The following real-life stories and information videos come from former patients and staff members of Castle Craig.
Chris, owner of a successful construction company and a former patient at Castle Craig:
“I made a career in business, where the consumption of alcohol is part of the culture. It is presumed that being a good partner means spending a lot of time with the alcohol in front of you, and that good business is not done at the office, but at a bar or night club.
But there, things were trying to be hidden, drinking during working hours was prohibited, not accepted; on the other hand, it was normal that you could drink after 5 pm.
My body started functioning on the basis that I could start drinking after 5 pm. I knew that at 5 pm I will receive my first dose of alcohol, my first beer.
By morning I would be in a fragile state and then I would get better, then worse again. And so it went on for years.
There were some very difficult times when I had to prepare for meetings – but without alcohol. I knew that my opposite numbers would know if I was drunk, from the colour of my skin and look on my face, and that would put me in a position of weakness. But without alcohol, my nerves would be shot and I wouldn’t function properly. What to do?
In situations which were critical for my business, I tried to not drink in the days before the meeting.
I looked better but my brain was not functioning properly. I could not concentrate.
When I made the biggest transaction of my life – when I gave up a 35% stake in my construction business – I realised that it would be a huge mistake not to drink as I simply could not function without alcohol.
So I couldn’t function in a business without alcohol.”
Entrepreneurship after Addiction
But she very nearly lost all of this — and her life — due to her chronic alcoholism. Louise thanks her family for getting her into treatment.
In rehab, she realised that the disease of alcoholism “was going to kill me”. After many weeks of therapy, she was able to face up to herself, overcome her fears and learn to be “happy in my skin and happy to be myself.”
“Nothing frightens me anymore,” says Louise, who is back running her business and is willing to talk openly about her addiction.
A tribute to the family
Louise C believes
“the best thing to do with alcoholics is to gang up on them. Give them no option but to try treatment and to face up to their addiction. Once you face up to it you are halfway there.”
She tells the story of how it took her husband, father and brother to get her in a car and drive her to a rehab clinic: “it took three men to drop me at the door of Castle Craig. The car doors were locked because they knew I would jump out, even on the motorway.”
Now that Louise is running her own business again, and employing 90 people in Scotland, she can laugh about these memories. But for years she was in denial, even though she was destroying her life, her family and her business.
“There’s always going to be the fight: denial. But once you get past that and accept that you are an alcoholic, you give in and you are free to understand your illness and get better.”
Louise spent 6 weeks in residential rehab treatment at Castle Craig Hospital. She says the family need that time too: “Six weeks is about right for the family to mend a little before this alcoholic comes back into the bosom of the family.”
She stresses the importance of family, friends and colleagues in the crucial period of recovery — after the intensive period in rehab: “to survive after Castle Craig you do need support. You do need understanding emotionally from the people around you.”