The Gardener

I am a forty year old man who has just experienced my first year with some form of recovery from addiction, suicide and depression. In the past year I have relapsed only on two occasions and for very brief moments lasting only a few hours at a time.

I picked up the phone and used what was taught to me by others in recovery. They call it Dime therapy.  I talk it out rather than drink or drug it out and I am amazed how this works; and take it from me  it does work.

At the age of fourteen I had been smoking dope with the lads and we all thought this was great fun. What I did not know was that this was the beginning of my whole world collapsing around me.

At fifteen years of age one of the lads stole a bottle of rum from his father’s room and we all went to the park to have a drink. They were sipping and I, looking back on it, was swallowing. When the bottle was finished, I had drank half the bottle.

On the way home the other lads were laughing and I was kicking wing mirrors off of parked cars. I was arrested and cautioned by the police with me having to pay for the damage to the cars.

So with my first experience with alcohol I had the high, the sickness, and the arrest all in the space of two hours and to this day I can’t stand the smell of rum. I continued drinking at that early age and I never blamed drink for my troubles. It was part of growing up.

It was noted that on the four nights that our youth club was NOT on, I was in some sort of trouble. They suggested that my mind was distracted in a positive way when I was enjoying company in the club. You will see later on in this story how a club was to play a major part in my recovery.

I met my future wife at the age of eighteen and she brought some form of control to my life and this lasted for about five years. I managed to succeed in developing a very keen interest in green keeping, which I qualified in, and I was good at this and it was a kind of therapy for me but I know now that it was not enough.

I had started the secret drinking, hiding drink, taking the dog out for a walk, even when the dog did not want to go out it was dragged out. Going into work with drink or half drunk, drink driving; all of this unacceptable  behaviour was in my life but to me it was acceptable.

One of the saddest parts of my addictive life was when my wife lost our first child after four months of pregnancy. I took her home and instead of being there and comforting her I took off for three days on a bender.

I had a meltdown and spent around £500.00 of our savings. This was money we had saved up for the child and our future and I ended up drinking in a squat with around ten other drunks. At the time I felt no emotions for any one accept myself and I was selfish to the core and did not know it or care.

A year later our daughter was born, I felt great and I loved them both dearly but my secret drinking was still going on. I was being corroded from the inside out and all my thinking was directed by booze. Going home drunk caused problems in our relationship.

I neglected my family and myself and I would get abusive when I was drunk. I was not the nice guy as I thought. Alcohol had taken over and I can safely say now, knowing what I know now, that alcohol had done my thinking for me. It was dictating my whole life.

The police were called on a regular basis to our house when I was abusive and this lead to her getting me removed from our house by the order of the courts. I can’t blame her because I was a nightmare and I can only say this now and accept it.

Three weeks after being ejected from the house, I crashed the car worth £15,000 which was my only asset. I was arrested again and lost my driving licence, and in turn lost my job because I required a licence to drive the machinery involved.

I can only imagine what was going through my wife’s mind and she must have been going through torture. My selfishness was mind blowing yet I still never blamed Booze, needless to say my marriage ended. I tormented her with abusive calls and unexpected visits and the police where always involved.

At this point I had to move and a geographical lifestyle had arrived where I was moving from town to town. I eventually moved to Ireland, the birth place of my Mother and Father, but all I had done was bring my problems here.

Ten years of reclusive isolation and insanity, swallowing anything I could get my hands on, I was dabbling with drugs as well but it was the vodka that had me and was controlling me, I ended up suicidal being cut down unconscious from ropes, hanging from the rafters of a ceiling by Garda.

Fished out the river face down, four or five serious attempts on my life, it was after the last one of these suicide attempts that a Garda gave me a contact number of a club in our town which deals with recovery from addiction, depression and suicide.

I gathered the courage to go down to the club called Social Ground Force where I met with the staff and started on a road that was not easy. I never got recovery at the first attempt and it has taken many attempts over the last four years but the club has always been there for me when I needed their help to get me out of other situations.

They eventually encouraged me to go into a rehabilitation centre which would give me time and space to gather my thoughts. I was taken to AA meetings with club members from the beginning but it was suggested I was badly damaged by the booze and would need that bit extra help.

I am glad I took their advice and I am coming up to the first year in my adult life in which I am not controlled by addiction. I moved into my own one bedroom bungalow from the council and I am no longer don’t a prisoner of the landlord system. Now all I have to do is behave like a normal human being.

For the first time in thirteen years I have contact with my daughter and I love her dearly and always have done. Addiction stole my mind and family but even my ex-wife is now talking with me again now on Facebook.

I don’t look for much now and hope and pray that I can keep up with my program of recovery. I know the Social Ground Force club is there and there have been many great people out there that have helped me. Now my hand is out and I am hanging on to all these new friends.

I know now that this is a Mental Health issue and a disease of the mind and body; a disease I could not control alone. I needed people that could understand my type of thinking and now I can clearly see why my life descended into the abyss. God willing no more will I stray from this new way of life and I will progress to help others if I can.

Update December 2015. One Year Later

It was explained to me at the beginning that my life would change if I really wanted it to and to tell you the truth I could not see this, but I can safely say they were right. I relapsed a couple of days during the year but they reassured me I would be alright. I now have my own council house, am back in contact with my child and trying to support her the way I should have been from her birth. I have never found it easy but I can tell you, it’s worth it.

Many Thanks

Up-Date July 2016

Life is so very different now, my mind is only coming around to living in recovery, I have to be honest I relapsed for one and a half days because I stopped going to meetings, I got complacent and ended up in that dark old place again. It happened so quick and i really don’t have an excuse, fact is I should never have let myself get that far; I know this disease will kill me if I don’t keep up with my program. On the bright side of life I am pleased to say I am able to visit my Mum in hospital on a very regular basis and my Dad, if I did not have recovery i know i would not be any where near them or the hospital. The club has confirmed what I believe which is I should not beat myself up, I have came a long way and I will overcome the Mental Obsession of the Mind if I continually do what is right. Time is fling by and it’s great to be sober, Thank you all if I can do it, anyone can