PAUL fell into bad drinking habits in his early teens and his drinking quickly spiralled out of control turning him into a “liar, thief and a cheat” and leaving him homeless.
He said: “I don’t know what inadequacies I was trying to hide from but alcohol seemed to supply a suitable refuge. By the time I left university, morning drinking had appeared on the horizon – I called it ‘hair of the dog’ and it worked for a while.
“My obsession with a drinking culture meant many business opportunities were wrecked or missed. My habitual drunkenness, which it had become, ruined many a relationship although I did eventually marry.
“Everything went well for a while, my freelance work and my wife’s salary brought in enough money to cover bills but when my work dried up overnight we failed to pay the mortgage and were quickly finding ourselves in serious arrears.”
Despite hitting rock bottom Paul said he did not modify his dangerous lifestyle at all.
He added: “In fact I now drank more, I drank because of the feelings of personal failure and I drank because she was always complaining about the way that I drank. I neglected my family and my wife. I became a profound liar, thief and cheat.
Drink no longer gave me any respite from the revulsion for myself and the world around me. I was truly devastated, homeless, friendless, and penniless and I had given all these things up in pursuit of booze. It had cost me much more than money. Six months later I was admitted to a ‘home for the bewildered’ and treated for chronic alcoholism. That was August 17, 1992. Thanks to the medical help to detox there and the ongoing and patient support of AA, I have remained sober.
“I am remarried and have wonderful and rewarding relationships with my wife, children, family and friends. I have been a tax- paying, VAT-paying citizen of our society and have been fully self- supporting for the last two decades – even through a couple of recessions. I have experienced many joys and much heartache while sober and I’m free of the fear of not being able to face life on life’s terms.
“Without my attendance at AA and my willingness to take on board the suggestions given, I do not believe that I would have remained sober on my own. Up until the age of 28 I capitulated to the call of alcohol on every occasion – no matter if my life had depended on me remaining sober. I have never regretted being sober the night before.”
AFTER years of dealing with her alcoholic father, Liz thought the last thing she would do was turn into an alcoholic herself.
‘I would never do this to my family!’ I remember screaming this at my Dad many times, on many occasions. I thought that because he ‘wouldn’t’ stop drinking, it meant he didn’t love us. I didn’t understand that it wasn’t a matter of ‘wouldn’t’ but ‘couldn’t’.
“Unfortunately, I was to be proved a liar. I did exactly the same to my family. I turned into a liar, a cheat and continual source of worry and despair for them all. How could this have happened? I wasn’t stupid. I had a ‘strong will’, didn’t I? I’d proved that many times.
“On the surface everything looked good. I had a job, a wonderful husband, a beautiful child and many friends. Why then was I waking up with a hangover every day and spending every waking moment either drinking or thinking about how to make sure I could drink?
“Why had this been going on for nearly 30 years and how had it got to the point where I was about to lose everything?”
Liz said at her lowest point she wanted to end her own life.
She added: “I wanted to stop; knew I had a problem, knew I was an alcoholic – hadn’t I grown up with one? Shouldn’t I know better?
“I tried and I failed countless times. I started to understand the difference between ‘wouldn’t’ and ‘couldn’t’. What I didn’t understand was what alcoholism really is. I didn’t have a choice. I was addicted to the stuff – it is a physical, mental and spiritual illness and I hadn’t the first idea how to get better and stop hurting the people I loved so much.
“That’s when I finally contacted AA. It was the best move I have ever made. This fellowship saved my life and enabled me to really start to live, happily. If any of this sounds familiar, give us a call. You don’t have to do it alone.”
To contact Alcoholics Anonymous call 0845 769 7555 or email help@ alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk