A former soldier and chef from Blackburn has opened up about his 10 year battle with alcohol addiction and hopes to inspire others to seek help.

Adam Taylor, 34, has managed to turn his life around after a decade long alcohol dependency thanks to local charities, support networks, and his family.

After leaving school with few qualifications, Adam joined the army for two years before he went into cheffing, which he says triggered his issues with drink. 

Lancashire Telegraph: Adam during rehabAdam during rehab (Image: Adam Taylor)

He said: “It (the addiction) started when I started going out with friends and family and also being a chef.

“Working in a kitchen is not good for anyone with an addictive personality.

"It’s a stressful job, I don’t know anyone who’s a chef that doesn’t have some sort of addiction, whether that’s drugs or drink or gambling.

“I was working 15 to 16 hour shifts on minimum wage. I couldn’t sleep anymore.

"I lost jobs and relationships with partners and people in my life. It was only about three years ago when I decided to reach out for help.”

Adam attended multiple groups two to three times a week to get his addiction under control.

He tried to detox himself but was in and out of hospital and ended up relapsing again.

He said: “It was a horrible and really difficult period of my life. People were massively surprised when they found out I had a job because they don’t expect an addict to.

"I was a functioning addict, but it got to the point where I couldn’t hold down a job, or even lift a drink myself because I was shaking so much.”

Excessive alcohol consumption is England’s second biggest cause of premature death, and Blackburn with Darwen has a significantly higher rate of alcohol-specific hospital admissions than the rest of England.

Adam sought help from the charity, Red Rose Recovery who are part of the SPARK partnership set up to support people struggling with substance abuse and addiction.

Then, after two years of trying to get into rehab, he was finally admitted to Littledale in Lancaster last year.

He added: “I was in there for about three and a half months and learned coping mechanisms, theories, and the mental health side of things. I got really involved and got myself focused.

“I couldn’t have done the past decade without my wife by my side. She stood by me the whole time and looked after me. She pushed me to go to my meetings - she saved my life.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Adam doing community work after coming out of rehabAdam doing community work after coming out of rehab (Image: Adam Taylor)

Adam gained qualifications and took up some volunteering roles so when he came out of rehab a couple of months ago, he started volunteering at SPARK and Red Rose Recovery, and as a scouts leader at St George’s Mill Hill Scout Group in Blackburn.

Speaking on how addiction is viewed in society, Adam says there is “100 per cent” a stigma that is attached to it.

He added: “You get looked down on and you’re seen as the worst of society so having a good group of people around you is so important and there is help out there. “

“We’ve got like a little community of recovery but the biggest thing is plucking up the nerves to go. I just want to inspire anyone going through something similar to ask for help.

"I didn’t think I’d be here today so I’m living proof that you can get through it.”

Services for people battling addiction to alcohol or other substances is delivered by Spark Blackburn with Darwen. If you or someone you know requires support, call 01254 495014 or email BWD@calico.org.uk.