Steve first tried alcohol at the age of 15 and found it very difficult to stop.
Fifteen was a difficult age for Steve because it was at this time he discovered that the man who raised him was not his biological father.
“I used to drink five days a week, I was never home. Even when I was living with my mum and stepfather as a teenager, I used to get up and go to the pub at 9am and stay there until closing time” he says.
In the following years, Steve got into scrapes with police while he was on several days’ alcohol binges. Eventually he met his biological father and learned that both his father and grandfather had serious problems with alcohol. He also learned that his biological father had managed to stop drinking.
This led Steve to begin attending AA meetings. He did the hard mahi and abstained from alcohol for a full ten years.
Then his mother died. Steve was totally devastated by the loss and turned to alcohol again to try and cope with the sadness.
“I came out of the pub one night and just collapsed on the ground. The ambulance took me to hospital. I had alcohol poisoning and the doctor said to me that if I ever drink again, I’ll die,” he says.
He began seeing a counsellor who helped him to enrol in The Salvation Army Bridge eight week residential programme. With the help of the specialist team of counsellors, peer support workers and AOD (Alcohol and Other Drugs) case workers, Steve was able to come face to face with the emotional triggers and memories that prompted him to drink.
“It was really, really hard,” Steve recalls. “What I learned from the Bridge is: don’t pick up that first drink. That was hard but I thought about my two lovely daughters. As the old saying goes: It works if you work at it!”
Today, Steve volunteers for The Salvation Army.
“I started to volunteer because I want to give back to the organisation. I love the Bridge and The Salvation Army. They gave me a new life.
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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.