I had my first drink of alcohol at age four, when I was at my grandfather’s house— I had to be rushed to hospital in an ambulance to have my stomach pumped. By the age of 12, I was sleeping rough under Brighton Pier in England.
It was around then that I met my father for the first time—who immediately told me to go out and get a bottle of whiskey. We drank together until he passed out. The next day, my father took me to a restaurant and I was told he was going to be put to work there. I never saw my father again.
“I managed to turn a corner when I emigrated to New Zealand. I became a successful entrepreneur. But it got to the stage where I would need a drink at eight o’clock in the morning, just to get me started.
Around five years ago, drinking caught up with me and in liver failure, I walked into The Salvation Army Bridge. This saved my life.
Today, I give back by visiting inmates in prison, participating in Recovery Church, and as a counsellor with the AA hotline.
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*All names and identifying details have been changed in this story to protect individual privacy. Stock images are used in all recovery stories. The Bridge would like to thank our tāngata for being brave and generous in sharing their stories. We wish them all the best for healthier and happier lives.