A hopeless alcoholic was so shocked when he saw a picture of himself that he decided to start sobering up.
Gene Davies could barely recognise himself when staring at a selfie of a man with two black eyes, bloated face and blood-matted hair.
The 47-year-old from Cwmaman, Wales, struggled with alcoholism for decades and heavy drinking cost him several jobs, relationships and his marriage.
While the incident which led to the picture being taken could have killed him, it instead ended up turning his life around, Wales Online reports.
"The ironic thing is I'd actually already started going to see a counsellor by that point, but still decided to have a few glasses of wine on the night that it happened," says Gene.
"That said, given how much I normally drank – a bottle and a half of whisky a day at one stage – a few glasses of wine was a mere hors d'oeuvre for me."
Having been asked to leave the family home due to his alcoholism, Gene had found himself having to stay round a friend's house at the time.
"I was given the spare room, which had a bunk bed in it, and I must have sunk into a heavy sleep," he adds.
"But when I awoke in the night needing a pee I quite forgot I was six foot up and dropped like a stone to the floor, taking out a chest of drawers with my head on the way down.
"I wasn't knocked out – the drawers were totalled, mind – and staggered to the bathroom to see the mess I'd made of myself and whether or not I could get away with just wrapping it in a tea towel and going back to bed.
"But, when I saw the blood, lifted up my hair and a big flap of skin came with it, I realised I'd partially scalped myself and could actually see my skull.
"I remember thinking, 'Nope, it's the hospital for you, pal'."
Staring at that selfie, he finally decided to shake his addiction.
"I've not touched a drop since – that was 18 months ago," he smiles.
"I now work washing pots and preparing veg in a local Indian restaurant – basic stuff but there's no stress, just the way I like it.
"Now Joe is my rock and my number one fan and he helps me keep it together.
"As for all those lost years? I'm a bit 'Edith Piaf' about it all – 'I regret nothing' and all that – because, had I not gone down that route I wouldn't have ended up meeting Vick, with whom I'm still friends, and I wouldn't have had my boy.
"Now it's all about focusing on him and being a good dad.
"It's been a long time since I felt like myself again, and I'm loving it."
Gene's first introduction to alcohol had come, in his early teens, playing drums in a band called Silent Runner.
"I'm not blaming rock and roll – I was a willing participant," he laughs. "But it was definitely where my drink problem started.
"We were only about 14 or 15 at the time and already playing pubs and workingmen's clubs. And this was the Valleys in the '80s, by the way.
"It was easy to get served if you were underage back then – lots of blind eyes were turned if we wanted to grab a crafty flagon of lager."
After that he says he spent most of his time off-stage living up to the rock drummer image.
"I was forever being the showman, trying to make people laugh, and my boozing increased exponentially," says Gene, who, after being thrown out of university in Bath for non-attendance, started making his way through a series of odd jobs – from most of which he ended up being fired.
"I started out washing dishes in an old folks' home and fell into catering, the stress of which made me drink more.
"I'd be sneaking in cans and disappearing down the pub during my breaks to throw more pints down my neck."
Moving back to Wales in 2003, Gene continued to drink, trying to hide the problem from his worried parents.
The lowest point probably came one New Year's Eve, when me and the rest of the band I was in at the time went to this pub run by an Irish guy we knew," he says.
"While we were in there someone spilled their beer and I decided to take a straw, get down on my knees and suck the remnants of it from the dirtiest, mankiest pub carpet you've every seen.
"And this was despite already having a full pint waiting for me on the bar.
"Isn't that the most disgusting thing you've ever heard?"
He met his future wife Vicky at a mutual friend's party in 2010 and they had a son called Joe in 2015.
"I drunkenly went up to her and slurred, 'I like you' and that apparently worked," Gene says.
"I wanted to knock alcohol on the head then, but despite cutting down I just couldn't give it up altogether.
"I became a nasty drunk – not in the physical sense, just a sharp tongue – and that contributed to my marriage eventually breaking down."
Source: Read Full Article