There are many reasons individuals turn to substances such as drugs or alcohol. Youngsters often experiment with these substances out of curiosity. Others will do so because they are trying to block out painful memories. And, while not everyone who tries alcohol or drugs will go on to develop a problem, there are those who will develop a physical dependence, followed by addiction. A drug or alcohol addiction can destroy lives, and it can tear families apart. One man with experience of both a drug and alcohol addiction is former footballer Andy McLaren.

Warning of the Dangers of Addiction

Andy has recently visited students at Ayrshire College to discuss the struggles he faced with both drugs and alcohol while playing football at professional level. He spoke to the students about how his father had died when he was a teenager and how he became a father himself when he was still in his teens. He explained that he found himself turning to alcohol and drugs and how after a failed drugs test at his then club Reading FC, he was checked into a rehabilitation clinic.

Andy wanted the students to know that if they are struggling with anything, they should open up to another person, be that a friend, counsellor or lecturer. He pointed out that any feelings of depression should be discussed and not bottled up.

He also explained that when he was young, he felt that talking about feelings was not acceptable but that he has learned how valuable this is in later life.

Improving Lives

Andy has co-founded the charity A&M Scotland, which aims to improve the lives of youngsters living in deprived areas. The charity offers free activities to these youngsters, including gymnastics, football, and dance lessons. Youngsters can also benefit from free training and employability courses.

Andy said, “I started this charity eight years ago, and began talking to students about my life in and out of football, the good and the bad. My problems have been well documented, and I’m trying to use them to help younger people. I’m hoping one or two of the students today can learn from my experiences. It’s all about choices and consequences. If you go down the road of using drugs, there’s a fair chance your life is going to quickly spiral out of control.”

He went on to say, “This isn’t all doom and gloom – it’s about getting students to try their best and find something they’re good at. If you do positive things and try your hardest then you’ll reap the rewards. It’s great to be back in Ayrshire. I had three very good years at Kilmarnock. It was a real family club; everyone looked after each other. We had a good team at the time; we twice finished 4th when I was there and got to a cup final. One of my biggest regrets is leaving; I probably shouldn’t have left when I did. I always look back at my time at Kilmarnock with a great deal of fondness.”

Speaking after Andy’s visit, student Andrew McConnell said, “Andy’s talk showed me things can change, even if it seems impossible.”

Kimberley Stevenson, another student, said, “It was really inspiring, he’s such a strong person for pulling through everything.”

Overcoming a Drug or Alcohol Addiction

If you are struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, help is available. For most people, this will mean completing a detox programme before moving on to a programme of rehabilitation. Detox is the process of breaking the physical bond with the chemical substance to which you are addicted. It can be a complicated process, depending on the type of substance you have been abusing and the severity of your illness.

Once complete, you can then consider a rehabilitation programme that is designed to help with the emotional and psychological aspect of the addiction. Here at Liberty House, we treat a variety of addictions, including drug and alcohol addiction.

We tailor our programmes to the needs of the individual because we know that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to addiction treatment. Our aim is to ensure that every patient that enters our clinic leaves with a new attitude to life and a real desire to live a clean and healthy sober life.

Our staff are fully trained professionals, dedicated to helping those in need. All we require from you is a commitment to the programme and the motivation to change. We are here to help you get your life back on track. Call us today for more information about our clinic, programmes and how we can help you.

Source: Ex footballer Andy McLaren gives Kilwinning students insight into dangers of addictions (Daily Record)