Trent’s Story of Drug and Alcohol Addiction Recovery
“Life is still life, and I would be lying if I said it was all sunshine and rainbows. I have good days and bad days, but I now have a daily program that helps me manage feelings and situations without the use of drugs.”
Trent is 33 years old. He recently celebrated 1 year clean and sober after completing a 28-day detox at Hader Clinic Queensland. This is his story of recovery from alcohol and cannabis addiction.
I had a normal childhood. We lived in a rural NSW town. I was the youngest of 3 with 2 older sisters. I went to a good school. I enjoyed sport and I excelled at it. My dad was the principal of the school, so I felt like I needed to try harder than others to fit in and I was a people pleaser. The overwhelming need to be liked meant I didn’t really know who I was or what I liked to do. I was a chameleon. I liked whatever the crowd I was in liked so I could fit in.
As a teenager, I drank a bit at parties. Nothing too serious, it was what everyone else was doing and didn’t cause too much trouble for me. When I finished high school, I moved to London for 2 years. I worked in the hospitality industry. I worked in nightclubs. It was a lifestyle. The culture was to party all night and sleep all day. I enjoyed my time overseas. I experienced a lot and travelled around Europe and saw some amazing places.
When I returned to Australia, I was 21. I started at University and continued living a party lifestyle. Smoking marijuana became part of my daily life. I needed it to function throughout the day and would feel agitated and anxious if I didn’t have it.
After uni, I worked as a sales rep for an alcohol company. This really enabled my lifestyle of partying and going out all weekend. I had developed a serious marijuana habit. I had to have it to eat and to go to sleep. The only way I could function was if I was stoned. I became very withdrawn and reclusive. I didn’t want to go anywhere; I thought it relieved my stress and anxiety. I didn’t realise that I was addicted to it.
I wasn’t a daily drinker, but when I drank alcohol, I did it to excess. I would get to the point of blacking out nearly every time. I would do embarrassing things and would always wake up full of guilt and shame about the night before. When I drank alcohol I became a different person. My behaviour went against everything I believed in. I felt so ashamed. I was unpredictable. I did not know how I was going to behave once I was under the influence.
Still, I continued to live this way for many years. I didn’t think I had a problem. I always held down good jobs. I was a functioning addict. From the outside, I looked well, and I had a mask that made me feel like everything was ok, even though I felt so empty and sad. I would ask myself, “how could I be a sober alcohol sales rep?” I was very successful. I had worked really hard to get where I was in my career. I made empty promises to myself on a Sunday night. I would try to moderate my drinking and stop completely, but by Thursday, that would all go out the window and the cycle would continue.
When COVID-19 hit in 2020, I became even more isolated. Working from home enabled my reclusive lifestyle, and my social life dramatically changed. Instead of partying out at nightclubs and parties. I began drinking and using cocaine at home. I was so depressed. It was a very uncertain time. This is when things really spiralled out of control for me. I didn’t feel good inside myself but didn’t know what to do. I felt trapped and alone.
Throughout the years, my friends always knew me as a party person. It was an intrinsic part of my personality. My family was sick and tired of watching me burn my life to the ground and rebuild it. They knew I was deeply unhappy but didn’t know how to help me.
I was very self-centred and didn’t think my lifestyle affected others. I had a victim mentality. I would ask myself, “why does this always happen to me?” I could not take any personal responsibility in my life.
I got arrested for drink driving multiple times. On the third occasion, I was away for work in a hire car. The industry I worked in had a zero-tolerance policy on this. I was immediately fired from my job for “gross negligence.” Although I couldn’t see it at the time, this was the best thing that could have happened. It was my way out of this lifestyle I had become trapped in.
My partying and daily marijuana use was affecting the people around me. I had no time for relationships as alcohol and drugs always came first. The longest relationship I had was 4 years. She didn’t like that I smoked pot every day. I was completely unreliable. She would make plans and I would go out all night and be asleep through the day.
After I lost my job and was in serious trouble with the law I was lost. I could no longer deny the impact alcohol and drugs were having on my life. My sister knew I needed help. She found Hader Clinic Queensland online and told me my private health would cover the cost. I didn’t want to go but my life was such a mess I had nothing to lose. I had never sought help before. I wasn’t sure what it could do for me.
I learned so much at Hader Clinic Queensland. I thought I was walking into a prison yard, but it was the opposite. I was set free. Everyone was so understanding, they were not judgmental at all. Being around other addicts and hearing their stories made me feel so comfortable and safe. I realised we were all the same, and I had many “yets”.
For the first time in so long, I had time to sit back and reflect on my life. The foundations I learned in there have helped me immensely. I was taught how to be present with meditation and daily readings. I was introduced to 12 Step fellowships and literature. Narcotics Anonymous meetings have become an important part of my life over the past year.
Life is still life and I would be lying if I said it was all sunshine and rainbows. I have good days and bad days but I now have a daily program that helps me manage feelings and situations without the use of drugs.
I recently celebrated 1 year clean and sober. My life today is so much better. I am gainfully employed in a new career where I get to help people and contribute meaningfully to their life. I have a better relationship with my family and friends. I always had their love, but now I have their respect. I attend regular meetings; I have a sponsor and I work the steps.
Thank you Hader Clinic Queensland for giving me the foundations to build a life I want to be part of.
Names and photographs of this client have been changed to protect their privacy.
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