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How Addiction Counselling Can Help with Drug Abuse

Drugs can affect people in different ways, some more severely than others. Some individuals will turn to drugs as a way to cope; others out of boredom; some may even try these substances because of peer pressure. In almost all these cases, one treatment that can help the individual is addiction counselling. This can assist the addict in releasing all his or her frustrations, and it can really get to the root of the problem to find out what is causing this abuse and how it can be tackled. One person who could have greatly benefitted from addiction counselling is former footballer Paul Stewart. He was subjected to a horrific series of sexual abuse as a child, which ended with him turning to drugs and alcohol for comfort.

Counseling for Suicidal Thoughts

Former footballer Paul Stewart was a consummate professional at many of the football clubs he played for during his career, including Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham and Blackpool – where he took the first steps in his career. Football was his passion and something that he truly loved. However, he hid a dark secret; he was sexually abused as a child and turned to drugs and alcohol as a result of this; he even considered ending his life.

Suicidal Thoughts: How to Recover

“You would not believe how many times I contemplated suicide, even when things were going well,” says Paul. “I was playing for Spurs and England, at the peak of my success. But there was that constant feeling. It was so dark, and I just wanted to step out of it. Drinking was a release. There were times I just felt so alone; there was loneliness, even at the very top of the game, like you would not believe. At first, I drank to get through it, and I could drink until I did not think about it. Next thing, I started taking drugs. That became a better way of not thinking about it, of forgetting the abuse. When I was on drugs, it gave me release.” Due to his celebrity status, Paul would be offered drugs frequently at no cost, and it was this that fuelled his addiction.

Readily Available Addiction Help

“I started taking drugs at 27 or 28 when I was playing for Spurs, but it continued after that,” explained the ex-player. “I relied on it almost daily. I had a bad habit for 15 years, maybe more. I was out in London, and I was offered ecstasy. I could get it at any place, anytime I wanted it. I don’t know how I managed to perform on the pitch. At times that is why I was not chosen. Liverpool manager Graeme Souness asked me if I was taking drugs. I just denied it. Someone had told him that it was the case, and he questioned me about it. Marijuana stays a lot longer in the system, in the hair for example. But with cocaine, it goes very quickly, and I would take that on a regular basis. I was tested for drugs, but it was random, and I took the risk. I got away with it. It was a way of blocking out the abuse, so that is what I did.”

Drinking Culture

Paul is now a successful businessman working in Blackpool. Speaking about when his football career ended, he said, “I had to enter the real world. Once you were finished, that was it. You get more preparation for it now. It was hard to adapt, and I did turn to drugs to help. I may have expended upwards of £500 to £600 in a week; it would be supplied for nothing at times. But when I finished [football], the addiction came as I struggled with everything. Certain managers did not see eye to eye with me because I was known as a drinker, and there was a drinking culture back then, but I hope they will understand me better now and realise why I did it.”

He added, “Playing alongside Gascoigne, Waddle, Rush, Barnes; to be on the same pitch, that is what I set out to do as a young player. I still have some fond memories; I just know the abuse affected my life. I thought about suicide constantly, even at the pinnacle of my career. I thought I was upsetting my family; I thought it would be better if I was not around. The only way I could handle it was to get drunk or get high. I would go on a bender and lose days at a time.”

The Stigma of Addiction

During all of this, Paul kept the abuse hidden from the world, admitting that the reason he did not confide in anybody was that of the stigma that surrounded the abuse. He explained that a child could be ‘ostracised’ and that it is ‘hard for family to believe it.’ He said, “I am sure there are players, lads who were with this group, who have struggled through life. I want them to feel they are not alone and not to be ashamed of it, and hopefully something can be done if these people are still alive. My abuser got my mother to fall under his spell; she was blind to it. It became impossible to do anything.”

The Problem of Responsibility in Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Upon reaching the age of fifteen, he started standing up to his abuser, who had resorted to violence as a way to control Paul. “He hit me in the car across the throat. I jumped out of the car and ran home, and he never came to my house again. My parents thought he was hitting me. I did not tell them until I was having problems with drink and drugs, much later in life. They are in their late 70s now, so I don’t want them to feel they’re responsible because I chose not to tell them.” Paul added, “My mum was proud of me for speaking out. For my dad, it is harder. If he had known, he would have killed the man responsible. It all ended when I was fifteen. I had no other problems with coaches in all my adult life in the professional game. I was never approached in that way at all, ever.”

Do You Have Specific Addiction Rehab Needs?

If you are concerned that you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction and are not sure of how to combat the issue, contact us here at UK Rehab. We work with providers that offer many different treatments to suit the specific requirements of the affected individual, including addiction counselling. Call today for more information on how we can help you.

Source: Paul Stewart: I took cocaine to help me block out suicidal thoughts and child sex abuse pain (Mirror.co.uk)

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