People with addictions have shared the moment they hit rock bottom in an image-led campaign with The Priory Group. Priory asked people with addictions if they would share the turning point at which they realised they needed help with their addiction by answering the question “I knew I had a problem when…”
The shocking responses provide a real insight into the consequences of addiction. Some respondents had lost everything including their jobs, house and family.
The full set of images can be seen here.
The images of the distressing circumstances—illustrated by artist Ross Thomas were commissioned by The Priory Group to prompt conversation about addiction. They show the stark reality of addiction, and also challenge the myth about what an addict looks like. Addiction has many faces, and can affect anyone, whatever race, gender or socio-economic status.
Dr Neil Brener, Consultant Psychiatrist at Priory Hospital North London, agrees: “Around 80 – 90% of people that I see with addiction problems are in employment. I see all ranges of people from the most senior chief executives to people in the post room.” He continued: “Most people seek help when they reach what they call their ‘rock bottom’. This is when things start to go wrong, when there are serious consequences for their behaviour. Up until then they believe they can control their addiction, rather than their addiction controlling them, but then it reaches a tipping point when they start to realise that they have lost control of their life. That’s when they head towards their rock bottom, and that’s when they need to get help.
He stressed that “the most important thing is to recognise that you shouldn’t hide addiction under the carpet and hope it will go away, because it doesn’t.”
Hitting rock bottom is something William knows first-hand. He explained:
“Prior to my admission to Priory I had been in several rehabs and clinics and had a great many detoxes. I had lost everything dear to me through my alcoholism. I didn’t think that I could stop drinking, that was my honest belief and I was beat. I expected to complete treatment successfully and then for whatever reason return to drink. I had tried so hard in the past and the outcome was always the same. I didn’t know that being beaten was actually the perfect condition for recovery. “One of the most important things for me was finding out that most of the addictions therapists were in recovery; not only were they experienced qualified therapist but they also had the experiential knowledge. They knew what it felt like to wake up shaking in the morning, full of fear, remorseful from the last binge and the consequences.”