A Veteran’s Story of Alcohol Addiction and Recovery
After completing 90 days of Residential Addiction Treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland, Carlos is six months sober and moving forward with a positive outlook. This is his story.
I wasn’t really much of a drinker, my dad had an alcohol addiction and I didn’t want to be like him so I didn’t really drink, but then I joined the army and things changed. I got into drinking socially, it was a heavy drinking culture in the armed services, and then continued after when I became a tradesperson. I thought I was doing okay because my life looked good from the outside, but everything fell apart and I turned to drinking. My alcohol addiction kept getting worse until I went into the 90-day residential addiction treatment program at Hader Clinic Queensland.
When I joined the army, I really started drinking. They had these ‘boozer parades’ where it was mandatory that you turn up and drink. I was still doing well, I even got ‘Soldier of the Year’, but when I was drinking I was drinking hard. I was deployed during my time in the army, and I also had undiagnosed complex PTSD from a traumatic experience in my childhood. After the army, I became a tradesman, which involved a lot of social drinking. From there my drinking continued into partying, which I hadn’t been doing before.
Around this time I had my first child, and my partner had postnatal depression but didn’t want to get help with babysitters or anything like that. I did whatever I could to leave the house and go drinking, even hiding a lot of it from my partner. From the outside, we looked like a happy family as I built a house, and we had two children. We were trying to make it work. I was really into my fitness at the time and was only drinking on the weekends or on special occasions, but when I was drinking it was heavy.
Things started to change after my partner and I broke up. I started partying a lot and I got into a relationship with another alcoholic. Fitness began to take a sidestep, and I got into a car accident that rendered me unable to work. Because I was in this bad relationship and unable to work, I was just drinking all the time. After that relationship ended I was living in motels and my alcohol addiction was in full swing as I had nothing to do but drink due to not being able to work.
I was living in hotels at the time through the help of RSL, and my alcohol addiction was just so bad that I called them up one day and said I needed help. I couldn’t stop drinking, I couldn’t work, I was just so full of depression and suicidal, and I didn’t know what to do. RSL said I should try DVA-funded addiction treatment and suggested Hader Clinic Queensland, but that I had to make the call myself.
I ended up calling Hader Clinic Queensland when I was drunk, and they said I could go to the 90-day residential addiction treatment program in two weeks. At the time I was coming up with every excuse to try and push the start date back, but I realised that I was choosing to die instead of the opportunity to get better. So, I took the date in two weeks’ time. I drank all the way up until the night before I entered the residential addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland, but I got into the taxi, and I started the program the next day.
I progressed through rehab thinking I would stay for just over a month, but I ended up finishing the whole program. It was about week 10 when I was doing the Exit Plan strategies that I realised that this was the first time in my life that I had actually tried to stop drinking. Previously I had tried cutting down and controlling it, but I’d never tried to stop. Since my time in the 90-day residential addiction treatment program at Hader Clinic Queensland, I have been smashing my goals. I go to meetings as much as possible, sometimes even driving to the coast to remind me of what I was thinking and feeling in rehab.
I’m coming up to 6 months sober and have been spending that time really focusing on my addiction recovery. I haven’t had the desire to drink, and I think it’s because I’ve stuck with the program. Get a sponsor, go to meetings, do step work very thoroughly, and I don’t lie. I have my kids every weekend now and we spend time just doing what we want to do together with no devices. Everything is starting to come together, and I’ve really been focusing on staying grounded.
The photograph of this client has been changed to protect their privacy.
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