Alcohol misuse: David's story 

David talks about the effects that his former alcohol addiction had on his health and relationships.

Find out more about alcohol misuse

Transcript of Alcohol misuse: David's story

My name's David Wright.

I've been an alcoholic for the best part of 25 years.

I'm now a recovering alcoholic and I'm five years dry.

I began drinking at 14 in East London, round here,

which is where I come from.

My marriage broke up 15 years ago.

I became homeless because I walked away.

I walked away from my children, my family, everybody.

I almost went... I did go on the road

and I lived rough, hostels and everything else.

I suddenly decided I needed to do something about it,

but it took me 15 years of more or less killing myself,

to be honest.

The first time that I tried to recover, I did it alone.

I did it via benefits and other such means.

In that I failed, I relapsed.

The second time I went for it

I went to the care management team of the local council where I was living,

which was Croydon,

and with their help and funding

I was able to target a far more in-depth rehabilitation,

and that was with Turning Point.

Turning Point are an organisation

which has a tremendous reputation in the recovery field.

I'd heard about them when I was on the streets, in actual fact.

I was there for the first two weeks

and you get a relaxing time to settle you in.

With the people around you,

not just the staff, the other recoverees that are there and the staff,

you start easing back, you relax and start getting into the rehab

and how it works and what's going to happen,

what's expected of you,

and you build a thing of what you expect of yourself,

which is good.

So it starts with doing your chores in the morning.

Cleaning, you get an area to clean.

I found, when I was there,

quite a lot of us really stayed on the project and we talked.

We talked about our experiences on the road,

we talked about our experiences when we were drinking.

Some people think that that can be detrimental

because you're talking about drink,

but in actual fact I found it quite invigorating

because it gave me an outlet to talk about who I am and what I am

without any embarrassment.

It's not like talking to a doctor or a therapist

who's never been there or done that.

All these people, including the staff,

have seen it, done it, listened to it and wear the hat.

And it really is quite invigorating because you're talking to people

who actually understand what you're trying to get over

and you find yourself listening to them.

If you had seen me seven years ago, I was a human wreck.

The beard, the clothes. I was a tramp.

I would beg for drinks.

Now I wouldn't even think like that.

Now I am what you see.

I'm not like that any more.

The other thing about rehab is that you get the opportunity to key-work.

This is where the really important work's done.

All that is very important but this is really where you do the important work.

You've got to face yourself.

You've got to face your own inadequacies.

You've got to face your own shortcomings.

You've got to face your addiction.

You piece yourself together.

You go in and talk to your key worker

and say, "I want to do this, I want to do that."

And they guide you and help you think the thing right the way through

to ultimately making the right decision.

I found it an enormous step for me

to actually admit I needed help.

I suppose it was my background,

where you don't ask people for help.

I come from East London, big, tough old boys.

"We look after ourselves. I can take care of myself." The macho man bit.

But in actual fact I needed help

and it took a big chunk out of me to actually say, "Please help me."

And I just wish...

I wish so much now

that I could have swallowed my pride years ago

and asked for that help.

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