing the T-shirt, but it’s all about knowing how to deal with things in the correct manner.”
Explaining his personal story, the couple met during on the stage in their careers as performers, but life on the stage did not help Sandra.
“For some reason she would start drinking heavier and heavier and I would come down in the morning and she would be intoxicated,” Martyn said.
“Time went by and she went into rehab for 16 weeks, but that didn’t help — things got worse and worse.”
Talking candidly, Sandra said: “When I used to drink it used to be indoors, I never went pubbing.
“It was sad really, lonely.
“I never even liked the taste — it was the effects.
“I never even liked vodka or whiskey, I would just get it down my neck — that’s the sad thing about drinking.”
She explained that alcohol became a reward, for cleaning the house, or mowing the lawn.
“I felt shame, pain and I came to a period in my life that I said, ‘I can’t do it anymore’,” she added.
“It affects all your friends and your family, and if you are alcohol dependant, it just make the matter 100 times worse.”
Martyn said: “She would go out in the morning, disappear in the day and we didn’t know where she would be.
“I would get a phone call saying they found her in the park.
“My attitude wasn’t to be angry, I just felt so sorry for her because she didn’t want to be like this.
“There’s without a shadow of a doubt the first thing you have to learn as a carer is that you can’t change them — all the cajoling, all the begging, all the pleading, they have to change themselves.”
The turning point for Sandra was when she “hit rock bottom” falling down the stairs drunk.
“In the end, she fell down and had 28 stitches in her face,” Martyn said.
Now free from her addiction, Sandra has fully backed her husband in his work to help others.
While that incident shocked Sandra into change, suffering with Parkinson’s, Martyn explained the importance of looking after yourself as a carer.
This is where CASM has been able to help others.
“With the Parkinson’s it has given me a cause to make something useful of my life,” Martyn said.
“I can’t do a lot of physical work now, but I can still use my head.”
CASM has had a number of success stories, which Martyn said shows “there is a light at the end of the tunnel”.
He said: “It’s amazing how off-loading your worries helps.
“And don’t think it’s the blind leading the blind, a number of us have taken courses studying addiction and how best to deal with it.
“There’s nothing to lose and maybe quite a lot to gain.”
Article taken from – http://www.llanellistar.co.uk/