The word 'addiction' usually conjures up images of desperate people unable to cope with
life. The word 'recovery' has a glowing image of hope & love. My name is Christian Castell, a
recovered alcoholic of 20 years. Six years ago I had an accident which meant a three month
period in bed. I was presented with a guitar to ease my boredom and what followed is a life
Addiction is not necessarily a bad thing. It's what we are addicted to which defines who we
are. In my opinion, we all have addictions to lesser & greater degrees. For some it is
unfortunately mind altering substances which, at the time, seem like they are helping us
cope with insecurity, self doubt & generally a fairly low self esteem.
I have learnt that Music and the ability to 'pen' my fears, thoughts, emotions into melodic
prose have given me an opportunity to help others who struggle with recovery. Recently, I
presented a selection of songs which I have recorded & perform professionally, to the
residents at the RAMOT rehabilitation facility in Cape Town South Africa, Prospect Hill& RAEL in Rawsonville. For 20 years I have had a desire to help others who suffer and at last I
have found a way.
I was binge drinking at boarding school by the age of 15 and pretty rapidly I was nailing 300
beers per month and social drinking on top of that. Life was spiralling out of control. From
being the life & soul at a party I had become the arse hole. Blaming my parents hateful
divorce for my drinking or any other 'pity party' was not going to aid my insane existence.
I realised at the age of 29 that life was no longer a party & that my marriage, business and
everything that was truly dear to me was in jeopardy. I phoned AA on a Sunday evening
after crumbling to my knees in a bottomless pit of guilt & attended my first meeting the
next day. I never drank again.
Staying sober is a lifestyle. Life will have the same challenges; life won't become a rosy bowl
of cherries. Hardships that followed are numerous and very personal, but honesty is one of the key ingredients to long term recovery.
My wife left me for another man after six years off the juice. I had changed and she said, "I
don't love you anymore." I felt betrayed. Next was cancer. Early treatment put me in full
remission to this day fifteen years later. Three back operations with a spinal fusion followed,
with a serious foot injury seven years ago. Now, as I type, I am forced to sell my farm
because of financial reasons. But, I have remained sober through it all.
My second wife of 14 years is Bipolar1 and my son has learning difficulties. I could say that
life is not fair, but I realise that I am one of the most fortunate individuals to walk this
beautiful planet. Gratitude is a powerful tonic.
I was given a guitar after my last accident and my life changed even more. I learnt to play,
wrote my feelings from the past, memories of London where I was raised, and penned
opinions about religion, love, pain and wrote my healing, favourite song."Let It Go"
The musical journey has given me this opportunity to connect with thousands of other
recovering addicts all over the world. This song Apocalypse hints about the AA way of life.