People with addictions have shared the moment they hit rock bottom as part of a powerful photo series shared exclusively with HuffPost UK Lifestyle.
The Priory Group asked addicts to share the turning point at which they realised they needed help with their addiction by completing the sentence: “I knew I had a problem when...”
The series is designed to challenge the way the world sees addiction. Some participants had lost everything including their jobs, house and family.
“Most people seek help when they reach what they call their ‘rock bottom’," says Dr Neil Brener, Consultant Psychiatrist at Priory Hospital North London. "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."
The images are illustrated by artist Ross Thomas, who was commissioned by The Priory Group. They show the stark reality of addiction and challenge the myth of what an addict looks like. Addiction has many faces and can affect anyone, whatever race, gender or socio-economic status.
“Around 80 – 90% of people that I see with addiction problems are in employment," adds Dr Brener." I see all ranges of people from the most senior chief executives to people in the post room.”
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Hitting rock bottom is something William knows first-hand.
He explains: “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.”