Adventures After Addiction (A.A.A) is a zero profit adventure organization that organizes a yearly adventure in a spectacular location around the world. It is for people that have suffered with various addictions, and are now in a position to take on adventures like the inaugural A.A.A hike in and around the Grand Canyon in March of 2019 as a group in recovery. At the same time you can raise money for charities or good causes that are close to your heart and if you wish also feel free to bring along family members, friends and partners as we all know that addiction not only affects the addict but all those around them. What better way to bond and create new memories with your loved ones and fellow adventurers on an amazing experience in an unforgettable location.
My story now
In sobriety the activities I have done and currently do, be it my padi open water scuba diving course, motor cross, mountain biking, flying lessons, weekly gym sessions, painting, running, tennis, paragliding, flyboarding and rockclimbing to name a few help me to live an exciting and enriched life. Which includes most importantly, my beloved little family which is made up at time of writing of our amazing 8 yr old daughter and our 4 month old little boy who was born on my birthday in 2017 (19 months into sobriety). I like to call him my little gift from my higher power and my amazing wife who stuck with me through some of the lowest and most difficult parts of my life. I also can't forget that my great AA group and my job are also fundamental parts of my life today.
One thing that I have always loved is travelling, and today it is about writing new sober stories around the world as I like to put it.
In 2017 I had the idea that in order to give something back, I would try to raise money on behalf of Bridges at Nova Vida.
Nova Vida is the recovery center that gave me the tools I needed to change my life around and get me out of my alcohol and cocaine addiction.
Nova Vida created "Bridges" whereby money is raised in order to give some assistance to people with financial difficulty in order to get into treatment at the center in Portugal.
So I decided to hike some of the Great Wall of China with a company called Charity Challenge and named it One Step at a Time.
I took on this challenge of hiking up and down, and up and down, and up, and up, and up, and down, and down, and down, and back up the Great Wall of China!!!!!
I stayed in clean basic lodges, eating delicious local Chinese food.
With over 90,000 steps, +1 000 ascending floors and over 60 kilometers on the Great Wall of China my One Step at a Time challenge in aid of Nova Vida was an unforgettable experience.
The group embarked each day around 8.30 am to a different section of the wall after a local but tasty breakfast. We tackled the Jinshanling loop, Gubeikou gateway, Mutianyu, Huanghuacheng and Badaling sections of the wall.
Each day we would hike and encounter beautiful scenery, challenging inclines and descents. Slippery steep slopes were met at times and occasionally steep drops to the sides of the trails which were often broken and filled with shrubbery.
We stopped each day for our well needed lunch at scenic locations.
Everyone on the group was on the challenge for different charities and personal reasons. There was a group raising money on behalf of the British heart foundation, a mother and daughter in aid of Coppafeel a charity for breast cancer, a mother and son for Parkinson’s disease and a lady for Save the Heroes.
No words can describe one of the moments where we finally reached the top peak of one of the towers of the wall each one helping the other up a very difficult and steep section, emotions ran high with the sense of achievement and the magnitude of the feat and the causes in which we were all there for. It was a very touching moment I will never forget.
One of the welcome surprises of the trip was the quality of the dinners, I had not expected the food to be as truly delicious as it was.
So when the trip came to an end, I was filled with mixed emotions that it was over, however any sadness was quickly dispersed away with as I was soon heading home to see my lovely wife and amazing kids.
I picked this event as it seemed quite fitting for the cause in which I raised money for as, like with my hike, it involved many steps and some struggles too!
I self-funded this event and all proceeds went directly towards the treatment of individuals at Nova Vida under the Bridges scheme.
So, I am now attempting under the triple A.A.A umbrella that I have created of "Adventures After Addiction" to get a group of ex patients from Nova Vida and others in recovery to embark on an adventure with me. I plan to do this as a yearly event and see where it goes from there.
The trek is called Trek the Canyons and we will be doing this as a private group. So far there are 7 of us that are booked up.
It will take place 9-16 March 2019
To get an idea of the challenge please click on the link below.
There are still spaces available, however the longer you wait to book the more expensive it may get due to flight costs.
If you are interested please ring me on 0030 6955 466 813.
In the group of 7 so far we have someone with over 20 years of sobriety all the way to someone with a few months. So everyone is welcome!!!
We will be using a company called Discover Adventure
They are specialists in worldwide trekking and cycling challenges. Established in 1994 they have explored the world with over 60,000 participants and helped them to raise over £85million for charitable causes.
If one self funds the trip you can raise money for whatever cause you so wish, this is what I did last time.
If you are not self funding (ie money is raised by you on behalf of your selected charity who covers a large amount of the cost however a minimum target needs to be reached) then there are many different charities that you may pick from and these details can be found on their website and are described as the fundraising option.
My name is Leo
I was born in 1980
My sobriety date is 8 January 2016
My drug and alcohol career began in 1993
22 years until I hit my rock bottom!!!
My story then
It was 1990, I was ten years old and I was at a Guns and Roses concert at Wembley stadium, I remember vividly looking down from the stands above at the thousands of fans partying below, thinking to myself when i’m 18 that’s definitely going to be me and I couldn’t wait. The next morning I had for the first time in my life that strong reminiscing of the night before. Obsessing in my mind about it and how amazing it was.
Little did I know at that point that within 4 years I would be raving most weekends taking copious amounts of ecstasy.
I found a focus and excitement in these weekly raves that took me away from my unhappy 10 to early teen years. I found my group of friends who all had pretty similar backgrounds and upbringings and problems. We glued together and off our heads we went.
From 1993 I went through most of the drugs that were around apart from heroin.
My constant until the age of 21 and I can say my first real addiction was the gateway drug of weed and hash. I’ve come to realize now that through those years, apart from just wanting to get stoned all day every day, I also used it to deal with any negativity that was going on in my life.
At 21 I had the great idea that I would stop smoking weed. And I did. From one day to the next. However, now I can see this is because alcohol had started to come in to my life. I just replaced weed and other drugs with booze.
I also had a very severe taste for cocaine, I loved it from the first time I tried it when I was 16. And even that very first time I could not control the speed or amount I consumed. But for years I only did it every now and then.
I had a bad spell with coke for a year or so around 2005. And I then stopped.
Everything was fine for many years, with only the occasional drunken episodes,
These episodes became more and more and more frequent through the latter 2000’s.
I entered an industry and within the sector of that industry drinking is very acceptable. I loved it. However I didn’t have a good knowledge of the industry when I started so for some years I hid behind the social aspect that came with the job of drinking and lunches/dinners and also the work aspect of big deals. I learnt that field well and drank very heavily too.
I got married in 2007 and had a daughter in 2009. On these two occasions I promised myself that it was time to change. Those promises lasted until my next drink. As did all the other same promises to myself and my wife.
As my drunken events got more frequent and worse I found a way to control alcohol with something that I loved. Cocaine.
Coke crept back in subtly, occasionally and quietly and with deadly stealth.
By the time I hit my bottom my life was revolving around obtaining, consuming, hiding and recovering from drinking and using.
I just could not stop drinking and once I started drinking I then needed coke, and when I had the two of them which was almost always especially when I was in my home country I simply could not stop for days on end. In my final year I spent the whole of 2015 either at it or recovering. The second I felt better I carried on and started again. 3 days on 2 off, 4 days on 3 off 5 days on 4 off etc etc. I tried at times to use my will power not to have a drink that day but I would get triggers in so many different ways and moments of anxiety, excitement,anger,happiness,sadness to name a few could change my mindset from one second to the other and so it went on and on.
I was a husband, a father and had responsibilities at work.
Everyone knew I drank, some people knew about the coke, some did not whilst others suspected it.
What no one knew is the extent of which I was drinking and using alone in secrecy. The continual drinking from and hiding of bottles around my house, and endless calls to my dealer.
When I didn’t have coke to sober me up is when my drunken episodes got worse and worse.
I remember so clearly the times in my bed in another room in my house or a hotel room on a biz trip at 6 am having been functioning only on those two substances for days on end, so scared, exhausted, all alone and at times in tears. I was destroyed. I simply could not imagine stopping drinking and using and yet it was destroying everything about the true me and everyone I loved and who loved me.
Until the day I finally admitted my drug using, that was the day I asked for help as my drinking and sniffing was simply destroying everything that I was.
I was sick and tired of being sick and tired as we say. I had also started to come
to realize that I was drinking alcoholically
( at this very moment whilst writing this my daughter just came in to the garden and gave me a big hug for no reason, this is from my girl who at times would not come close to me because of who I had become)
I had become someone who’s values and
soul focus was drinking, using, clubbing yearly in Vegas and on holidays or business trips. A love for loud music, party animal on the surface, long lunches good restaurants big ego fed by the need to always want more of everything is what I had become. Yet I was a very scared and lonely sole on the inside not knowing how to get out of this circular hell. I got caught up in it all and it took over my life.
That is a glimpse of my story that was over twenty years in a few paragraphs. The space that I was living in is a very different one to my life today. Family comes first, I owe it all to them for their love and support. I really at times saw no way out, however there is and can be for anyone.
I had to get there alone, no one could have forced me and believe me people tried to help and offer support but until that day I asked for help nothing could be done for me.
Family-AA-structure-activities-excercise-work-travel/adventure and to find a way to help others in sobriety or those who are going through what I went through, are the keys that keep me happy and sober and clean today.
CONTACT ME FOR THE LOGISTICS OF BOOKING UP YOUR ONCE IN A LIFE TIME TRIP.
WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT WAY BACK WHEN, THAT THIS IS WHERE WE COULD BE RIGHT NOW.
DREAM BIG, TAKE ONE STEP FORWARD, AND THE REST WILL FOLLOW!