Andrew’s Story of Drug and Alcohol Addiction Recovery
Andrew is 49 years old and recently sought alcohol addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland. After completing the 28-day program he has stayed sober for over 2 months. This is his story of recovery.
I grew up with my Mum and Sister. I was a very introverted child. I didn’t have a lot of friends. I was very quiet and found it difficult to socialise. At the age of 5, I suffered a trauma at the hands of a loved one. Drugs and alcohol were my only coping mechanism.
The first time I drank alcohol was when I was 12. I stole it from the cupboard at home.
I remember drinking and feeling instant relief, it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. It took away the pain that I was dealing with on my own. I continued to steal alcohol from the cupboard at home regularly to self-medicate.
When I started high school, I made some older friends. They could get alcohol for me, I started going to parties every weekend and smoking pot most days. I wasn’t interested in school. I had no ambitions and no hobbies.
Everything centred around drinking and partying. Alcohol gave me the confidence I needed to make friends and feel a connection with other people.
I finished year 10 and started an apprenticeship. I would smoke pot every morning and drink every night. I didn’t see it as an issue, I believed that it helped me function. I completed my apprenticeship and started working. This cycle continued into my early 20’s.
My partying continued but progressed to much heavier drugs. I started to use amphetamines. I would drink myself unconscious every night and then use amphetamines to get through the day. Drugs and alcohol became the only way I could function.
When I was 27 I got married and started a family. We have a beautiful daughter together. I was able to stop the daily use of drugs but the alcohol addiction increased. My ex-wife was more accepting of the alcohol. I could not stop drinking, it didn’t even cross my mind to try. We were married for 16 years. In the last 5 years of our marriage, my drinking caused irreparable damage to our relationship.
As a result, my wife left me because she couldn’t live with me any longer, I was slowly killing myself and was horrible to be around. I was devastated and turned to drink even more alcohol to cope with the pain. I also started to smoke pot and use amphetamines daily again. I managed to maintain my work commitments, mostly because I needed the money to support my lifestyle.
Over the next 6 years after the break-up, I didn’t take a sober breath. My daughter stayed with me after the separation. She was basically my carer from the age of 14 to 20. She had to look after me every day. I would drink as soon as I got home from work until I passed out. She would cry and beg me to stop drinking.
Two years ago, my doctor told me I had to stop drinking or I would die. He told me my kidneys and liver were going to fail. My blood tests showed that if I didn’t stop drinking everything was going to shut down. I tried to stop but could only manage to reduce the amount I drank. I was drinking over a litre of scotch a night. I would reduce it down to a 6 pack.
This would last for a few weeks and then I would go back to drinking copious amounts of alcohol. If I didn’t drink, I would shake and dry reach. The alcohol withdrawal symptoms were unbearable and only drinking would make me feel ok again.
This went on for another 2 years. My doctor continued to tell me I was going to die. My daughter begged me to stop. One night I made a decision. I told my daughter I have got to stop or I will die. To my surprise, she had already been in contact with Hader Clinic Queensland. I work in a family business and my sister was very supportive of me getting help. I was able to take the time off work to get treatment.
I went to see my Doctor and asked him if there was any way I could do this on my own, he told me that I was completely dependent on alcohol and that I would need support. I was finally ready. I couldn’t do this on my own. I finally accepted help.
I went to an interview at Hader Clinic Queensland on a Thursday, and I was in there by the following Monday. The admission process was very easy and quick.
The staff at Hader Clinic Queensland were absolutely amazing, I learned about addiction. The stories of other recovering addicts gave me hope. I was given tools that had been proven and worked for other people. I was introduced to AA and NA. I was taught to read the literature.
They taught me how to journal, I had never done this before. This was life-changing. I was able to get my feelings out on paper and learn how to sit with these uncomfortable feelings. I still do this practice every day. I read the Daily Reflections and Just for Today reading every day. I attend regular meetings.
I couldn’t have done this without Hader Clinic Queensland, the guidance and education I received have turned my life around. The 28 days there gave me space between the last time I used or drank alcohol.
The foundation I built and the daily program I have been given have made living in the community clean and sober a possibility. I now have peers I can talk to. I finally feel a connection to the world around me.
72 days sober and I feel completely free from the compulsion to drink and use drugs. I know that I have a long journey ahead. Thanks to Hader Clinic Queensland and the continuing support I feel confident that I have the tools I need to succeed.
Photographs of this client have been changed to protect their privacy.
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