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My surprise alcohol dependency

Meet Andy, 34, from Liverpool. Andy’s heavy drinking in his twenties progressed unknowingly to a serious alcohol dependency by the time he reached his thirties. It was only when he began to research his alcohol withdrawal symptoms that he found Port of Call and got the help he needed from a professional alcohol rehab centre. This is Andy’s candid account of how he dealt with his alcohol problem.

Andy’s story – An alcohol dependency case study from Port of Call

I started my construction business young, at the age of 23. All my family had been in the building trade; my dad, my brother, uncles, cousins. I never thought of doing anything else. A few of my mates came to join the business and we had a wail of a time. Whenever we’d finish early, which was most days, we’d head down to the bookies and then have some pints in town.

Alcohol dependency treatment

We’re all big lads, so we’d put away a fair few pints on a session. We were always flush, from cash-in-hand jobs, and the rounds would come thick and fast. My twenties went by in bit of a haze. Work hard, play harder was our motto and we stuck to it. I met my future wife on one of our nights out.

Marriage didn’t change me a whole lot. I tried to cut back the boozing a bit before the wedding day but I just felt queasy, a bit shaky and couldn’t sleep properly. I put that down to nerves and met up with the boys as much as I could to make the most of my final weeks of ‘freedom’.

A few weeks after we got back from our honeymoon, news of the recession broke. It hit the business hard. The housing market bombed and the building work dried up. It was gutting having to let some of my best friends go because I couldn’t afford to keep them on. I found comfort drinking in my local, usually on my own. It was a really dark time, but I still wouldn’t have said that my drinking was an issue.

By 2014, business was back on track, and I’d managed to rebuild my friendships again. The big shock though was that my wife turned round one day and gave me an ultimatum. She said either I stopped drinking with the lads so much or she’d leave me. This came as a huge surprise. I didn’t even think I went out as much as some of the other lads but I promised to see them less for her.

After a few days of not drinking I should have felt great.

I didn’t though, I felt awful. I had the shakes, I felt sick and constantly anxious.

Work was impossible. I couldn’t concentrate on what I was doing and my moods would swing violently from having a laugh and banter one minute, to flying off the handle the next. I was a danger to myself and the lads on site. I decided to take a week off work.

I was scared. I wanted my wife but by then she was staying at her mother’s for some ‘space.’ In a panic I got on the internet and typed in all my symptoms. I found Port of Call’s website, completely by chance, and was shocked to find that all the things I was experiencing sounded a lot like alcohol withdrawal. ‘That’s what alcoholics go through, not me’ I thought and buried my head.

The next day, I felt worse than ever. I ached all over and could barely get out of bed. My laptop was still open on Port of Call, so I gave them a call in complete desperation. After calming me down, the adviser asked me about my drinking habits and all my symptoms. I couldn’t believe it when they told me that it was highly likely that I’d developed an alcohol dependency.

It turned out that I was going through alcohol withdrawal and that was why I was feeling so ill. Port of Call suggested that I should get myself checked out. They managed to find me a local rehab centre and booked me in for a detox two days later. The doctors and nurses there were great. Everything about my detox was slow and gradual. I had no idea how dangerous it is to come off alcohol quickly.

It was tough, I can’t lie. The staff at the clinic were absolutely brilliant, they made sure I was looked after 24/7 and that I was kept as comfortable as possible. Eventually, I began to feel human again. I was sleeping better and my moods were back to normal. I thought that once the detox was finished that that would be it. But there was so much more involved in the rehab process, like individual and group therapy.

I’m not one for talking about my emotions. So the counselling was probably the hardest thing for me. But it really helped. That was 18 months ago now. I’ve been going to AA meetings every week since I checked out of rehab and I’ve cut out drinking altogether. It’s been a test of my friendships – the good ones have stuck by me – but best of all it’s saved my marriage.

Make us your first Port of Call. If you, or a loved one, are dealing with addiction we can help you to access the right addiction help at the right time. Take the first step today by speaking to one of our advisers for free on 08000029010.

Disclaimer: Names and certain details have been changed to protect the identity of case study participants.

About the author: Martin Preston

Martin is our Founder and Chief Executive. Martin is himself in long term recovery and started Port of Call to help families navigate treatment options. In 2020 Martin will open Delamere Health Ltd, the UK’s first purpose built addiction treatment clinic.

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