I progressed from being a heavy social drinker in my teens and student days to around-the-clock 24/7 alcoholic in my twenties. I have had several hospital admissions, serious mental health problems and lost relationships, homes, jobs and money. My most serious and life-threatening addiction still causes me some physical problems to this day, but my mental and emotional health are immeasurably better. I go into my alcoholism experience more here.
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I became dependent on benzodiazepines (Valium, Diazepam, Librium) and opiate painkillers (Codeine, Co-codamol) shortly after I first quit drinking. Within a short space of time, I was “pharmacy hopping” to buy codeine products and purchasing benzodiazepine tablets over the internet. This drove me into a miserable state, both mentally and physically, that eventually led me back to alcohol. Read more about my prescription drug addiction here.
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Gambling became a serious problem for me around the same time I started using benzodiazepines and opiate painkillers. The low of the drugs was counteracted by the highs and the risks of gambling. Online casinos, predominantly playing Blackjack, was my most destructive and obsessive game. I won thousands of pounds but lost just as much and I was always chasing my losses and taking bigger and bigger risks just to break even. You can read more about my experiences with gambling addiction here.
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While a bit of retail therapy from time to time is fine, you realise it’s becoming a problem when dozens of parcels turn up at your door each week. I was addicted to buying clothes and trainers to try and make me feel better about myself and more confident when seeing people, but the buzz of these purchases was short-lived. It soon spiralled into uncontrollable spending, racking up credit card debts and I knew I had to get help. I explain my experience with shopping addiction here.
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