Throughout his time in former bands Attention Thieves and The Arusha Accord, singer-songwriter Alex Green went through battles with addiction leading to a heart attack at just the age of 27. Green’s issues were highlighted in Attention Thieves’ departing ‘Year Of The Jackal’ LP last year. Now he is back, broadening his horizons with his solo project, yet as he tell us, he is still battling against his problems.
Late last month, Alex stood in the same square in Piccadilly Circus, London for 24 hours to raise awareness of addiction and mental health. Alex was also raising awareness about Rehub, a new online recovery community which offers support to those with addiction and mental health issues. Time lapse footage from the grueling episode has been used for the video for Alex’s new single – ‘Travelled Far’. The track captures Green’s struggles complimented by folk-y instrumentation.
In light of Mental Health Awareness Week, we asked Alex for five pieces of advice on how to deal with addiction.
Overcoming addiction is not as black and white as the following five steps, addiction is an illness and each person’s best method may vary as people have different temperaments.
Some people need a harsher approach whilst others need an arm around the shoulder and may run at the first sign of an aggressive approach. I am still battling myself but what I can do is offer five things that have helped me to deal with addiction.
1. Find a support network, find a local AA group or seek CBT therapy.
I would suggest both but AA will be a group of people who are either battling the same addiction as you, or have overcome it and understand what you are going through. You can relate to them and you will support each other through your battle to get well. They will help put steps in place and a plan to follow, and most importantly you will not be alone – even if you relapse they will always welcome you back.
2. Ditch any “friends” who are not supportive of your desire to seek help and quit.
Some people may encourage you to drink/take drugs, or feel threatened personally by the fact you are looking to quit whilst they are still using. This may bring their denial to the forefront and you will often find these people urging you to “stop being a p***y” etc, but it’s your life on the line. Stick to positive influences however or whoever you have to cut out, once again it’s your life on the line.
3. Stay clear of pubs/bars…
or anywhere that may attract this behaviour initially, at least until you feel like you are strong enough to cope with not drinking/using whilst being in a familiar environment.
4. Replace your addiction with a positive addiction.
It’s not good to replace an addiction with another but most addicts have an addictive personality. Go to the gym, get a new hobby, join a club, play a sport do anything to replace the time you spent drinking/using with a positive activity/hobby that will give you a healthy buzz.
5. Don’t give up.
Beating an illness is never easy, you may have to battle it your whole life but do not ever give up on the fight. If you relapse, endure a tragic time or whatever it may be, never think you are back to square one. It is very common for people to relapse and for people to do so in bad times, it may knock you back BUT you are not where you were before, before you knew you needed help. Admitting you need help and acting upon it is half the battle won.
Further information on Mental Health Awareness Week can be found here.