I suppose I was a heavy drinker for many years from my teenage years, I was successful, I was head of department in hotels all my career. I would usually go home after work most nights and drink 1-2 bottles of wine, or other drinks, I could not leave anything in the bottle or until all the cans were drunk. On nights out I was the party animal that never knew when to stop drinking, the concept of just going out for a few did not exist. I would be the one that would be staggering and falling all over the place at family events. I never classed myself as an alcoholic, heavy drinker maybe.
When I was around 30 I was introduced to drugs, the usual clubbing ones even though I was anti-drugs before that. My confidence went through roof on drugs, and I could remember the night and was much more fun. When I was 32 (2006) I was diagnosed with HIV. Up until that point, things were just about ok. 'Functioning'. I had just bought a house. After the diagnosis it all changed, started to isolate, the drinking increased, the drugs increased much more and the different types of drugs. Falling deeper into a pit of self-pity, as well as self-destruction. The spiral downwards continued, them internal negative condemning voices getting louder, loosing more and more of myself, drinking and using more.
Within one and half years I had gone bankrupt and lost everything. I have lost my well-paid job, had to move back to my parents. Manage to find a new job, but a much lower position, that passion for work had gone, it had one purpose to fund my drinking and drugs. This continued for a few more years, I had lost several other jobs but also losing self-respect, friends, family relationships. Isolating more, loathing myself more. I did start to admit to myself even though I had been told many many times that I have got a major addiction. I would never dream of admitting I had a problem with other people. Looking back I wish I had, the self-destruction continued, unemployed, unhealthy. Actually starting to look like that perception of what society call an addict.
It continued to get worse in every respect until January 2016. When the one person in my life that had not given up on me through everything, my mum, threw me out, I went upstairs took an intentional overdose and left somehow I had found myself walking to the hospital.
That was my rock bottom, and it was at that point that I decided enough was enough. I engaged with services, got myself a council flat and started to slowly rebuild my life. I had hypnotherapy early in recovery and it was amazing. So much so I decided to follow my passion that had started to come back to helping people so trained as Clinical Hypnotherapist, started my own business, old friends returned as well as new friends. the relationship with my family is the best it has ever been.
I live honestly now, no lies or cover up. I can actually say I like who I see in the mirror, I can say I am worthy.
Even though peoples stories are different, the end result is always the same. Starts as fun then become's a crotch, then the go-to ending in full-blown addiction. I truly believe that people do not have to hit rock bottom in order to recover. There is no need to lose everything in their life. Being able to look back on my life with clarity, I can there was times when I could have taken control back. There is a point of no return, once past that point hitting a personal rock bottom is something needed to encourage change. I would not want anyone to reach the dark places I went to.
I understand addiction and thoughts and behaviors that we have, the denial, the fear. I also understand recovery and turning my life around. I use everything I have learned from my journey and use it to help my clients take control back.
The word addiction conjures a picture of an unkempt person highly dependant on alcohol or drugs. Everything is on a spectrum and that picture is the latter stages of addiction. Before that, however, there are many more people that a functioning, they are still working, keeping to responsibilities but are not fully in the present, they always thinking about their next drink, next drug or gamble (to name a few). Their moods change, they are just about function, do what they have to do to get through a day. Full of denial, I prefer the terms 'miss using' or 'abusing'.