From the depths of despair

Greetings. My name does not matter, but my story of alcohol and drug abuse may. At the behest of my loved ones, people who really care about me, I've been encouraged to put this down here in the hope that it may give someone the will to go on for one more day.

For that's how it was for me just five years ago. It was only then after I had lost everything, my home, my family, and the respect of those who meant the most to me. My self-respect and my will to live. When all is gone and you feel that you can't go on any more, a decision has to be made one way or the other.

Perhaps I should go back to my youth where it all starts I suppose. Born into an average middle class family on the northern suburbs of Sydney, I, the youngest of four children succumbed at an early age to the taste of alcohol. Looking back I think I was just one of those people that are prone to depression anyway and this with the alcohol, started me off behind the eight ball so to speak. My father was a heavy drinker and I just grew up with it accepting it as the norm. But, I liked it nonetheless and continued drinking to excess for most of my life. I got in with the wrong type of people and lived a life of crime. I suppose not much different to most young people today. I just always went over the top. I smashed every vehicle that I owned due to my drinking. I let down my family and friends more times than I care to count. I'd be breaking into houses and stealing things to sell to get money for alcohol.

I'm pretty lucky in that drugs were not as freely available back in the sixty's for I would have been into that as well for sure. But, I was unaware at the time that my life was slowly but surely going in a downhill direction. I was self employed and earned good money in the building game.

It was not until I came well into my forties that my love for marijuana, together with all the beer I was drinking, started to take their collective toll upon my mind and body. I made my own beer and grew my own dope, which I also was selling to anyone who had the money, which did cause me some moral concerns as to what I may be doing to other peoples lives. I did have a conscience it seems even though most of the time I was totally wasted. Not a good mix, beer and marijuana, but I loved both of them and couldn't get enough of either. I'd have at any given time a thousand stubbies stacked up in my garage. I had a full size fridge full in the garage, beer in the fridge in the kitchen and another fridge full upstairs in my house on the Gold Coast.

Gradually the drugs took over my life. I was starting to get into it earlier and earlier each day. Also my intake of alcohol was increasing at the same time. I got quite good at sucking on a bong. I used to look at all the tar which accumulated within it and did wonder at times just what this was doing to my insides. But nevertheless I carried on regardless. I became really paranoid and reclusive. I shut myself from the world virtually, and sunk deeper and deeper into a depression that I thought I would never recover from. I'd come to the table for my evening meal totally whacked out of my brain. I was very hard to live with indeed and eventually my marriage was to pay. My daughter at this time was still living at home with a small child and she told me that I was hopelessly addicted and could never give it up, even if I wanted to. One night at the dinner table I was so ripped that all I wanted to do was go and lay on the carpet in the lounge room, which was only a few feet away. But, I just couldn't move. I could see where I wanted to go, but couldn't get myself out of the chair. But then I forced myself up and in my haste to get into the lounge fell over and hit my head on the wall of the kitchen. I just lay there looking up at my daughter who was standing over me, and I got this enormous sense of shame come over me. I was totally helpless there lying on the floor. I felt so foolish and embarrassed at what I had become.

Something happened to me right then. Right there on the floor of my kitchen it suddenly occurred to me that my life was in tatters. My relationship with my wife was in serious trouble. As a matter of fact it was over really, and had been for some time. Strangely enough it was my daughter and her boyfriend that got me started on drugs in the first place. I used to smoke years before when she was but a baby, but gave it up then to set a good example for her I suppose.

During all this time I was also under medication for depression. It was really a serious situation .I tried everything there was for my depression, but nothing seemed to work, no matter what I took. I suppose my one saving grace was that I didn't smoke cigarettes. I gave them up just like that some six years previous. Funnily enough I thought they were no good for my health, yet here I was suckling all this black tar from the bong into my lungs like there was no tomorrow. Anyway laying on the floor that night was the first time really that I thought to myself that I'd better do something or else I may not survive the next time I fell over. And the mere fact that my daughter said that I couldn't give it up spurred me to do just that. But there was more than one reason. I really think at the end of the day you have to get off the floor and help yourself. Nobody can do it for you. I made a decision there and then that I was going to turn my life around. I was going to get better. I wanted to get better. I went and had counselling. I started attending a church nearby to where I lived. I was looking for help. I found a soft place to land at that church. It was there that slowly but surely my life started to have some meaning. A purpose.

In the meantime I poured all my beer down the drain. I threw my drugs into the fire and swore then that never again would I indulge. Of course my wife and daughter did not believe me at the time. But, I was determined. My course was set and I would not fail. Although my family life as I knew it was over. My house was sold and I was alone. I moved in with my mother. I won’t say it was smooth sailing from that day forth, because it was at times anything but. I've endeavoured to improve myself without drugs or beer.

I don't miss them one bit. It's been five years since I've had a drink or any drugs. I have a woman in my life now who has given me strength and the will to go on. She is my rock upon which I will rebuild my self-esteem and respect. I consider myself very fortunate that I have her to love. I've discovered new things to do with my life. Worthwhile things. I've taken up guitar. I've discovered that I can draw. My head is clear. I actually listen to people and hear what they say. I'm a totally different person to the beer swilling drug induced paranoid person that used to dwell inside me. I'm happy. I love life. I want to learn and grow. It's quite amazing really when I look back on the man I was. The man who was about to hang himself in his garage because he thought nobody cared for him. I was wrong. There are some fine people in this world. All you have to do is reach out. Have the courage to seek help. Have faith in yourself and let people help you. We all need help at some time in our lives. I'm twice the man I was. I'm so thankful to so many caring people who gave me their time on my climb out of the black hole of depression. And there's help for you too. Don't give up.

Never give up. Keep focussed if you can. Some days you may slip back a little and think you’re getting nowhere. That's okay. That's okay. Don't beat yourself up. Just take one day at a time. I do. I'm now fifty eight years old and I feel like I've only just begun to live. To live without drugs. To live without being off your face every day .To be sober. I've been a fool for most of my life. But it's never too late. It wasn't for me and it's not for you either. To have this peace within is the most wonderful drug you can have. God bless you. You can make it.