Kevan, male, born in 1961 in Walsall, West Midlands

As a child I had a very good upbringing, had regular holidays with my parents and two sisters to Ryl in North Wales. I went to school at infants & juniors as any child would. And I was very close with my granddad who worked all his life as a slaughter man at an abattoir in the midlands. At the age of ten I was with him at work any weekend and every school holidays. At the end of the day my granddad loved to wind down with a few pints or more.. The pub was just at the end of the lane to the abattoir and in those days there really were no laws against drinking and driving. That was when I really had my first taste of alcohol around the age of 14 years old.

When I started to go to comprehensive school, my life and behaviour started to change, I spent less time at school and more time with my granddad at the abattoir and YES of course as well the pub every night having half a pint twice every night. I used to stop at my grandparents flat and my grandma used to cover up for me saying I wasn’t well for school and I would skive off weeks at a time. That carried on till I left school with no qualification what so ever, just memories. Finding a job was no problem, there was one at the abattoir waiting for me.

I really thought I had no problem with alcohol; I was just a young man enjoying a drink or two. Then at the age of 20 I met a girl and went on to marry and had two children, still only enjoying the odd drink after work as my granddad did. After five years of what I thought was a happy marriage it broke down because my wife had an affair, this had a devastating impact on me and I was mortified. I went back to live with my parents as my grandparents were getting on in age. My divorce happened quickly and my drinking career started. I was drinking in pubs at lunchtime whilst working, as soon as I finished work I was back in the pub till closing time, some nights not knowing how I got home.

At this time my job came second to my drinking and at the end I lost my job as a consequence. I quickly found another job, those days you could easily walk into another job. But my drinking carried on the same, as for holidays abroad with my mates, you can just imagine how those were.. I was then drinking beers and spirits and getting into pub fights and all sorts of trouble. It was at this time that I met my current partner and we moved in together. My heavy drinking caused arguments between us. Soon the time came when I was unemployable and at the same time I also lost my granddad. I was mortified.

Being out of work and loosing people I loved meant I took to drinking at home, 1ltr of whiskey every two days alongside super strength beer. At this time me and my partner had started a family and had moved from the midlands to Doncaster to be near my partners sister who was poorly with cancer. Whiskey then got to 1 ltr per day plus beer seven days a week. My partner had said for about 3 – 4 years that I was an alcoholic but I was in full denial. I also used to drink and drive with my partner and kids in the car..

Being in denial turned me into a horrible person, a liar who sneaked around the house hiding alcohol in the shed, garage, bushes near where I used to walk the dog so I was able to have a drink whilst I was out. By this stage I needed a drink as soon as I got up in the morning to control the shakes. I would have a can or a swig out of a whiskey bottle, then throw up and then start drinking again, and I was still in denial. There would always be a drink of some sort under the driver’s seat of my car, so I could drink whilst driving (MADNESS) AY!

Then I witnessed two alcoholic blackouts both involving hospital admissions. By this time my family had had enough. I still used to lie to the doctors denying that I had had a drink when I obviously had and stunk of it. My family & Doctors then said I needed further help or I would die. Blood tests on my liver showed damage but even that did not stop me drinking. At this stage I was drinking anything I could get my hands on. Stealing money along the way to support my habit. The doctors referred to me to the Community Alcohol Team in Doncaster and they started me on an Antabuse course which made me very poorly If i drank whilst taking it. The side effects were awful, hot flushes, burning of the face, tremors and shakes to the extreme. I tried to beat the system as you do but i failed after a couple of months, failing breath tests before being administered the medication. How I didn’t kill some or myself I never know, how I was never pulled for drink driving I never know either, though now I wish I had.

Kevan Service User