Colin’s Alcohol Recovery Story
Hi, my name is Colin. I am looking forward to the best years of my life now that I am no longer affected by alcohol.
I’m fifty-nine years old. I did Hader Clinic Queensland’s thirty-day program and have been in recovery for just over four months.
Like lots of other young men, I started drinking when I was 15-16 years old. I played all types of sport – you name it – soccer, golf, cricket, and these games usually involved having a drink afterwards as a means of wrapping up a game, series etc.
I also worked as a tradesman and having a drink after a long hot day on the tools was commonplace.
At this time, I did not concern myself with whether I had a problem with drinking or alcohol in general. It was just part of my life and I considered myself to be as normal as the next Aussie bloke.
I felt like I was the typical red-blooded Aussie male immersed in a national drinking culture.
In my mid-30s, my business collapsed. At the same time, my first wife asked for a divorce. I had no idea how to handle these feelings of despair, grief, and panic, so I turned to what I knew would numb the pain – drinking.
However, I slowly but surely got back on my feet, launched a new business, met a nice lady (my now wife) and rebuilt again. The tide was starting to turn, and life was better.
This meant that rather than drinking to numb my feelings, I was drinking for excitement. Underneath it all, I was an unstable mess. The first business collapse had hit me hard, and my drinking was driven by fear of the same thing happening again.
“Don’t mess up,” I told myself, all the while drinking to numb the feelings of insecurity and panic, plus marvel that I’d been able to back up financially.
Today, I wonder what could have possibly been if I had been sober!
Over the last five to six years, I was able to establish myself in a good position financially. At the same time, I realised that I could not stop drinking.
I tried doctors, counselling, psychologists, and medications with limited success. I tried naltrexone, which had unfortunate side effects, plus I knew that I could go back to drinking as soon as I stopped.
I’d have one or two drinks and I’d think, “screw it, may as well keep going”. I measured my intake by the bottle, rather than the percentage of alcohol.
I was sick of myself. My wife was sick of me.
I wasn’t violent, neither did I wreck things. I considered myself to be a “high functioning” alcoholic who was successfully running two businesses. I wasn’t on a park bench, neither was I drinking at 6am.
Yet, I was out of control.
Deciding that it was time to make a change, I searched for residential rehabs.
Given that I wanted a safe detox from alcohol, I chose to attend the Hader Clinic Queensland Private hospital and did their detox and rehabilitation program.
Luckily, my private health insurance covered a lot of the cost.
My thirty days in hospital felt quite surreal. It wasn’t your usual hospital experience. There were all types of classes about addiction to attend and I even learned how to meditate.
However, I had moments of fun too. I had emotionally bottomed out, so it was nice to learn how to “feel” things again.
Rehab felt like my last shot, and I had been ready to act. It gave me the breathing space to evaluate what I wanted from life and it was enlightening to be functioning as a sober person.
Naturally when I was discharged, I was fearful about how I would manage. However, attending AA meetings twice a week and doing the book work has been a leveller. It’s a myth that alcoholics are the guys you see zonked out on the park bench. I rub shoulders with people from all walks of life and that gives me the confidence to stay straight.
My family are happy and grateful that I went to rehab. My relationships with them are much improved. I’m a much calmer, less reactive person.
Work has improved out of sight. Before rehab, I had felt beaten down and wanting to retire. Now, I am thinking clearly, feel engaged and enthusiastic about what I’m doing. Therefore, I delayed my retirement. It’s really the first time in my own business that I have been sober, and I couldn’t be happier.
I think success in rehab has to do with being ready, asking questions, and learning to recognize the B.S you tell yourself when you’re in active addiction.
If you realise that you have a problem from the beginning, the recovery seems to be easier to manage.
I have been fine around others drinking during this Christmas period. I have moments where I think it would be nice, but I remain vigilant about not going down that path. If there’d been a Christmas party prior to rehab, I most certainly would have been the drunkest person there.
It’s a relief not to be that person anymore. My plan is to continue my regular AA meetings and do my bookwork.
And take one day at a time! Thanks to the Hader Clinic Queensland for your help and support.
Queensland’s only private rehab centre with ACHS accreditation
We are proud to be the only private drug and alcohol addiction treatment centre in Queensland to be independantly accredited.