“The first thing I did in the morning was make myself a double vodka and water,” said Ian Thomas, speaking of his 26-year alcohol addiction.
“I’d have a few of those for my breakfast.
“I would wake up and vomit, have diarrhoea.
“I was delirious, tremors, no appetite. I was drinking to knock myself out.”
Ian, 65, of Earn Crescent, said his life was so low he had suicidal thoughts of slitting his wrists and jumping off the Tay Road Bridge.
He said: “I kept a diary. I wrote in it every day the amount of times I was sick, bleeding, diarrhoea, then wrote that I just wanted to go to sleep and not wake up.”
Ian desperately wanted out of the life of alcoholism but he did not know how he could escape it without dying.
He said: “I was hospitalised dozens of times.
“I wasn’t the master of my life anymore, alcohol was the master of me, everything I did revolved around it.
“I lived in a slum.
“There was blood everywhere, spewing everywhere, mouldy drink cans, pee all over the place – I knew it was a slum but I didn’t care.”
It got so bad that Ian could not walk or talk and was checked into former psychiatric hospital Sunnyside in Montrose three times for detoxification by his family.
But it was only following the third time Ian made the conscious decision to stay sober – a feat he’s managed for 15 years now.
He said: “I’m not proud of myself.
“I don’t look at the past, I just take each day at a time.
“I tell myself I’m sober today and the rest slowly takes care of itself.”
Ian now keeps himself busy with activities such as drawing and creative projects at Just Bee Productions.
The community group offers people a safe space to be creative and connect with others at vulnerable times in their lives.
Ian said: “Getting involved with Just Bee is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.
“It keeps my mind busy and gives me something positive to focus on and it’s good to be around people again, instead of sitting in the house on my own all day with just my thoughts.”
Ian and about 20 other participants in the group are gearing up to start working on a musical theatre show called This is a Mental Musical.
Claire Bee, founder of Just Bee Productions, said: “The show is about mental health and everything that goes along with that.
“It’s also about giving people a platform to have a voice to say what they want to say.”
The show will be performed in Dundee and the group hopes to take it to Edinburgh Fringe Festival next year.
Former plays performed by Just Bee include Drink, The Musical which toured community venues in Dundee, including nearby prisons, and another musical called Next Stop Please.
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Former heroin addict Cheryl Ferguson, 35, said: “Doing the musicals has helped to build up my confidence, self worth and a feeling that I belong.
“It’s opened up opportunities which I wouldn’t have thought were possible and I’ve met loads of brilliant people who are like family now.
“I love it. No drugs can give that sort of feeling.
“The first time I did it, I came off stage and felt brilliant and it wasn’t brought on by any substance.”