One Day at a Time
When it comes to managing his alcohol addiction Scott is taking it one day at a time.
My name is Scott and I’m currently undertaking the transitional housing program at The Hader Clinic Queensland.
I’m 54, and served in the army for several years, until I moved back into civilian life and took up work in underground mining.
My disease started when I was twenty. I was offered speed (methamphetamines) at work and from the first moment when that needle went in, I was hooked. You could say that I was virtually addicted from day one.
Addiction was a traumatic experience. It led me to homelessness, until I found the army. However, my addiction was stronger than my desire to curb it – and over the following fifteen years, my life became unmanageable.
I attended a rehabilitation program for my speed use and managed to get off, and stay off the drug.
However, at the same time, I left the army and started working in the mining industry. This is an industry where everybody knocks off, and goes to the pub together.
I was a willing participant. My addiction to alcohol crept up on me insidiously. Even though I had attended rehab for methamphetamine use, I had no idea that I was feeding my addictive desires with a new substance. There had been no education around remaining abstinent from ALL substances of abuse, so I didn’t think anything of drinking at first.
It started off with drinking at camp – these are the residential facilities that are provided to mine workers as most mining locations are quite remote. Then I started drinking at home on my days off.
In my mind, I was a success. I was holding down a job, paying my bills and rent. Therefore, at that time, I didn’t consider alcohol to be a problem for me.
However, after six or seven years of escalating alcohol consumption, I had to admit defeat. Again, my life was becoming unmanageable. I was breathalysed at work and lost my job. I was unemployable.
Naturally by this time, I knew that alcohol was the problem. I tried to wean myself off it, but landed in hospital with seizures.
Then I started rehab – I did a couple that were based on CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). Unfortunately, they didn’t keep me sober for long.
My counsellor from “Lives Lived Well” found the Hader Clinic Queensland by mistake. How grateful I am for that “mistake”!
I discovered that the Hader Clinic Queensland’s program was based on a “12 Step” model. I decided to give it a go.
However, it took three goes before I finally surrendered to, and understood, the fact that addiction is a disease and needs to be treated as such.
To be honest, even though I did well in rehab those first and second times, my addiction convinced me that I was OK, that I didn’t need to continually keep working my program.
However, something in me kept reaching back to the staff at The Hader Clinic Queensland for help.
You see, The Hader Clinic Queensland was the only rehab I’ve been to where I was educated in how the disease of addiction plays out. Even though I was taught the consequences of addiction, I wasn’t listening to the staff – for example, I didn’t do the transition program as they suggested.
Now, after my third stint at the residential rehab, I am currently living in the transition house. I have been there for a month. I can see the value in it and I like the accountability it provides, whilst still allowing me to practice my own living skills. It’s a new experience, living with eight others, but it is teaching me acceptance and patience – plus it’s great to connect with others who are fighting similar battles.
Between my first and second experiences in residential rehab, I knew I wasn’t being 100% honest about working my program and drinking. I guess I thought I could manage, but it was the disease fooling me. Deep down, there’s also been this hope that I could be “normal”, that I could have a drink like everyone else and not be affected like I am. The staff at the clinic have told me that it’s not uncommon to have these thoughts.
It’s taken me a while to accept the fact that for my health (and sanity), that I can never pick up a drink again. To be honest, I felt grief that I couldn’t drink again.
However, now I am beginning to accept that I have a disease and that abstinence is part of the treatment.
Going to meetings and understanding that I am not alone in suffering from the disease of addiction has also helped – that people who look and seem “normal” are, in fact, just like me.
Initially I had a false expectation of what life would be like in recovery – it was a bit disappointing that when I got home, everything was the same. However, I am realising that I am the one who is changing.
In the residential rehab, I found all the staff very supportive – from Sue, who does the shopping, to Mark and Jay and Robyn. I appreciate that many of them have lived experience with addiction and are now living fantastic lives.
My plan is to continue with my Transition Housing program. I am taking the time I need in recovery – “one day at a time” is where it is really at.
I’m looking forward to the future and thank the Hader Clinic Queensland for their patience, care and continual encouragement on my journey back to good health.
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