Sheehan's Journey of Alcohol Addiction to Recovery - Hader Clinic

Sheehan’s Journey Through Alcohol Addiction to Recovery

After 60 days of residential addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland, Sheehan is over nine months clean and sober. This is his story.

After a childhood of moving around a lot, I discovered alcohol and drugs in my teens which resulted in years of active addiction. I’ve completed 60 days of residential addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland and am looking to a future sober and free from drugs.

My parents migrated to England from East Africa before I was born, and we spent all of my childhood moving countries every couple of years and changing schools every few months. I struggled to develop close friendships and experienced a feeling of internal displacement from the constant readjusting after each move. When I was 15 I drank alcohol for the first time and smoked a bit of pot.

I hadn’t been exposed to alcohol really before this, except in music, movies, and TV where it was romanticised, so I went pretty hard. Even though I had made a mess of myself I do remember loving it from the start though, because of the feeling of peace I felt when I drank. All the noise and confusion and feelings of internal displacement that was running through my teenage head was quiet. And I was able to talk to girls.

When I was 18 I decided to move back to Australia which we had spent some time in during my childhood. I studied at university and developed strong relationships with people that I am still friends with today. But I had developed a relationship with alcohol that was already turning into alcoholism.

I knew that drinking by myself wasn’t great so I used social situations to feel more comfortable. I also dabbled in drugs, getting really into psychedelics as I tried to find the answers to life’s big questions. My drug use has always kind of been there but fluctuating, whereas alcohol has been my primary drug. Alcohol was always available, legal, and everywhere in Australia and overseas.

After university, I worked on and off as I went through lots of blackout benders and travelling. I was in a long-term relationship, and she tried to make it work even though I wasn’t a great partner. She even took me to my first-ever AA meeting. I was so drunk I don’t remember much, but I do remember being very uncomfortable. However, it planted a seed.

Over the years I went through periods of being dry drunk and then relapsing. I moved in and out of my parent’s home up north, gained weight and drank more. It continued like that pretty much up until I went to rehab.

In the lead-up to going to Hader Clinic Queensland, I had lost jobs, had relationships fail, and gone through periods of feeling suicidal. I’d tried going to AA a few times, but things just went from bad to worse. Eventually, I started opening up to my family more and my Mum recommended Hader Clinic Queensland and alcohol addiction treatment to me.

I called them and chatted with JJ and Jo. I didn’t go in straight away; it wasn’t until I realised that I couldn’t do it on my own that I booked in. I tried to stay dry in the lead-up to rehab but it just wasn’t really possible for me. I decided to have one last hurrah.

In the end, 60 days of alcohol addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland saved my life. When I checked in I didn’t really need detox and I didn’t want to mess around so I went straight to the rehab program.

One of the best things I took from my time in Hader was when I walked into a class that Mark was running and he was explaining the difference between being abstinent and being in recovery. It really sunk in what that difference was, and I still think about it almost on a daily basis. I realised that my sober periods before never really worked for me because just stopping drinking and taking drugs isn’t enough, I need to work on myself.

After completing 60 days of residential addiction treatment, I’m still working on myself and my recovery every day. I go to meetings every day, sometimes twice if I have the time.

I do everything that Hader Clinic Queensland taught me in the rooms. I maintain the fitness I got back during my time in rehab. I’ve got a great sponsor, and I’ve got God in my life again. I pray every day and I try to meditate as well. I’m even looking into seeing a therapist to help me resolve some past traumas that I know I need professional help with.

Another big thing I took from my time in rehab was the importance of re-establishing and maintaining loving and caring relationships in your life. Those connections are one of the most important things to me now. I have a lot of people in my life that I love, and who I’m loved by, and I’m just very grateful.

Thanks to my time in Hader Clinic Queensland’s drug addiction treatment, I’m over nine months sober, and recovery and those love-filled relationships are the biggest part of my life.

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