Recovery Rises ISSUE 3 - Page 14

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This section in our magazine called "Journeys" consists solely of the stories of people in recovery. Listening to the stories of those who have recovered has proven to be a highly effective manner in which people contemplating change are thus encouraged. Stories spark hope, ignite belief and demonstrate the truth that living without mind altering substances is not only possible, but positively rich and meaningful. Please send us your stories of recovery to help pass the message of recovery on to those who need it. Stories can be sent by post to Genie In The Gutter, 88 Rodney Street, Liverpool L1 9AR or email them to: carolynedwards@genieinthegutter.co.uk

An 18 Year Old Alcoholic: Adam's story

took my first drink at the age of 13 whilst holidaying in Greece. I remember it well, the feeling of confidence, people liking me! I was funny! For a withdrawn child, this was amazing and the start of craving for alcohol. I started the weekend drinking with my teenage friends at bus stops and in parks. I looked forward to the weekends and remember planning for it during school lessons. Nothing less than 7% cider would do for me, and while my friends shared, I wouldn't and wanted my own bottle. Nothing seems unnatural about this life. Wasn't that what life was about, drinking and partying. My family were binge drinkers and alcoholics, these were my role models, I knew nothing else. I drank excessively from day one. I wanted to be like my brothers and sisters and go to pubs. Our family name was known for big drinking in the small village we lived in, and I was proud of that!

"Nothing seems unnatural about this life. Wasn't that what life was about...drinking!"

When I got to 16 years old I was going to college and drinking in the afternoons. At this stage I was happy, having fun and confident. Although I quickly lost interest in college and started to drop out of my classes, I still didn't see anything wrong with my behavior. For now I am just giving you an outline of my drinking minus emotional issues through my upbringing. I was burdened with a lot of adult issues as a child, which made my childhood a very withdrawn one. Being 6ft"2in and looking in my 20's at the age of 16ys old, I was a regular in my local pubs. Around this time my drinking started to get worse. My friends would even comment on the states I was getting into. I wallowed in self pity, that was the only way I knew how to be.

My sister, who I am very close to, started to lock herself away and drink! I was the only one who she would trust and I would go to the shop for her for alcohol without question. I had this inner knowledge of what was going on. Where as other people would not have understood. With the power of the knowledge I knew, and what my sister went through, I vowed I would never be in that position, without knowing I was already there.

My real dad was schizophrenic and throughout my childhood I would visit mental institutions on a regular basis. But when my sister was ill through alcohol, and my dad had another episode with his schizophrenia, something inside me shut down I had had enough. I started to resent my dad and his illness and the lack of support I had. As I was feeling all this, drink was my release. My Dad escaped the mental hospital he was in and tried to get home, by crossing a river but never made it. This absolutely destroyed me and I say this was the train crash of my life. People thought I was amazing with the way I handled things, little did they know. With the money my dad left me, and my built up emotions my drinking quickly turned nasty. I never knew the extent of this physical addiction but I was soon to find out as the following year came the shakes, sweats, no appetite, fear, and then came that morning drink. When these effects started I was sent I was to the doctors with very bad withdrawals they give me librium to help with the symptoms. My grandparents (whom I lived with during this time) tried to lock me in my bedroom to keep me in. After escaping one night through the bedroom window and yet another binge, I was admitted into a psychiatric unit. During this time the fear was unbelievable. I was hallucinating and reaching out for a drink that wasn't there. The carpet was full of cigarette burns and looked like it was crawling with bugs, I was suffering with severe nosebleeds, my skin had turned yellow and all my face had swelled up. After numerous hospital visits I would still not accept that I couldn't drink. The psychiatrist said I could drink and that it was normal for an 18 year old to crave alcohol! I was being pumped full of drugs including lithium for manic depression. I did start to get better and I attended regular AA meetings for a while whilst in the hospital. I was the youngest person in AA at the time. This kept me sober for 18 months. After several failed attempts at drinking again which included drink diaries, campral, I even thought that if I drank a certain drink I wouldn't get drunk. I was admitted into Smithfield Centre in Manchester for a 10 day detox. I was 21 years old at this time and had lost the use of my legs and had to be carried in. Netherless to say this still never worked for me. My last detox was a home one. It was very hard work, especially being with a partner that didn't understand. I managed to get the librium from my partner and started to take more than I should. Then something happened inside me, and I heard my own inner voice calmly saying to me "Adam, what are you doing to yourself? You are going to have to stop, why prolong this pain?". From that day the 22 August 2004, I have never touched a drop of alcohol again or missed it. I had accepted I couldn't drink! I was 23 years old.

Since that day my life has been amazing, I feel blessed to have had an alcohol problem because I have learnt so much about others and myself. I would not trade my experience in for someone else's knowledge. I have now come to a point in my life where I would like to give something back.

" ...a drink doesn't enter into my head. That was the old me and a new me has been created!"

I was introduced to Brian Morrison who manages a site called Alcohol Peer Support Services, who help people like myself. I am interested in giving a bit back by doing some voluntary work with them, and hopefully having a career in this field I think it’s important that people like myself are given the correct guidance and not just shoved into mental institutions as I was. My savior after AA was a spiritualist church. Now to have a drink would be to lose control. I still have ups and downs but a drink doesn't enter into my head. That was the old me and a new me has been created!