“I am a professional person with a high profile position. I have always enjoyed drinking after playing cricket, socially, wine with meals, and the odd whiskey after a long day. Shortly after I was promoted and took on more responsibility I was enjoying more than the odd whiskey after work; one turned into a full bottle within about nine months. I started to get the shakes on a morning and was able to stop them with a large shot. After a while the calming effect began to wear off by lunchtime and I needed another. I began going out for lunch so that I could drink. I had an accident on the way back from work one day and was breathalysed. I managed to keep this a secret from my wife and employer and even after going to court and getting a twelve months ban I carried on driving. The stress of this made me drink more and sometimes I would fall asleep at my desk in the afternoon. My secretary caught me one day and said “Mr XXXXXX, I don’t want to be rude or anything but people are talking about your drinking; I just thought you should know.” She told me that her father was an alcoholic and that she had seen things in me that matched his behavior.
“I was insulted, I thought; ‘how can I be and alcoholic’, I’m a successful business man, not a tramp”.
“Only a few weeks later I asked her why she thought I was an alcoholic, (at this time I was trying to control my drinking). We had a long conversation; she told me that her dad had stopped drinking by going to AA. I didn’t think that was for me and told her I couldn’t risk anyone recognising me. My controlled drinking didn’t last long and I became as bad as before, if not worse. A week later she gave me the number of Addiction Solutions. When I rang them I spoke to someone who seemed to know a lot about me after a brief conversation; most of what I had done, the secrets I was keeping, the fears I had, even a lot of what I was thinking. I knew I was understood and that everything I was saying was absolutely confidential.
“I still go for counselling because after I managed, with their help, to stop drinking I realised that I had a lot of insecurities and that my strict childhood had made me very independent and success orientated, fearing failure and a worrier. I’m not the man I was before my drink problem; I’m a better man, and I am happier too. Obviously my wife loves them too.
- A very grateful man