DDN Magazine July 2023 DDN July_2023 | Page 12



Drinking can become a way of life . But it ’ s nobody else ’ s business if it does , says Raymond Bond was very young when I started drinking . I ’ m sixty-three now , so that ’ s a long time .
My childhood was okay .
I grew up in Greenwich with my parents and seven siblings . Then my mum and dad died when I was still young , and social services suggested we go into care . But my older sister and her husband decided to look after the younger ones .
I didn ’ t do any exams . I just left school at about sixteen and found a job in a factory – packing and assembling – which I did for just over ten years . I met a guy at work , and we started drinking together . We used to go to the pub on Fridays after work . Then we took turns visiting each other ’ s houses at the weekends .
After that , we moved in together , and drinking became a lifestyle . We drank every day , working during the day and drinking in the evenings . I never felt it was a problem . We drank anything and everything , beers , spirits , wines – you name it .
After ten years at the factory , I told the boss where to go and left , as I ’ d had enough . After that , I drank day and night as I had nothing to do and nowhere to go . The drinking just got worse . I was signing on , so I had money to buy alcohol . I did that for a long time .
Then as we got older , my friend had a hip operation which didn ’ t go so well . He came out of hospital , and a few months later I went upstairs to take him a cup of tea one morning and couldn ’ t wake him . So , I had to call the ambulance and the police . He ’ d died in his sleep .
After he died it was pretty lonely , and a social worker got involved as I wasn ’ t looking after myself properly . I was in my late thirties to early forties then . I ’ d never learned to cook or do anything and was just drinking . When he died , I didn ’ t have anyone to drink or do anything with , and life became a bit difficult . So , I went into a home and there , I could drink moderately . Then I went from there to another home before I was sent to Aspinden Care Home ( ACH ).
Since I ’ ve been at ACH , they ’ ve put me on a programme to cut my drinking down . So , I cut way down .
‘ I ’ m ok with my life ... Sometimes the staff talk to me about whether I want to cut down on my drinking even more , but right now , I want to continue as I am .’
It was difficult at first , but I ’ ve gotten used to it . I stick to my allowance most of the time , but sometimes if I have money , I go down to the shop and get a can .
My life is okay . I haven ’ t thought of what a good life would be . I just take life as it comes . Most of the time , I just stay in , but I sometimes go to the park with the staff or join in the activities they have .
I like living at ACH . I see the doctor regularly , and the nurse . The staff here are quite helpful . If I have any troubles , I go to them , and they help me . They help with letters , forms , benefits , my banking , and everything . I get all my meals cooked , but I don ’ t always eat as I am fine with one or two meals per day . But food is here when I need it .
Sometimes there are trips to the seaside or amusement parks , and I go to those . There are also things to take part in during the week like board games , which I join in with , or sometimes celebrations for different things . As for my family , one of my brothers came here once when I moved in , but I don ’ t know where my other siblings are . We sort of all went our separate ways , so they haven ’ t been in touch .
I ’ m ok with my life , and I want to stay here for the rest of my life . I have no other plans for the future . I have my drink when I ’ m allowed , and otherwise , everything is ok . Sometimes the staff talk to me about whether I want to cut down on my drinking even more , but right now , I want to continue as I am . It ’ s my life , and what I do with it is my business .