For years I asked myself that question and every morning I would wake up, out of my alcohol and drug induced sleep and say to myself………………. “Today I will not drink or drug”. Within minutes I was taking some form of substance to get me going and I just did not stop, because I couldn’t!
How did I end up like that, I don’t know, but it was horrible and I never ever want to go back there.
Let me tell you a bit about me, what happened to me and where I am at today (sounds a bit like a self-help group meeting doesn’t it, well read on).
I did not drink until I was 18 years old and used to drink at a hotel in West Sydney, NSW. I remember my first schooner as if it was yesterday, bloody beautiful, cold, wet and best of all it made me tingle and feel different. After a couple I did not have a care in the world and I quickly worked out that the more I drank the less it mattered what was going on around me…………….from there the journey began.
I joined a major bank and drank my way through a 20 year career, finally drinking and drugging my way out of that career, at management level. “How did that happen, how could I become a BANK MANAGER, but lose that job because of my addiction? What do I do next?”
I started a lawn mowing business as it allowed me time to feed my habit, lots of grass available, ha ha, I even told people I was dealing heavily in grass! But when the grass don’t grow no money comes in and I landed a night shift job packing yoghurt, not bad eh from a Bank Manger to a factory worker (nothing against factory workers) but all my skills I had acquired over the years had been removed by my addiction.
My consumption of alcohol and cannabis increased, I stopped eating and sleeping and sent myself insane…………….then the family copped it.
One Saturday night I asked my wife a question and she answered me with a no!!!! I went psycho and punched 4 holes in the kitchen wall, thank God it was not my wife’s head and she called the police and I was taken away. I was suicidal and rang a counselling group who suggested I may have an alcohol and drug problem (as if I did not know that) and I should get help. “Where the hell do I get that?” I said, as I wanted it right then and there not in a week’s time. It was suggested I commit to a safe plan and go to the counselling group the next day.
That did not happen. I went to my doctor and he referred me to a hospital in West Sydney. I was assessed and it was suggested I go to detox………….”What the hell is that?” I said, as I had no idea. They gave me a few names of Detoxification Centres. “No way” I said, “I am not going there as they’re for bad alcoholics and addicts, not for me”. Then they uttered the magic words of two psychiatric facilities in West Sydney. “Hallelujah” I said, “when can I go?” as I was that insane I knew what the Hospital was and wanted to go there because I was crazy, not for anything to do with my addictions.
I will never, ever forget the feeling of absolute fear that was in me when I stood at the door, waiting to enter and be admitted. I thought I would never come out and that I would be strapped to the bed and drip fed for the rest of my life. Absolutely insane, I entered and was greeted by an admissions nurse who asked me such questions as…………………….
Have you seen spiders crawl up the wall………………….?
Who is the Prime Minister……….?
And others I cannot recall.
Why is she asking me these stupid questions I thought. Today I know why, she was measuring the degree of damage I had done to myself! We are starting to get to where my story differs from the run of the mill who do detox and go to self-help groups or whatever and here is why.
I attended the compulsory group sessions (great idea otherwise I would not have gone) and compulsory self-help group meetings. It was during that time I worked out that I was not alone in the world and there were other people just like me who wanted to stop, but could not. I started to go to a self-help group because I liked it and I found it good for me, but I also was coming to the Detox 3 or 4 times a week for meetings and started to talk to the patients.
The staff at the hospital recognised that I had a rapport with the patients and soon I was being groomed up to facilitate patient support groups and I became an important part of the support network for a period of 6 years until the Detox was closed as a live in centre. During that period I sat, lay, fell, whatever it took, with about 5500 patients and heard stories that even the professionals in that field would not have heard as I am one of these people, the difference being that I have been getting well, slowly one day at a time.
The suffering alcoholic and addict sees no future because of where the addiction leads them, but I have seen hundreds of people get well, using a range of methods, but I must stress the most successful of all are the twelve step programmes, these combined with whatever else is necessary will work for anyone…………………………
IF THEY WANT IT TO WORK.!
If an alcoholic or addict is forced to stop by family, friends, courts or whatever, they will not until they have had enough and want to do it for themselves.
What am I doing today?………
I am a Logistics Manager for a large Pharmaceutical Company. I have a manageable debt, have restored my relationship with my wife and children. I have two loving grandchildren and I live a wonderful, wonderful life, a life far removed from the pathetic existence of the addict, lying, cheating and scamming on a daily basis just to survive.
Today I do not survive, I live a life beyond my wildest dreams and all the fears from back at day one in detox at the Psychiatric Hospital are long gone. There is
no fear today, only a sense of hope that life can only get better on this 10th year of my journey of life.