Growing up I was a healthy active child filled with lots of happy childhood memories. Alcohol was no stranger to our household nor was it a problem. It kicked off from age 15-18 during the transition of bunking school, drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis in the park with friends to full blown out binge parties and clubs etc. I left education at 18 ready for full time employment and more flexible hours to binge. The drinking and smoking cannabis became heavy in my social life and these were my primary choice of drugs. Other drugs were readily available such as cocaine, ecstasy, speed and crack etc but I used these occasionally and recreationally.
When I turned 21 I moved to Hull with the family. We bought a fish and chip shop and decided to run it as a family business which we still run now in 2015. This move was huge and my social life took a massive blow and became non existent so I was left drinking alone 98% of the time with the occasional few drinks at my local pub which also stopped as I became more adjusted to boozing at home. I had stopped cannabis when I moved so I was glad to have one drug out of my life. I was never shy of drinking during the day so that became consistent throughout the day and everyday. I became a fully functioning alcoholic and was able to work long hours and drink from start to finish. This went on for about 3 years without any problems besides your household arguments and heated moments. I did begin then to realise I could not function and go about my day if I did not have a drink but I still carried on. So after five years more of drinking up to the equivalent of a litre of 40% spirit every single day I incurred various health problems like high blood pressure, liver pains/damage, kidney pains/damage and pancreatitis. And when I tried to reduce alcohol intake or go cold turkey I would end up hallucinating, having seizures and fits and massive withdrawal symptoms. Something definitely needed to change especially when my GP told me I would not live to see my 30th birthday if I did not stop. I went through 2 planned detoxes and 2 emergency detoxes. I put my family through what must have seemed like a lifetime of hell but they stood by me, supported me and kept me safe throughout my journey.
The services were excellent from initial assessment to key workers right through to aftercare. My problem was staying off the drink and I also was reluctant to go into residential rehab. I was then introduced to ADS as part of my recovery care plan package. ADS was ideal for me as I was able to fit it around my working life and able to stay in the community and with my family.
Even though I was aware of the damages and long term effects of drinking I still kept on going back to it and drinking myself into an early grave. Why did I do this? Why go through it all again? They were questions I needed answering. That’s where the 12 week Day Programme came into it and ADS were soon able to help me identify how and why I was lapsing and relapsing. I was able to start confronting these issues head on and tackle the problems I was facing with urges. The content of the course in itself I would recommend to anybody as it enables you to implement the tools learned into everyday life with a positive outlook. I went to ADS with high expectations and they delivered superb support and helped me to develop coping strategies and achieve my goal of abstinence. I can not thank the ADS staff enough and everyone else involved in my recovery.
Now I am 9 months sober (longest I have ever been) and I am still going strong. I feel great, look better and my health has vastly improved since. My relationship with my family is stronger than ever before and I am enjoying the joys of life without the use of drugs or alcohol. I am currently an active Peer Mentor where I utilise my recovery experience and skills in aiding others in battling addiction. The volunteering I do helps with my long term sobriety. The skills and qualifications I am gaining through this I hope to one day become a full time employee within these services.
I keep my recovery on the top of my priority list and I would advise anybody going through addiction to stay positive and never lose hope. Each individual has the ability to change.