Susan Macdonald FDAP APM RMN
Addiction Counsellor & Recovery Coach
Registered Mental Nurse (RMN), Life Coach, Counsellor, Recovery Coach, Sober Coach, Sober Companion
Advanced Practitioner, Federation of Drug and Alcohol Practitioners
Accredited by The International Recovery Specialists Institute
Accredited Specialist in Drug and Alcohol Awareness and Intervention in the Work Place
Trained by Hoffman Institute in Hoffman Process
Trained by Bowlby Centre in Attachment Theory
Trained in Motivational Interviewing
My name is Susan and I have been in recovery since March 2008 – over 14 years.
I am wife; mother, step-mother; a partner; a counsellor; a friend; a Life Coach and a Recovery Coach. I’m a survivor of sexual abuse, domestic violence and long term health issues but most of all I’m someone who cares!
I can help you to get your life in Balance!
I qualified as a Psychiatric Nurse in 1983 and have been in and around mental health and its treatment ever since. I started to drink alcoholically from a very early age in fact I can distinctly remember my first real drink being at the age of 14 where I raided my parents drinks cabinet. That afternoon ended with my best friend and I having a fight, a black eye and a split lip and me being sick all over my parents new carpet. Oh boy was I in trouble!
Looking back that should have warned me, that really should have been the end of me getting drunk – but of course it wasn’t!
Trying to fix my own dysfunctions I was first married at 18 trying to find “Happiness” – that didn’t work! I got remarried this time to an abusive man and for over 12 years I tolerated horrific domestic violence; drinking this time to numb my own reality, somehow alcohol made it all bearable! After one especially violent incident as the medics treated me yet again, I finally found the courage to leave. He had spent years telling me that it was all my fault and years of me believing him! I finally realised I was worth more than that reality! I was worth more than his abuse!
I met my soulmate; he made me feel safe, he accepted and loved me but still I continued to drink, more and more! Ups and downs of life continued but seven miscarriages later I gave birth to our gorgeous son. He was so precious, so perfect and who could have possibly imagined on that miraculous day that some five years later the alcohol – my best friend as it had long been – would become so powerful that I would put his life at risk just for one more drink! That was my rock bottom, my Enough!
My husband gave me yet another ultimatum but this time he meant it, “You are an unfit mother!” He was right!! I knew it and I accepted it but this time I really had had Enough. I knew I was so far out of Balance that something had to change.
I am so grateful for so many reasons that that event happened, terrible though it was without it, without that terrible day, I don’t believe I would have ever had “Enough”! I was completely out of Balance! Out of control of my life and thanks to drink up to that moment I just didn’t care!
I went to AA that day, I found “My Tribe”, they loved me until I could love myself. I honestly did not believe that I could beat it; that I could stay sober for even one single day. My drinking ended with me dry retching most mornings, losing hours of each day in memory blanks. My liver was so sore and bruising from the inside out that I was covered in yellow blotches across my abdomen on an almost daily basis.
So began the best years of my life! Everything that I have done, that I am most proud of has been done whilst in sobriety. Almost everything that I have done, that I have been most ashamed of has been done whilst drinking. Thankfully our beautiful son has no memories of a “drunken mummy”! Thankfully perhaps most of all – I have forgiven myself.
I am not going to pretend that life in recovery has always been plain sailing. I have found its rarely the mountains that get to me its usually the mole hills. Life happens, even in recovery.
Ill health, financial insecurities and some pretty serious bumps along the way until I finally reached the place in my marriage that I am in now.
A true partnership, where I am accountable, where I am productive and where I am ENOUGH!
Where I am now is in “Balance”.
I love my job! However I am not the sort of Counsellor that will say “There, there it’s all going to be ok” or even “what do you think you should do next!”. I sugar coat nothing! I am honest and I am firm because let’s get real here – we are dealing with a fatal disease. If this is not controlled, it may one day kill you! Even if it doesn’t it WILL, one day, steal from you everything that you hold dear. So I take my role extremely seriously. I will never work harder than my client but I will certainly work as hard! Standing shoulder to shoulder in this wonderful journey of RECOVERY.
Balance, understanding and acceptance.
AA saved my life but that route is not for everyone. The 12 Step Programme; especially the spiritual element is not for all. There are other options, other choices that suit my clients on an individual and bespoke basis. I have merged my 40-years of professional training and experience with my own detailed experience and understanding with the 12 Step Programme with elements of many allied therapies in which I have trained and experienced such as CBT, Attachment Therapy, Family of Origin Theory, Harm Reduction techniques, Mindfulness strategies, management and life skills to enable me to work with my clients to create a unique personal “Tool Box”.
This combination of therapies and my life-long experience means that I can adapt my counselling to my clients needs, wishes and desires. The therapy and counselling you will receive is unique to you – just as your problems, issues and challenges are unique. I cannot offer you a one-size fits all solution to anything. I cannot offer you a quick or instant “fix” but I can offer you hope! I can offer you a route back to Balance!
I am happy that I am in Balance! You can be too!
Here’s what my clients have to say about working with me
– Tony B
– Theresa W
Susan was like a breath of fresh air, her honesty and enthusiasm gave me hope and slowly but surely things started falling into place. I relapsed in the beginning but Susan didn’t judge me. We just pushed even harder towards my goal of getting sober. I’m 17 months sober now and I am so grateful. Susan is like a machine she just keeps on pushing and is always completely honest. I can’t recommend Balance highly enough.
Thank you Susan my forever friend and trusted therapist.
– Vanessa. Lincoln
– Steve. London
– Bev. Lincolnshire