Shane Warburton was introduced to alcohol as a toddler, and has attended the Bridge three times. Now sober, he is showing others that there is always hope.
My addiction started at a very young age, when I was only three years old. My mum has told me that every day I would meet my dad at the gate, I would line up a couple of glasses, and my dad would pour out neat whiskey for us—which I would knock back like an adult. My mum tried to knock the glass off the table so I couldn’t drink it, but she got the bash for doing that.
My dad was a drug addict and alcoholic, a gangster and a violent man. He was not a good role model for me growing up. I got expelled from primary school, but somehow I made it to high school. Even though she got beaten for it, my mum helped me break the whiskey habit and I didn’t drink again until I was a teenager.
But the seed of addiction had already been planted and, as soon as I started drinking again, it got a hold of me. I left school and got a job at the freezing works, but I couldn’t hold down a job. I started stealing my old man’s pills and, by the time I was 19, I had moved on to hard drugs.
My addiction was everything; drugs were everything. I was put on methodone, but that just keeps you handcuffed and locked into addiction. I’ve done my time in jail, but I used intravenous drugs through all my time inside.
I have been into the Bridge alcohol and drug addiction programme three times. The first time was in 1997, and after that I was seven years clean. Then my mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she died. I relapsed and was back in my addiction for another 10 years, using and abusing.
My addiction steamrolled and I came to a point where I had had enough. I screamed out for someone to help me, but the doors kept closing. On the spur of the moment, I committed a crime so that I would have to go before a judge and get ordered into treatment. That was when I attended the Bridge for a second time, and I had two years of sobriety after that.
The problem was that I went back to my old hometown, my old friends and my old lifestyle. I had no stability to keep me clean. So I decided to move to Tauranga, where my son lives. But the day I moved up, I relapsed again. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.
I wanted to get off the rollercoaster once and for all.
I had been trying to give up smoking for 30 years. One day, I woke up and decided I was no longer a smoker, and I haven’t had a cigarette since. I thought, I can take that same attitude to rehab. So, in 2016, I entered the Bridge for a third time.
After I finished the programme, I kept coming back to the Bridge and volunteering every day, taking clients to appointments. It gave me a grounding and stability in my recovery. As of last week, I have become a paid worker at the Bridge—just five hours a week, but it gives me purpose. I go to Recovery Church and play the drums. If it wasn’t for the Bridge, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today.