Narrative: Andrew’s journey through addiction and homelessness

Andrew’s narrative explores his journey from childhood to a homeless adult in Liverpool. It has been transcribed from his written account and is presented in exactly the way he wrote it.

My name is Andrew. I have been asked to write this chapter of my experiences of addiction and being homeless in Liverpool. Hopefully this might show the person behind the alcoholism that It can take any one as it is not prejudice. Whether you are a doctor, a fireman or a housewife.

I was born in fazakerly and was brought up in the south end of Liverpool, in a place called nersation. I’m 51 years old and have 2 brothers + 35, smers took love since died. But my sister Caroline is still alive, my best friend. But that will come later. My farther was a policeman and my mum a housewife.

I was adopted at 18 months old which always seemed to play a part in my life, i.e abandonment and rejection issues from such a young age, my schooling was average, and I was well liked in my school and played for the school team right threw. But deep down I never felt accepted. Deep down I never felt good enough. I never had problems with girls, I just felt different to the rest, even down to family parties I felt like I was on the outside looking in through the window.

By the time I was 14 I was doing okay, no major traumas. That’s when I had my first major drink, I had always had little sips here and there at family parties and events. We were hanging around the local shops when my friends and I decided to go to the off license and buy 2 vodka half bottles, one each. The next thing that I remember was my friend looking at me. I’d drank mine before he started his. It felt like there was some one behind me, with the dumb way I drink. The next thing I remember was waking up the next morning rough, so I had to rest. Apparently, a family friend had to bring me home saying he had found me singing everton songs by the time I blacked out, this was my first black out.

I left school with good qualifications, and was wanting to go into the navy, but like most LAOs at that age, I fell in love with the girl of my dreams, Lisa. My Sanra D. I was well and truly smittin. Everything was great 1987 till 89. That’s when things started to go wrong. Lisa and I split up, I have never felt pain like it, felt like I’d been hit by a train. The rejection I felt was unbearable. That’s when I started hitting the bars, cigs and booze. Drinking to black out, even from then my drinking was different from my friends

But I drank for confidence and to feel part off, as I had really low confidence. I didn’t like the skin I was in and could only see the ugly in me. This is when I went to work in place idk on a holiday camp. Loved it, roasting hot summer, met some really lovely people. I met a girl from Birmingham and found a romance with her, fray, her name was. She came back to Liverpool for a while, then the holiday romance finished out. So she went back to brum.

Came back and was into the dance scene the state, qund, emotions, w/house parties in black burn. Andrea and I finally settled down, had 2 beautiful daughters Rihannan + Hannah. This is when I started to get my head down and work hard, working with my brother in his construction firm doing extensions and loft conversions.

I was 24 with 2 girls working for my brother, that’s when I found my eldest brother gen, sat me and my dad down to say mums cancer had gotten worse. My beautiful mum. She died on the 5th of October 1995 that’s when I knew I was on my own in life. How could she, she left me, she had no right, I wanted to spoil her. No matter where I was in the country all I had to do was call the house phone and shed would answer, it put me at rest just to hear her voice. This is where I started drinking and taking cocaine. Fighting all the time as I didn’t know how else to express myself as we were never shown how to express ourselves.

I felt abandoned and lonely, loneliness is a killer for me, I have always had a dream I would drive around with my dad looking for me and always ending up at the same apartment and me and my dad looking at me dead. The only thing different in the dream was the décor in the room.

By the time I turned 30 my dad had just died (lung cancer). Dad was old school tough, love never showed, emotions all struggled around him always dashed. But when he died it hit me really hard, that’s when I knew all the siblings would never be in the same room together. There was no more family nest, the man who we all learnt off, a very assertive man was gone.

I had started working for a very big name, Shop fitting company. We worked up and down the country. Doing m/spencer’s, john Lewis and Tesco fit outs. I was frequently doing night shifts as 95% of the work was done at night as most of the stores were still live. This was where my drinking career took off. As we were working lots. 12 days on then 2 days off. So, we would drink every chance we could. At the same time, I was doing great in work doing every course that came along. N bosh, I worked until I made management and by the age 31, I was site manager, but my drinking was doing fine also. I worked for this I had worked for this company for 16 years and in that time, I had 2 more relationships. Don’t get me wrong I had some wonderful, wonderful times, lovely holidays and beautiful homes. I have also lost very good friends to addiction. But even then, the red flags were there but I ignored them, that wouldn’t happen to me I though, but how wrong was i. Just waiting for me, building its time as addiction is very cunning. Then in 2016 it took me, I split up from a toxic relationship where she also was a drinker. So, I packed my stuff and left and fell through the net of society. We ended up at the door of the white chapel.

All my adult working life just to end up in a homeless centre in town. And my poor snowball didn’t know what hit me, as one minute we were snug, the next homeless. But looking back I didn’t want anyone in my way of drinking, so I ended up drinking with the street. The white chapel would mind our snowball in the office, they adored him. I remember I could not look at people in the face as I was full of GSR (guilt, shame, regret) full of low self-worth, walking around in tears looking at everyone living normal lives, I am screaming inside. I just wanted to be loved and to belong to someone. We were sleeping over night in a hostel with a yoga mat and quilt then out by 7am with other homeless people in one big room, this went on for a couple of months in the end all I wanted to do was die, I’d go mad when I wake up in the morning. In the end I was going around town looking for bullys to do me in as I was a shit bag and couldn’t do it myself so I wanted to kick off on them. I ended up becoming the bully. Eventually, they ended up putting me in a city centre hostel which was raw, working girls, heavy drug users. I met a girl who would rather sleep on the streets than in there.

The hostel was a violent place I’d had more than a few scuffels. My life was a blck hole and I was going to die in here of a sizzer or a stabbing. Spent Christmas day in there I just wanted my life. I’d be walking around town and all I would be thinking about was drinking. My life, was destroyed and all I could think about was where my next drink was coming from. This is where my addiction wanted me stripped of everything being a proud man to absolutely nothing the only thing I had left was my life and it wanted that.

Eventually I met a charity who helped our snowball out, who had a soar paw and that was my first step back to recovery. I ended up going to a 12 step recovery rehab for 9 months which they took our snowball in the first part in the north west, they adored him. COE even went on a programme on BBC1

That’s when I met back up with lisa my first love 28 years later and got married, Big white wedding. I was managing again and I’d headed a team on the new education building for john moors university and the hope street hotel. I’d never been so happy married.

I’m a work alcoholic. So the meetings stopped as I was working 7 days a week building 18 million pound contracts. Then one day my birth mother made contact + my boo who I never knew nothing about from my time on the holiday camp in cornwall made contact. Wow, couldn’t believe it, my birth mum was one step too much 50 years to care not a thought on my mum. This was the final straw I wanted to drink again after 2 ½ years of sobriety. As soon as I spun the lid off that bottle my life had come tumbling down, everything destroyed marriage, job and family. This time it was my health to suffer and my sister caroline I’d lost our snowball as he thought I was scuffled and it was his time. I went back out for 11 months having numerous blackout and being found unconscious in garbage. I was unresponsive walking around London not knowing how I got there. Falling on the steps of lime street bethinking my nose in cosy places, driving ban, here we go again, homeless at 51. I tried to take my life putting myself in a river at pendal hill, overtime my sister was destroyed. I ended up in another hostel in southport I’ve lost the girl of my dreams.

It felt like I was trying to hold a bowl of water without the bowl. Feeling sorry for myself thinking why me and not some one else. Looking back my life had been based off a fear of loneliness, rejection and abandonment not having good enough. This where I met correy a psychologist in the hostel I was staying at, he was the only professional that listened to me and my journey. The amount of times I was getting doors shut on my face, my poor sister was at wits end we were getting no where. We’d exhausted every avenue and were lied to constantly. Until I moved to bootle bosco house where I got a key worker with she was amazing who put me on too self ambitions, who were also amazing one chap in particular all they wanted was for me to meet them halfway so my sister and bosco came up with a reflection plan as I was drinking 2 bottles of vodka daily.

My sister coming every day to give me my alcohol intake to try and get me to eat as I had lost 7 stone going down from 17 and a ½ to 10 and a ½ stone as I couldn’t eat. The pain in her eyes is heartbreaking and the trouble its caused on her marriage is so much strain. I’m blessed to have her in my life, every step of the way she has been at my side.

Since April 2022 I have been in detox and rehab for 5 months in lythima st annes. Im still continuing to live and work on y recovery, as I know I have Rorzacough and if I carry on I will have full blown dementia brought on by alcohol. So when you judge people drinking please try and have empathy, for them as most people know some one in the family in addiction, people who drink behind closed doors, their park bench is the couch. Just remember 95% of people in addiction are truly lovely people, we just make the wrong decisions in life. This is for the suffering still out there and their families.