My Story by Mike Coleman

I was introduced to the Alliance House, by the University of Utah Hospital, 5 West Psychiatric Ward. I was admitted on the 27th of September, in 2016.  I admitted myself, due to complications from alcohol dependency and my issues of harming myself.

My issues with alcohol haunted me for quite some time. I started drinking in my twenties.  At that time, it was used to relax me and gave me the courage to be outgoing.  During my childhood, I was usually a shy kid and I had issues with self-confidence and low self-esteem.  I grew up in a military household, so I was expected to excel in school and sports.  I excelled in football and gained a scholarship to play at Dixie College.  That is where my drinking started.  I was young and living on my own for the first time. I continued drinking, socially, but I was able to function and excel at my career as an account receivables/credit analyst.

My drinking got out of control, back in 2010. This was during the great recession and the collapse of the housing market.  I was laid off from my job, as a Credit Analyst, with Staker and Parson Companies.  I was there for 6 years and I loved my job and the people there.  I had trouble finding work that paid me the same as my last job.  To make things worst, my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer and my father passed away, November of that year.

So, the combination of time on my hands and dealing with tragedy with my family, I went on a downward spiral. I started having panic/anxiety attacks and I used alcohol to control them.  I tried numerous medications, i.e. Xanax, Prozac, etc.  None of them worked, as well as alcohol did.  Sometimes I would combine the drugs with alcohol.  My drinking escalated from drinking beers to drinking 1 or 2 liters of vodka a day.

When I was able to obtain employment, my drinking still continued. Unfortunately, my anxiety/panic attacks did not stop, so I would drink at work.  This caused me to lose jobs and good ones, as well.  I started noticing withdrawal symptoms from alcohol, which I came to learn are called Delirium Tremens.  Symptoms include uncontrollable shakes, nausea, difficulty with walking, confusion and possible seizures.  To control those I would double my intake of alcohol.  I’ve been to several detox facilities and rehabs.

This last episode, I was dealing with the loss of my brother and sister. Both died within a month apart, July and August.  I relapsed after 7 months of sobriety.  I came into the 5 West Psychiatric unit to detox from alcohol and to get help with my anxiety/depression issues.  I was living on the streets for about a month.  During my stay there, I was introduced to the Alliance House.  I watched a video and I was impressed at what I saw.   At the time, I was looking for housing and I was told that they helped out with that.  After my discharge, I moved into a Sober Living facility.

During my stay at the Sober Living facility, I took my first tour of the Alliance House. I was introduced to the 3 units they have, which is the Business Unit, Culinary Unit, and the Career Development Unit.  I enjoy all three of them.  But most of all, I love the culture and environment.  Even the staff is part of the community and there are no labels or stigmas.  Everyone is great and everyone has their own stories and challenges.


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