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KentVillan

Addiction

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47 minutes ago, AVFCDAN said:

There is some momentary enjoyment but its not really about the financial gain because I'm well aware I'm losing short and long term. However I'm still doing it for some reason, but that's addiction I guess.

Unfortunately there are hundreds of online casinos so although I am self excluded from a lot of them I can just find a new one to sign up to once the pain of losing money has gone again.

I feel like I've hit rock bottom with it again and don't have any immediate plans to do it again especially before Christmas, i'll check in again in a month or so and hopefully say I'm 5 weeks cleans. I have to stress that I haven't lost any money I couldn't afford to lose but why piss away hundreds of pounds on nothing, it just doesn't make sense to do it.

Why only 5 weeks? Seems like a temporary solution to a long term problem. 

I know it's an addiction, but as you say, you need to rationalise it. 

What would you do with the money anyway?  

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It's a vicious cycle. I went a good couple of months free, then a very quiet day at work the other day, i opened a new account, stuck a tenner in and placed a couple of accies. I won 60 quid and 20 quid from the initial stake. By the time I'd shut down the account my net gain was back down to a tenner. It's just SO easy to rationalise another fiver or a tenner here. 

Self exclusions, are a must, as are daily limits when you sign up to a new account, if you can't stop yourself opening it up, sticking that 10, 20 quid daily limit in, forces you into that 24 hour period to allow the compulsion to win the loss back to subside. 

Getting a filter on the gambling websites can work, but it also then needs you to set up a password, tell someone else about your issues, and ask them to throw away the password that unlocks the filter. A sound theory except for the whole telling someone else about it element

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16 minutes ago, lapal_fan said:

Why only 5 weeks? Seems like a temporary solution to a long term problem. 

I know it's an addiction, but as you say, you need to rationalise it. 

What would you do with the money anyway?  

Its an arbitrary date but I haven't gambled for a week and as I said if I do this again in the next month before Christmas I'll know for sure its a bigger problem than I want it to be and I'll have to think about telling family to really kick myself up the arse.

I've only been losing money I can afford to lose but if I do it again before Christmas it will be money I can't afford to lose to be frank.

Its not going anywhere and I'm always going to be a compulsive gambler, I'm not quite at the level of going to meetings or anything because I really don't think I would gain anything from going, its an issue that I'm going to have to manage for my entire life.

 

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9 hours ago, KentVillan said:

Struggling badly at the moment. Does anyone have any tips or personal experiences of how to snap out of a bad run (feel free to DM if don't want to share publicly)? I feel like I'm deep in the cycle at the moment, like an abusive relationship or something. It's so **** irrational.

Have people tried antidepressants as a way of easing your way into sobriety? Is rehab worth the money?

I would say, yes, rehab is worth the money if it gives you a chance for a better future. Talking through problems and potential solutions with people who want to help you can be a good thing IMO.

Importantly you seem to recognise when you're not in a good place rather than brushing problems under the carpet.

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Reading this I'm glad I'm such a bad, bad loser that I've never gambled much in my entire life.

I mean I want to punch my sister in the throat if she beats me at scrabble online. No joke.

When I used to work in factories we'd always play cards at lunch, no money involved. The amount of chairs I threw around and threats hounded out really entertained the rest of the guys.

I know none of that helps, sorry :(

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16 hours ago, KentVillan said:

Struggling badly at the moment. Does anyone have any tips or personal experiences of how to snap out of a bad run (feel free to DM if don't want to share publicly)? I feel like I'm deep in the cycle at the moment, like an abusive relationship or something. It's so **** irrational.

Have people tried antidepressants as a way of easing your way into sobriety? Is rehab worth the money?

What a brave **** post man. This deserves a like from everyone at VT, if a like were to represent a big hug.

I've got some insight which I hope is useful.

I've got some good news.

And I've got some pretty bad news (don't you dare think for a minute this has anything to do with you, because it's actually the system that's bad news).

Please read the whole post before you come to any conclusions, because conclusions are often based on what we're feeling, when we lack evidence or proof.

Read the good, read the bad, have some balance by weighing up the pros and cons of any course of action and decision you go with, you'll thank yourself for that later.

We'll start with the bad.

Through my work at the clinic, I know that in Australia over 80% of people relapse within (from memory) 3 months of getting out of rehab.

That's not to say it isn't working. It's only an indicator that highlights addiction's power and grip. When you think of how rife drug abuse is, 20% clean for over that period is great.

My advice, research what the rehab offers while you're there, what plans they have for you once you're back on the street, it's all good to be somewhere you can't score.

What happens when you return home to your family, who have been dealing drugs and using them for generations? From my understanding rehab won't prepare you for that.

Question, is there not free rehabs in your location? We have them here, just the wait time is between three months to a year. Often those on the list don't go, shortening the wait.

Now we'll get to the good, goddamn I love the good news.

Through my work at the clinic and with addiction medicine department at one of the biggest and best hospitals down under, I know that 14 months clean and your brain recovers.

To be a bit more specific, we know now, from research (no sh*t sherlock!) that cocaine and meth users dopamine levels will return to what they were before using drugs.

One year baby (or thereabouts)!! And they told you there will be a point of no return. You'll f*ck up your life for good. Only shows where negativity and prejudice leads. Nowhere.

You've got this man, you really do. I don't really want to admit how much of my life I was a daily user for, but I will, on account of your brave honesty. Just under a decade, I'm 29.

Start with the four L's. Legal, Lover, Liver, Livelihood/Lifestyle. A very basic template, I know. But just write down a few notes on each. Where you're at, where you want to be.

You're meant to write the problems associated with each of the four, but I'm all about the strength based approach, so acknowledge where you're at and where you want to be.

Lover - Relationships bro, that's what life is all about, whether it's how you move against your opponent in martial arts to how you treat your mother.

Liver - This is your health, by all means. Psychological, spiritual, physical or emotional. Don't underestimate the spiritual and emotional is my advice.

Legal - What have you done now? The actual consequences of your actions to date from a legal perspective, and the potential consequences should you get caught.

Livelihood -Accommodation, finance, work, education, recreation and leisure. How's it all going, could it be better?

My advice is to join NA. Read the steps. Suck it up and go to a few meetings. Don't go to meetings in your neighbourhood unless comfortable with people you know, knowing.

You will meet some dickheads, but I'll tell you this, there's not only a meeting in every major city, but one in every suburb, that attracts 10-100 people at each, every day.

That's a lot of people working together, that's a lot of support, that's a lot of ideas, some might resonate and work for you. That's a lot of people getting clean.

Chin up.

Hit me up if ever you need anything.

 

 

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On 12/11/2019 at 21:23, A'Villan said:

What a brave **** post man. This deserves a like from everyone at VT, if a like were to represent a big hug.

I've got some insight which I hope is useful.

I've got some good news.

And I've got some pretty bad news (don't you dare think for a minute this has anything to do with you, because it's actually the system that's bad news).

Please read the whole post before you come to any conclusions, because conclusions are often based on what we're feeling, when we lack evidence or proof.

Read the good, read the bad, have some balance by weighing up the pros and cons of any course of action and decision you go with, you'll thank yourself for that later.

We'll start with the bad.

Through my work at the clinic, I know that in Australia over 80% of people relapse within (from memory) 3 months of getting out of rehab.

That's not to say it isn't working. It's only an indicator that highlights addiction's power and grip. When you think of how rife drug abuse is, 20% clean for over that period is great.

My advice, research what the rehab offers while you're there, what plans they have for you once you're back on the street, it's all good to be somewhere you can't score.

What happens when you return home to your family, who have been dealing drugs and using them for generations? From my understanding rehab won't prepare you for that.

Question, is there not free rehabs in your location? We have them here, just the wait time is between three months to a year. Often those on the list don't go, shortening the wait.

Now we'll get to the good, goddamn I love the good news.

Through my work at the clinic and with addiction medicine department at one of the biggest and best hospitals down under, I know that 14 months clean and your brain recovers.

To be a bit more specific, we know now, from research (no sh*t sherlock!) that cocaine and meth users dopamine levels will return to what they were before using drugs.

One year baby (or thereabouts)!! And they told you there will be a point of no return. You'll f*ck up your life for good. Only shows where negativity and prejudice leads. Nowhere.

You've got this man, you really do. I don't really want to admit how much of my life I was a daily user for, but I will, on account of your brave honesty. Just under a decade, I'm 29.

Start with the four L's. Legal, Lover, Liver, Livelihood/Lifestyle. A very basic template, I know. But just write down a few notes on each. Where you're at, where you want to be.

You're meant to write the problems associated with each of the four, but I'm all about the strength based approach, so acknowledge where you're at and where you want to be.

Lover - Relationships bro, that's what life is all about, whether it's how you move against your opponent in martial arts to how you treat your mother.

Liver - This is your health, by all means. Psychological, spiritual, physical or emotional. Don't underestimate the spiritual and emotional is my advice.

Legal - What have you done now? The actual consequences of your actions to date from a legal perspective, and the potential consequences should you get caught.

Livelihood -Accommodation, finance, work, education, recreation and leisure. How's it all going, could it be better?

My advice is to join NA. Read the steps. Suck it up and go to a few meetings. Don't go to meetings in your neighbourhood unless comfortable with people you know, knowing.

You will meet some dickheads, but I'll tell you this, there's not only a meeting in every major city, but one in every suburb, that attracts 10-100 people at each, every day.

That's a lot of people working together, that's a lot of support, that's a lot of ideas, some might resonate and work for you. That's a lot of people getting clean.

Chin up.

Hit me up if ever you need anything.

 

 

Thanks. Knowing there is a possibility of a brain chemical "return to normal" is reassuring. One of the toughest things I've been wrestling with is the possibility that I have crossed some point of no return, but I guess from the stories I've read (especially Rugeley's) I do see a way out of it.

Not being someone prone to suicidal thoughts, these darker moments lead me in a different direction, towards mad compulsive adventures and bridge burning, which I guess are my own form of slow suicide. I'm probably manic depressive, but my mania is more dangerously unhinged than my depression, which largely consists of lying in bed.

Appreciate the other other advice as well. Sadly on the "Lovers" front, I really have made a mess of so many situations that I have lost interest in pursuing dates. I don't want to inflict my lunacy on the nice women who take a shine to me. I was one of those guys who didn't really have much problem meeting girls in my 20s and early 30s, but I guess the charm has faded a bit as women reach that mature stage when the romance of a live-fast-die-young loose cannon loses some of its appeal. Plus my self-inflicted financial situation (don't own a house / car / etc) is a bit more of a red flag now. I also just have a bit of a sixth sense for mad women who enable my worst tendencies. I feel like I need to sort out all my other shit first before I can get into a relationship in good faith.

On the broader relationships front, I have been trying to spend more time with my family recently, and that's certainly helped in the sense of giving me a clearer set of responsibilities and things to live for and look forward to. But I am probably lacking an individual in my life who really understands what I'm going through. I know that sounds like what an angsty teenager would say, but it's genuinely how I feel. I just crave someone who can relate to it, but who isn't mired in it at the moment. I'm sure you're right that a support group would help.

Liver - actually got this tested recently, and incredibly my liver is undamaged, despite a good 2 decades of abuse. However, other aspects of my health are starting to deteriorate. My nose and sinuses are in a right state. My cardio fitness, which used to be excellent, is now mediocre. I've put on weight and lost muscle because my nutrition is a cycle of cocaine fasts and beer / takeaway recovery days.

Legal - I don't think this is a problem. I've never robbed, conned or misled anyone to support my habit. I haven't driven under the influence. I pay my taxes. I'm generally law abiding, besides the obvious issue of buying and consuming illegal substances. I have borrowed more money than I should have, but I'm just about managing that, and wouldn't allow it to become a legal issue anyway.

Livelihood - without going into too much detail, this isn't in perfect shape at the moment (I had to walk out on my last job because I was taking so much sick leave) but I do work in an in-demand profession so even working self-employed at half pace I can stay afloat. I don't have kids, mortgage, etc. to worry about. I'm very lucky (although this financial safety net has also contributed to the addiction in many ways).

One tip someone gave me was to actually just go to AA meetings, since the people there are generally a bit more "socialised" than recovering smack / meth addicts, and the recovery process is essentially the same. Plus a lot of them will have had coke problems anyway. Does that sound right to you?

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On 14/11/2019 at 11:07, KentVillan said:

Thanks. Knowing there is a possibility of a brain chemical "return to normal" is reassuring. One of the toughest things I've been wrestling with is the possibility that I have crossed some point of no return, but I guess from the stories I've read (especially Rugeley's) I do see a way out of it.

Not being someone prone to suicidal thoughts, these darker moments lead me in a different direction, towards mad compulsive adventures and bridge burning, which I guess are my own form of slow suicide. I'm probably manic depressive, but my mania is more dangerously unhinged than my depression, which largely consists of lying in bed.

Appreciate the other other advice as well. Sadly on the "Lovers" front, I really have made a mess of so many situations that I have lost interest in pursuing dates. I don't want to inflict my lunacy on the nice women who take a shine to me. I was one of those guys who didn't really have much problem meeting girls in my 20s and early 30s, but I guess the charm has faded a bit as women reach that mature stage when the romance of a live-fast-die-young loose cannon loses some of its appeal. Plus my self-inflicted financial situation (don't own a house / car / etc) is a bit more of a red flag now. I also just have a bit of a sixth sense for mad women who enable my worst tendencies. I feel like I need to sort out all my other shit first before I can get into a relationship in good faith.

On the broader relationships front, I have been trying to spend more time with my family recently, and that's certainly helped in the sense of giving me a clearer set of responsibilities and things to live for and look forward to. But I am probably lacking an individual in my life who really understands what I'm going through. I know that sounds like what an angsty teenager would say, but it's genuinely how I feel. I just crave someone who can relate to it, but who isn't mired in it at the moment. I'm sure you're right that a support group would help.

Liver - actually got this tested recently, and incredibly my liver is undamaged, despite a good 2 decades of abuse. However, other aspects of my health are starting to deteriorate. My nose and sinuses are in a right state. My cardio fitness, which used to be excellent, is now mediocre. I've put on weight and lost muscle because my nutrition is a cycle of cocaine fasts and beer / takeaway recovery days.

Legal - I don't think this is a problem. I've never robbed, conned or misled anyone to support my habit. I haven't driven under the influence. I pay my taxes. I'm generally law abiding, besides the obvious issue of buying and consuming illegal substances. I have borrowed more money than I should have, but I'm just about managing that, and wouldn't allow it to become a legal issue anyway.

Livelihood - without going into too much detail, this isn't in perfect shape at the moment (I had to walk out on my last job because I was taking so much sick leave) but I do work in an in-demand profession so even working self-employed at half pace I can stay afloat. I don't have kids, mortgage, etc. to worry about. I'm very lucky (although this financial safety net has also contributed to the addiction in many ways).

One tip someone gave me was to actually just go to AA meetings, since the people there are generally a bit more "socialised" than recovering smack / meth addicts, and the recovery process is essentially the same. Plus a lot of them will have had coke problems anyway. Does that sound right to you?

I think you might enjoy some of the lunacy and anti-social takes on life that you encounter at NA meetings. I certainly have.

I don't know you, can't speak for your taste or what will resonate with you. But to answer your question, it does sound about right to me.

My first sponsor at NA told me to read the 'Big Book' which is the original AA version.

One of my first encounters at NA was in The Pines in Frankston, where I lived for some years, as notorious as any ghetto here. Only no jazz culture like there is in Harlem, NY.

One of the speakers asked to share his story took about 2-3 minutes to say more than 5 words which were coherent.

Upon opening up he divulged (smacked off his face) that he had just taken a party holiday to Bali with a friend.

I'll cut to the chase, long share short, that friend committed suicide in the hotel room, he was first to the scene and found his friend's hotel room covered in blood.

Distraught, he informed the hotel, who informed the police, who decided they were going to ping this innocent man for murder.

I forget the ins and outs but basically, he got talking to someone who he was very, very fortunate to meet, who informed him how to pay his way out of the country before his conviction.

Sorry if you feel that an unnecessary story for me to pass on, but I just wanted to give you one of the stories that I don't think you'd get at AA meets, but obviously might at NA.

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@KentVillan

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One of the toughest things I've been wrestling with is the possibility that I have crossed some point of no return, but I guess from the stories I've read (especially Rugeley's) I do see a way out of it.

He who answers a matter before he hears it?

An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.

Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Also, I get the impression that your dating life holds some potential. So you had some talent in you earlier years?

Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard. Put in some work. You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.

Ultimately, what do you want for yourself? Okay, going after it can be scary. "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate" (Coach Carter quote) sort of thing.

'Framing' is very important. Consider this deeply. How you see and hold yourself, before worrying about others. I think women like a man who can own his past.

But I understand you perhaps wanting to focus on your own affairs before exploring the next chapter. That may be wise. I'll leave that to the man who knows best.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have adopted a phrase I often heard and adapted it to my liking, I hope life is treating you well, and you are treating life the same.

I mention this because you are life and so it applies to you too. Lying in bed, from the little I have to interpret, for you, is probably healthy, the body needs to recover.

Sure, you may have exhausted your feel good levels on a binge, I hear cocaine come-downs can be quite intolerable, but don't get down on yourself because you lie in bed.

As for you mania, I can't and won't offer anything other than this. I hear cocaine can make you charged up and even erratic, I'm assuming it's also quite pleasant in some form.

That's a recipe for manic behaviour. It's not necessarily a bad thing or you per se. What I consider to be a bad thing is if you were to feel shame as a consequence.

Shame goes further than guilt.

Guilt acknowledges that there is something undesirable about behaviour and can be healthy and positive. A catalyst for change.

Shame will eat at the very core and essence of who you identify as, and what you're capable of.

 

 

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Nice piece on the Kenyan runner Wilfred Bungei

Quote

Alcohol had been affecting Bungei physically as well as psychologically.

"There comes a time that drinking is giving you more pain, physically [so]," he said.

"I can remember there was a time when my body was feeling itchy, I was sweating all over and what was so scary was the hallucinations and the darkness coming.

"I was scared literally and had to be held to sleep - those were the moments that made me say it is enough."

In September 2012, a month after his reign as Olympic champion was ended at the London Games, Bungei called a number he had been given earlier that year.

Soon after, he was checked into a rehabilitation centre in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

He left the centre six weeks later. He has not had a drink since.

Alcohol is central to so many addictions - I am currently trying to live without it, and it has helped a lot with every aspect of my life. More productive, fitter, happier, less impulsive.

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Usually hate TED Talks, but this one struck a chord.

I think his talk is slightly mistitled - he means "great leaders should do what recovering addicts do" - many addicts don't recover and are bad role models for just about anything, besides tips on how to kill yourself as quickly as possible.

But he's right that recovering addicts are forced to abide by principles that non-addicts can ignore on a day-to-day basis. Recovering from addiction teaches you the value of discipline, resilience, and integrity. (Of course the ideal is that you learn these qualities without ever going through the experience of addiction... there really is nothing good about being an addict.)

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 Both myself and my wife have always said its only massive restraint that has stopped us being alcoholics. We are both kids of alcoholics, and certainly in my case, it was and is, actively encouraged to drink. I have been drinking consistently and regularly since I was 14. I am currently limiting it to weekends due mainly to lockdown and weight gain and not through my perceived lack of a problem. 
What was interesting as a kid, I couldn’t drink too much beer as I didn’t like extended sessions on it and issues with my stomach, it caused problems. I therefore drank what my parents drank, vodka. Then I developed a taste for mild before training myself to like wine. My reasoning in my early 20s was I could get fairly drunk on way less than a tenner. Now there is nothing I won’t and don’t drink, all varients of beer (apart from that fruity flavoured shit that the tipple people drink) any spirit and all wines.
I remember working in my 20s and I stopped lying to my employer about post drinking hangovers, “being ill” and just saying I am hungover. I won’t be in. They were pretty tolerant for some time but rightly fired me. 
The difference between me and my parents is I have periods of not drinking and I don’t miss or think about it, my parents have never had a dry day in my entire life. They spent all day in pubs during my childhood and sadly there are some pretty grim tales amongst the kids due to neglect or having the wrong type of person look after my brother and sister. 
I left home at 14 due to my parents being absent but as I was drinking myself most nights at that point, perhaps the damage was done. At the time I thought it was hilarious that we (my friends and I ) were sharing a bottle of whiskey at lunchtime at school but now its horrifying. 

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11 hours ago, Seat68 said:


I left home at 14 due to my parents being absent but as I was drinking myself most nights at that point, perhaps the damage was done. At the time I thought it was hilarious that we (my friends and I ) were sharing a bottle of whiskey at lunchtime at school but now its horrifying. 

While alcohol was never my thing, every kind of drug except for the prescription kind was on the cards for me from the age of 14. I'm too embarrassed to divulge the finer details, but I moved into a drug den aged 16, and I know exactly how you feel when you say it's horrifying. I remember in my mid-teens me and another  two lads were moving some guns for a dealer of ours.

One of the three idiots picks up the gun from the seller's table, points it right in the face of the other lad, point blank, pulls the trigger. Has no idea whether the gun was loaded or not.

He laughed, thought it was hilarious. Tragic.

 

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21 hours ago, KentVillan said:

Usually hate TED Talks, but this one struck a chord.

I think his talk is slightly mistitled - he means "great leaders should do what recovering addicts do" - many addicts don't recover and are bad role models for just about anything, besides tips on how to kill yourself as quickly as possible.

But he's right that recovering addicts are forced to abide by principles that non-addicts can ignore on a day-to-day basis. Recovering from addiction teaches you the value of discipline, resilience, and integrity. (Of course the ideal is that you learn these qualities without ever going through the experience of addiction... there really is nothing good about being an addict.)

I play for the same team, bruv. I've made more appearances than Gareth Barry.  It is what it is. It's a very self - indulgent lifestyle, hence the guilt. However, don't let that define who you are. 

I have a good friend, who 8 years ago seemed like a man beyond redemption, truly.  Last year I attended his graduation at Birmingham university. He took an open university course for English literature and passed,  with distinction.  I don't think I've been more happier for someone, and he's a blue nose. 

Imagine you didn't give a shit. The fact you're hurting is in itself a sign of hope.

 

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18 hours ago, Seat68 said:

 Both myself and my wife have always said its only massive restraint that has stopped us being alcoholics. We are both kids of alcoholics, and certainly in my case, it was and is, actively encouraged to drink. I have been drinking consistently and regularly since I was 14. I am currently limiting it to weekends due mainly to lockdown and weight gain and not through my perceived lack of a problem. 
What was interesting as a kid, I couldn’t drink too much beer as I didn’t like extended sessions on it and issues with my stomach, it caused problems. I therefore drank what my parents drank, vodka. Then I developed a taste for mild before training myself to like wine. My reasoning in my early 20s was I could get fairly drunk on way less than a tenner. Now there is nothing I won’t and don’t drink, all varients of beer (apart from that fruity flavoured shit that the tipple people drink) any spirit and all wines.
I remember working in my 20s and I stopped lying to my employer about post drinking hangovers, “being ill” and just saying I am hungover. I won’t be in. They were pretty tolerant for some time but rightly fired me. 
The difference between me and my parents is I have periods of not drinking and I don’t miss or think about it, my parents have never had a dry day in my entire life. They spent all day in pubs during my childhood and sadly there are some pretty grim tales amongst the kids due to neglect or having the wrong type of person look after my brother and sister. 
I left home at 14 due to my parents being absent but as I was drinking myself most nights at that point, perhaps the damage was done. At the time I thought it was hilarious that we (my friends and I ) were sharing a bottle of whiskey at lunchtime at school but now its horrifying. 

Thanks for sharing this. I'd say probably the main reason at 35 I don't have children, despite a few relationships where that was on the cards, was I just felt completely unprepared to bring another human being into the world who would have to go through what you've described.

Maybe it's a convenient excuse for more general commitment phobia or whatever, but I have this genuine desire to be a parent who provides an emotionally stable environment to a child, and I'm terrified of not being capable of doing that.

When you come from a family with a history of mental health and alcohol / substance abuse problems, as I imagine most of us in this thread do to some extent, it's very hard not to worry that you "carry the gene".

It's quite uplifting to hear from people who have that experience lingering somewhere in the background, but haven't let it define them.

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