This June we were lucky enough to get an open and candid interview with The Recovery Lodge patient Andy Bolt. Andy, 55 from Sittingbourne, Kent, took us through his addiction journey. From the very lowest points to the place he is in today, and we’d like to share it with you.
From the beginning with an after-work drinking culture to domestic violence and drinking more vodka than seems humanly capable, everything spiralled out of control so very easily.
Joining in with a Drinking Culture
Andy left education and went straight into his career in financial services. He didn’t think anything of the boozy lunches and after work drinks which came along with the job. Friday and Saturday nights Andy joined in with the social side of drinking and as a talented guitarist, he joined the music scene with drinking more than part of his leisure time.
Saying No to Drink But Yes to Drugs
Further down the line, Andy become a motorbike enthusiast, as you cannot drink and drive he switched from alcohol to using cannabis resin. He admits that this is not the ideal way to go sober but it did mean that he took a break from drinking. He met his wife and after five years of sobriety, he could pursue a new career as a driving instructor.
Pressures of Work Leading To Drink
Working 60 hours a week led Andy to look for a quick release in the evenings, picking up the bottle is something most of us can admit to after a hard day at work.
“I thought I was still coping,” Andy says, now aged 55
He soon quickly took to drinking socially, a bottle of wine at home with his didn’t seem so out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, Andy’s wife started drinking during the day with Andy “working ridiculous hours” he didn’t really become aware of this until it was too late.
As Mrs Bolt continued to drink she became quite aggressive and argumentative. Andy recalls times when she lashed out and caused injuries. The couple were not both in a place where they were suffering from alcohol addiction alongside other mental health issues.
After being admitted to the hospital Mrs Bolt was advised by NHS professionals to seriously cut down the drinking. Andy was shocked and feels this led him to take to the drink once again, he soon spiralled out of control, often drinking litres of vodka in a day. One thing led to another and the couple found themselves in a place where bruises and cuts were on both of them. After a particularly violent argument the police were called and soon Court Proceedings against Andy for domestic abuse had begun.
Getting The Right Help
Andy was advised by professionals to seek help from a clinical rehabilitation centre. Unfortunately, this did not go well “it felt like a prison” Andy explains. After his time at the clinic had finished he was soon drinking once again, this time with the amount of alcohol he was consuming getting larger and larger. He explains how he would fall into the pattern of drinking, blacking out, drinking and blacking out again.
His family decided to take charge and sought help from The Recovery Lodge team in Sittingbourne, Kent. Andy explains how they literally bundled him into their car, with him trying to physically resist them, when he arrived at the home from home family setting lodge he was greeted by a nurse and immediately collapsed with emergency first aid being performed Andy came to not realising the danger he had been in.
“I fought against them. I fought the 12 steps. Typical addict! Everyone else’s fault. I can do it on my own. You can’t.” Andy confesses.
Addiction Recovery Never Ends
“I found the help that I needed after so many years at The Recovery Lodge” Andy says. The team became friends, the therapy much needed and he found faith which helped him finally quit alcohol. Andy speaks fondly of all of the team members and appreciated that the small size of the rehab meant it felt like home. Andy also took on The 12 Steps to recovery, he explains “I found Christian faith, but any faith helps, it can be faith in the Cosmos if you like, just something to believe in”.
“You have two choices. Do you want to live, be in recovery? Or do you wish to do it “your way” and fail? Seek help!” says Andy
Andy is now retired but spends his time volunteering, helping with charities and dedicating himself to supporting others with mental health and addiction issues. He has hope for a fantastic future, enjoying his time spent with his wife and loving his music. He has a passion and zest for life once again.
As he looks back he wouldn’t change his experience, “it’s meant I am in a place where I can help others” Andy explains. “I would encourage anybody that is in a place where they need help for themselves or a loved one to reach out now, before it’s too late”.