1. Sometimes we need to hear a success story when we read a post like this. I hope this one will help.

    Some years ago we had a builder, Mark, come to refit and rebuild our kitchen. We went on holiday expecting to return to a mostly completed job. When we tried to open our front door it refused to open. All sorts of building materials were stacked up inside it. Forcing our way into our own house we found an abandoned building site.

    A week into the job Mark had found the need to befriend several bottles of cheap whisky and had taken to his bed.

    We were too out of pocket to kick him off the site, so persevered. We watched Mark as he spent a whole day reading a leaflet on fitting an under-sink waste. The drawings were the wrong way up. We watched him fit a kitchen unit bizarrely. And we listened to his being short of money.

    I worked out the problem. Mark was a drunk. The bottles he’d surrounded during his lapse were just a week of excess. He was unsober 100% of the time.

    For the six months the three week job took him I paid his van insurance, his mortgage, but never paid him any cash. Mark’s been an adult for years, but we got him to his mother for a month. She had a go at drying him out. He was starting to realise that booze was a problem for him. He hated AA Meetings, though he went, for a while.

    Mark told me that he had got so low he was about to kill himself. He got through that by luck, and then worked out that he had hit rock bottom and could only climb up.

    He’d finished our kitchen work. Under strong supervision his inner craftsman did excellent work. He sold his van. He decided he had to get fit and started using a pushbike. He still went to the pub, but the landlord was under instructions never ever to serve him anything alcoholic, and to prevent his friends from buying him alcohol.

    He had two major relapses. Each cost him a week of his life and three more weeks of work. Mark is self employed. The cost of the whiskey was trivial compared with the loss of income.

    Today, through his own dogged determination, he has been dry since 2008. He is fit as fit can be. He has never bought a new van, he cycles everywhere. How he manages ladders is beyond me!

    He has rebuilt his building business. Once he used to employ a dozen tradesmen. Alcohol killed that. Now he is starting to rebuild a team of tradesmen. He is trusted again and respected again, perhaps more so since he has beaten his demons. He says it’s easy. I think he’s mistaken. It’s been simple. It has never been easy.

    When he screwed up on our kitchen I had two choices. Destroy him or work with him. I chose to work with him, and he fought me a lot of the way. But he produced good work on the kitchen and is, today, proud of it. He does other work for me now. I can trust him to make any job he does for me a job I have no need to worry about.

    A couple of years ago he gave me a surprise phone call. He had almost completed a 200 mile charity bike ride, and wondered if he could drop in on us where we live today.

    I’m deeply impressed with the determination Mark has shown to beat alcohol. He wasn’t aware those years ago that he even had a problem. Today he helps others in his home town to understand that they need to look at their drinking, but without evangelising.

    And that is why I am telling you about Mark here. You need to see a success.

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