My journey to becoming a Counsellor
Posted by
11th Nov 2015

My name is Tom Huber and I'm a 35 year old counsellor.
I'm also a recovering drug and alcohol addict who on the 25th November 2015 will celebrate 9 years completely clean and sober. As well as this I'd have been working in counselling for nearly 6 years.
To go back a little I myself came from a not so unique family of divorced parents and fractured relationships. They had separated when I was 10 and my 2 older brothers also moved on when my Dad moved out. This left me immediately confused,lonely and with a mother who just couldn't cope. Her own behaviour quickly become hugely self indulgent but essentially quite self destructive. It is only with time,maturity and my own therapy that I have been able to acknowledge her perspective. We are all after all only human,as we go through life and experience events for the first time we have limited capacity in productively dealing with them. My mother and I were just the same in this respect,I couldn't cope or understand the abandonment and she could not handle the rejection and grief.
Whist she fell into a series of emotional breakdowns and instability she also became highly promiscuous. This led to me often feeling anxious and angry, I truly just didn't know what was happening for her or for me. I became worried almost constantly and lived feeling like I was trapped waiting for someone or something that often never came.
However having 2 older brothers meant an inevitable introduction to alcohol,cigarettes and soft drugs. At first I hated all of it but they seemed to involve me and I became a source of amusement for them,and for me this was a purpose and a bond. Having a mother that was rarely there meant I could smoke and drink whenever I wanted to. When I got over the bad taste of it all I quickly recognised that alcohol and drugs provided escape from anxiety,a way to rebel and a big F You to those that had deserted(as I saw it)me. They(the drugs)worked,for the first years of my alcohol and drug use there were some telling offs and minor arrests but nothing major. My school work suffered hugely but at that point I didn't care,I had all the time in the world. As I grew into late teens my mum found a more stable relationship but by this point my drinking and drug taking had become daily and habitual. I'd always be anxious when it was running out or running low,I really had no concept at this point of being an addict or alcoholic but that I certainly was.
Until the age of 26 I used all drugs and alcohol progressively until they became my primary need. It didn't matter what relationship,love or career I could've found I just couldn't stop. So at 26 I admitted my feelings of depression which at this point were constant and suicidal. I spoke with my Dad who I had had a relationship at a distance from and he was immediately relieved as he knew all along! When you're in it you just believe that nobody know nobody would understand. I was rushed into full time residential rehab for 12 weeks treatment and therapy both group and 1-1. I remember little about this time,it all seemed to happen
so fast it didn't seem real. It was and I graduated treatment and have been sober ever since. I left Focus12(rehab) and was blessed with the opportunity to become a volunteer which despite my still low self worth I took. And from there a day at a time I just stuck with it and grew. I sincerely owe the staff their everything including my life. I then went on to do a 2 year diploma in Integrative Counselling which was including treatment only the 2nd thing in my entire life id completed. I was offered a place on their degree course but was also offered a full time counselling role at Focus12 where I'd also had my placement. I took the job and spent the next 4/5 years learning,growing,struggling,persevering and developing. It was an amazing opportunity for me personally and professionally,I learned how to facilitate group therapy,family support groups and conferences as well as hundreds of hours counselling all manner of individuals one on one. I had after years of uncertainly and fear finally found something I enjoyed and seemed to be successful at. I gained huge experience on so many levels and was supported wonderfully throughout. The relationships with my family improved and I began to accept myself and let go of the past. I was no longer a 'victim' I wasn't just an addict.
Today I run my own counselling practice here in Bury St Edmunds after making the leap to leave Focus12 and make it out there in the big wide world! I still feel inadequate and scared from time to time but I am highly qualified in counselling now with hundreds of hours of experience behind me. I feel a genuine sense of purpose and worth and I don't know that any drug ever gave me that,I'm not running from myself or my life anymore. This is my life and I claim it,I will not let drugs have me back EVER. I take the time to look after myself well with regular therapy and supervision. I am constantly learning and growing as a counsellor to and adore what I am blessed to
be able to do. I always aim to build a good relationship with each of my clients adapting where necessary and remaining open minded and genuine. 
I'm lucky to be alive and happy,life isn't perfect but accepting that it will not be nor does it or I have to be is ok to.

Share Email a friend Be the first to comment on this blog
Recent Posts
Struggling to keep going
23rd Nov 2019
My thoughts
18th Nov 2019
Clearing the fog
16th Nov 2019
Journey of a Wikipedian
16th Nov 2019
Clearing the fog
15th Nov 2019