John’s Diary 22nd March 2012:
There’s no such thing as one drink you know… no... one drink is too many. I was thinking about this yesterday. I started seriously on all this gear when I was eighteen or nineteen. If I bumped into a young fella on it now I'd say: "Listen mate knock it in the head because in fifteen years time you’ll end up like me." He’d just tell me to fuck off, because I thought exactly the same when I was at that age. The thing with addiction is you’re the last one to know you’re an addict – or the last one to accept you are. Everyone around you knows, but me... I’m too arrogant, have too much of an ego… I knew best. It’s that attitude that made me relapse last year. When you get addicted to something you’re addicted to it all of your life – it’s how you deal with it that counts – how you deal with being sober - you’ve got to stay on top of it… gotta keep fighting it because it’ll never go away, I’ve just got to manage it.
Triggers are different things to different people. It’s not the pub, which is the trigger for me - it’s not the half-full can of lager I found when I was rooting in bins. It’s me… I’m the trigger.
So it’s me I have to keep in check. Maybe I needed that relapse last year, because I always had it in my mind that I could have the odd pint after work – but I now know that’s all bollicks because within weeks of doing that I’d lost my job again… lost my family.
From becoming that bloke who was sober and feeling on top of the world, I became someone who would rob you. So physically, I can’t personally ever drink again, because I’m not a person like that. I get those substances in me and I change totally. So maybe that relapse finally taught me and I’ve learned I can’t ever drink again. Because if I haven’t learned, I’ll be dead soon. I had a heart attack two years ago and I know that you shouldn’t be having a heart attack when you’re 36! I don’t want to die and I don’t want people to remember me that way.
You know my mum is sick with the cancer… last year she said: “John I’ve got to let you go son.” That really hit home, here I was putting my mum through all this and she’s dying of cancer.
Coming up here I was really drunk. I’d been drinking heavily and 'speeding' the night before. But the reduction here over the first five days has worked. When I got out of the Windsor clinic last year , I went straight over to the ‘offey’ and swigged four cans of strong lager before I got on the bus home. But here, after five days it was like taking medicine. You actually get sick of drinking the shit. Plus you’re in an environment where you have to contribute to the running of the house, instead of a hospital ward and that suits me to be busy. I was in the kitchen cooking and thats helped. In a nice place – a retreat instead of a hospital ward – where all you had to look forward to was more medicine and a view of a hospital corridor. So those hospital detox’s don’t work for me.
I had a discussion with my mother before I came here. And she doesn’t like me getting a job because when I have money – that’s when I tend to go off the rails. So the plan is to complete my rehab in the next six months at Park View and find a new life and job – possibly in volunteer work, where I won’t have the type of disposable income that got me into this lifestyle. At some point I will have to support my daughter, but I’d like to give something back and help others if I possibly can – like the staff here – Maybe that’s a short-term option. If I do it this way, it’ll be a big change from the last time. I will have to get a job at some point – like I said just to support my daughter. I could go back to my old job tomorrow, but how long would that last?
So I know I have to change my life completely – Change what I do with it. Which is why I need the guidance because I’m not quite sure how to go about all this – which is why the six months in Park View will give me time to plan a strategy for hopefully the rest of my life. Go there with an open mind, not be arrogant and say: "I know how to do this" – because I don’t know how to do it - if I did I wouldn’t be sitting here now would I? If I knew, I’d be sitting in my own big house here in Wales.
All’s I can say is there is help out there, you’ve just got to find it and want it and you’ve got to drop your ego, or in my case ‘smash my ego.’ Because it’s still there underneath, but up here it’s felt different this time. I’ve had my eyes opened. I’m going out there with no expectations, if it means I never get another paid job again and have to volunteer for the rest of my life – then so be it.
Life’s shit when your drinking, it can be shit when you’re not drinking, but it’s a hell of a lot worse when your not sober – I just have to remember that - John.