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  1. #1
    Registered User. mario's Avatar

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    24th February, 2009.
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    Joe's Story
    My name is Joe and I am an alcoholic, I am going to share some experiences in my life in which alcohol played a role.

    I was born in 1962 into a family of six in a typical working class area of the Dublin of the 60s, ie high unemployment, very few amenities and most things revolved around alcohol. Until the age of 12 I was quite a shy person. Over all my schooling was extremely negative, the only thing I learned from school was to stand my ground and fight. I left school aged 14with few qualifications, but was lucky enough to get a trade. I started to drink at the age of about 14 one of the reasons for this was the gang I hung around with were all doing it and also often drink was accessible at home. Even at that age I knew very little would stop me from getting what I wanted. This was my character if I wanted something I would go for it, consequences didn't stop me.

    Depending on money and accessibility I drank around every two weeks, always in the local fields or railway tracks, always with people my own age. Although it was a deprived area, getting money to buy alcohol was never a problem. If we had no money we would rob barrels of alcohol from trains, At this point robbing and not getting caught was a big buzz and thrill for me and was to play a huge part in my life. Drinking at this early age gave me a false sense of courage and bravado and masked my inadequacy and other emotions such as feelings of insecurity. I was also a very controlling person.

    By this stage I had two lives. By day I went to work at the apprenticeship, keeping the peace at home. By night I was running wild robbing cars, factories, getting into fights. Looking back now I always wanted loads of money I felt this would give me happiness, freedom to do what I wanted. I knew working 9-5 wasn't for me. I was drawn or chose the easy life of crime were you robbed, made money, met woman and of course drank. I never thought of any consequences. At this stage I was well known to the police.
    From the age of 16/17 we all used to drink on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, then I started to drink on a Monday which was very unusual even for us. I then started to drink every night of the week, and still working and robbing. I still got a good buzz from drinking hanging around in gangs and getting into trouble. All through my life I surrounded myself with people who drank and liked the life of crime that I did. Eventually around 17 I ended up in prison. When I was released from prison I picked up where I left off, drinking after work then crime in the evening then up early for work.

    In my early 20s I got married. I had set up my own business, my own home. Materialistically I wanted for nothing; my whole lifestyle was funded by criminality. With the sort of the life I led I needed something to relax at night. As I was never into drugs I used my old reliable friend alcohol. It worked very well apart from the times I suffered with massive hangovers which were frequent. At this stage I could binge drink for 2/3 days at a time. Apart from the hangovers, which were not a deterrent, life seemed wonderful. Financially I was secure, my relationship was good, I had three children, I still drank heavy every night just to relax and chill out.

    By the late 20s I broke up my marriage, eventually lost contact with my three children through my lifestyle. I saw myself as footloose and fancy free again. I was using alcohol to numb and escape from feelings of shame, guilt, stress, worries, fear and reality. Looking back, for me as a person I was still living a double life and alcohol was my tool which enabled me to do this. I was drinking every night of the week and all day Saturday and Sunday and sometimes Monday (the Monday club). Money was never a problem and I was never short of any people to drink with. I never saw myself as having a problem with drink even though quite a few of my old drinking buddies died from drink related diseases. I thought I was too clever for that to happen to me. I never saw the big part alcohol played in my life.

    In my early 30s I moved abroad to a sunnier climate and I was drinking morning, noon and night. It lasted for 3 years and passed in a blur. I was in a serious relationship with a local girl, well as serious a relationship you could have when substance abuse is involved. My relationship with alcohol always came first throughout my life. I could handle anything else life would throw at me once I was able to drink. We had a child but financially things were not going well due to my 24 hour drinking. we put our child up for adoption as we were incapable of providing anything for him. So my plan for living in the sun just turned into one big drinking binge.

    This is when alcohol really took hold of me. First thing when I woke up I had a drink, anything would do. If I had the money I went to the local bar and stayed till I was out of it. If not I would go through serious withdrawals some times which lasted a week. At this stage I started to get seizures and of course my relationship was breaking down big time. It was about at this stage that I realised I had a major drinking problem. So after 25 years of alcohol working for me I knew something wasn’t right. It wasn't doing what it used to do for me, no more buzz, no more thrills. I still wasn't going to stop I thought I could still control it, the big strong man that I thought I was.

    For the next 6 years living abroad I became a bad binge drinker. I got very drunk when I could and got very, very aggressive. Still none of that mattered as I still thought I could control my drinking. Through drink I ended up in prison again, this time in a foreign jail for 3 months. I remember thinking this will dry me out, it will be a help. The first thing I did when I got out at 7am was go straight to a bar and get legless. When I got back to the town where we lived, I found that we were homeless. This was the first time in my life that I had nothing, no money, no power, no home, nobody and no means of getting any of it back.

    Eventually I picked up some cash working in the markets for very little pay but a constant supply of alcohol. From there I built up my own stall in the market. I was then able to borrow money and bought a truck to live in. I was still a terrible binge drinker and always aggressive when I drank, although the length of time between binges was getting longer, maybe because I no longer had the money to fund it? I still felt I could control my drinking. My relationship ended and I lived on my own and was quite happy for the next 4 years, working in the summer months living from hand to mouth in the winter time.

    At this stage there was a death in my family and I returned home. While on the visit home I met my present partner, we hit it off instantly, but I was drinking to access as I did. As this was a very new relationship my partner had no idea of my drinking history and made allowances for it because of the circumstances, (drinking at Irish funerals is a big cultural thing). A few weeks later I returned to Portugal and continued my heavy drinking. We agreed to give a long distance relationship a go. However, my partner surprised me with a visit and asked me to return home to Ireland as she could see I was drinking myself into an early grave. So I packed up in Portugal and moved home.

    At first I seemed to get my head together and got a job driving lorries. At the weekends we would go out drinking and I always ended up very drunk. Sometimes I went from a very attentive person to become a very aggressive one and in the words of people around me a horrible person. When I went for a drink on Friday after work it would continue all day Saturday and all day Sunday. With the results I would be very hungover on Monday and in no fit state to drive, although I still did it. The continual drinking caused not only huge problems but financial ones as well, my partner did not want me in her life as she saw me as a huge danger to her and her family. As a last ditch attempt we went on holiday to Greece. It was a disaster from start to finish for her. My days were spent in bed violently hungover and in the evenings in the bar getting as much drink into me as possible to feel better. Things got even worse when we returned home and my partner ended up getting the police for me on numerous occasions, she was so petrified of me with drink.

    In January2009 after a lovely holiday with both our families (as my partner would not go away with me on my own) I went on a mad drinking binge and when I returned home from the pub that night I verbally and physically attacked people around me including my partner. The police were called once again and I was asked to leave the house and the relationship was over. The next day true to form I was back in the pub first thing in the morning as if nothing happened. It wasn't because I didn't remember the things that had happened, I did! This is what I always done when I had problems in my relationships. When I woke up in my sister’s house the following morning massively hungover as usual, something clicked in my head. It was, I can’t do this to myself anymore. Apart from any chance of saving my relationship which I knew was finished, I knew I had to try and save myself.

    Before alcohol had always met my needs, for fun, freedom, damping down big emotions such as stress, guilt unhappiness. After 33 years of drinking I finally realised that I had had enough. It’s still very hard to explain what exactly clicked with me, except the fact that alcohol wasn't working for me anymore and hadn’t being for a long time. Long gone were the days of me controlling the drinking. Alcohol was and had been controlling me for years. Many people around me had seen this for years and tried to help as best they could, but I never wanted to listen to them and never recognised it until that morning Tuesday 13th January 2009.

    After two weeks of being in a room with massive withdrawals I decided to look for support. AA was suggested to me but I didn't think then that I could face other people. So I surfed the net looking for support then I found by pure chance I clicked it and it suited my needs and me straight away (anonymity). It was two weeks before I had the courage to post on the forums. I also put in place a meeting with a addiction and anger councillor and from this joined a 3 month abstinent personal development course which I have successfully completed and have gone on to the aftercare program. I also joined another online support group and have applied to start addiction studies access course in September in college. My whole perspective and lifestyle has changed completely. I am back on talking terms and working on my relationship with my three children who are now 18, 20, 24. I am also on talking terms with their mother who has done a great job rearing 3 children on her own. I am also now back in a relationship with my former partner who has supported and helped me even after all I put her through. We are taking it slow as this is my first relationship in my life where I am not drinking.

    Through sheer grit and determination I now exercise on a daily basis. I eat healthily, and use my supports daily, my relationships without alcohol are fun, enjoyable and real and I have clear thinking and peace of mind, I now have friends who I have lots in common with apart from alcohol. Looking back, choosing alcohol caused me and others a lot of pain in my life. I put it before all my relationships and it brought me to places and to do things I would never have dreamt of doing ever. I hurt a lot of people who cared and loved me throughout my life. Most of all I hurt me, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Now I am living each day in the day and I am looking forward to meeting my goals and ambitions as well as supporting others. I know I still have a long way to go and will be fighting this addiction for the rest of my life, as well as other issues which I know I can do alcohol free. But I am reasonably happy and contented for the first time in my 47 years

    New Service

  2. Thanks Marylou123, starty, madonmehndi, Wine-no! thanked for this post
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  3. #2
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    27th February, 2008.
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    Hello Mario and thank you for such an exraordinary post. Wow. Sad, but yet very inspiring and written with such honesty and humility.
    I truly admire your determination in getting a grip on this awful beast and turning your life around.
    Again, thank you for sharing and I wish you all the best.


  4. #3
    Registered User. hippie37's Avatar

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    8th October, 2007.
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    I got the impression from your previous posts Mario that you'd done some type or treatment around addiction and your behaviours. It's always good to read your posts and this was no exception. Thanks for taking the time to share your life story and good look with the aftercare and your future plans. I'm 5 weeks into mine and it's going great!! only another 47 weeks to go!

    Peace and Love

  5. #4
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    17th January, 2008.
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    Mario, that is truly inspiring. What challenges you met with and look where you are now! Best to you in your journey!

  6. #5
    Registered User. startingover's Avatar

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    16th July, 2008.
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    Wow Mario! I had a feeling you had a story to tell and I wasnt wrong!
    Thank you so much for sharing it, it cant have been easy. But it must be good to see where you were and where you are now...
    Well done Mario, you really are a star x

  7. #6
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    3rd April, 2008.
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    Hey Joe
    Thanks for sharing your story. You really have done a 360 on your life that is for sure. When you do it you really go for it dont ya! Good for you. I have seen you on your bike with your earring and your new found self and I think there is a guy who has finally sussed it all out! Its amazing how resilient our minds and our bodies, our kids and our families are when we finally find our way out of the fog. You are a total inspiration.

  8. #7
    Registered User. byebyebridgetjones's Avatar

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    13th May, 2009.
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    Jesus Joe . What an amazing story. I'm twice as proud of you because of how FAR you've come. You are a completely different person now eh ?
    You deaerve all the happiness that's coming.

  9. #8
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    20th November, 2006.
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    Thank you Mario.
    You've learned the hard way, like a lot of us here and you're turning it round.
    Well done.

  10. #9
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    14th December, 2008.
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    Mario, thank you for sharing your story, what a wonderful story of pain and healing. Good Luck on your future journey.

  11. #10
    Forum Subscriber. Guitarista's Avatar

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    12th October, 2008.
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    Thanks for sharing your story Mario. I wish you and your family all the very best.
    Greg...... Bravo!

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