Shane’s Alcohol and Codeine Addiction Recovery
I grew up in an alcoholic family and my childhood was very chaotic. I was always alone. My Dad was always at work or drinking. I was an intelligent kid and did well at school. I had a best friend who left in year 5, and after that I never really had friends. My parents were highly critical of everything I did, particularly my mum. She was a very prideful woman of English Heritage.
During primary school and high school, I was bullied relentlessly. I was constantly on edge. I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. I felt out of place at home and at school. I felt like I didn’t have my own identity.
When I was 18, I got drunk on a cask of wine. It was great, like floating on air. I was only drinking socially in my late teens/early 20’s. I was a hard worker, and I felt very successful.
By the age of 28, I already had 2 children and a wife, I had bought 2 houses. I felt like all these things made me a successful person. I didn’t feel as though my drinking was an issue and was only a social thing.
In 1996, I started my accounting degree. I was very focused on achieving this goal. Towards the end of the degree, I was so focused on this that I wasn’t a present father or husband. I see now that I’d been obsessed with making my mum proud of me. I couldn’t focus on anything else.
My wife and I separated in 2002. It was an extremely stressful time. I was 80% through building a house and finishing my degree. Being separated from my children was extremely painful. I had severe headaches, and I was in so much emotional pain. I went to the doctor, and he prescribed me some opiate-based painkillers. I realised it took away the emotional pain along with the physical pain I was in.
I took a box of Nurofen plus every day. I was physically numb. If I could get codeine, it was good and if I couldn’t, I would become very angry. I was mixing codeine and alcohol every day. This went on for 2 years. I realised I had a serious physical and mental addiction. I would try to stop and I would have extreme withdrawal symptoms. It was a living hell.
I went to ATODs to get help and they put me on Subutex. I was still drinking alcohol daily. I was a high-functioning alcoholic. I was still working and had a few different relationships, but I found these hard to maintain. In 2007 I stopped drinking cold turkey for 12 months. This renewed my hope that I could control it and didn’t have a problem.
In March 2008 I was offered a job in the mines. Drinking and drugs were an enormous problem there. I started drinking again. I was so depressed; I spent so much time listening to other men who were suffering out there.
This continued for over a decade. I was just in a loop of drinking and being on Subutex. It was isolating, I felt trapped and tied to a chemist. Everything revolved around whether I would have access to it. What job I had, where I lived, everything revolved around Subutex.
I decided to get off it and saw a GP to help me. I realise now that drinking alcohol quickly took its place. At nighttime, I would drink until I was unconscious. On the weekends, I would drink non-stop. I had finally had enough of the life I was living. I knew I needed help.
I googled rehabs and Hader Clinic Queensland popped up. I did a 90-day program. When I arrived, I felt relieved to be there and to be finally receiving some help that didn’t revolve around medication. I learned so many coping mechanisms. I was introduced to 12-step programs and meetings. Daily structure, daily gratitude lists. I learned that I really had to be honest and do the work if I wanted to have a better life.
Today I am 4 and a half months sober, my life is infinitely better. I have so much hope for my future. Some days are better than others. My family and my children have been in touch with me. I know leading a clean and sober life is challenging, but thanks to the amazing foundation I have built, I know it is possible one day at a time.
Thank you, Hader Clinic Queensland, for saving my life.
Names and photographs of this client have been changed to protect their privacy.
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