‘As a schoolboy already caught up in addiction, I stood outside of a McDonalds waiting for a man I thought was my friend. A friend I met online. It would change my life forever. I was a streetwise kid growing up in a tough housing scheme. But the Internet was a new phenomenon.
Euphoric Recall details my recovery from extreme trauma and addiction. As a Scottish working-class lad who grew up in a new town—Livingston—I survived brutal experiences with suicide, violence and severe mental health issues. One day, I decided to write a memoir about it all. I hold nothing back.’ Aidan Martin, author of Euphoric Recall
I love books and I have always been a prolific reader. I disappear into another world when I am reading fiction, and I learn a great deal from reading non-fiction. Fortunately, I am a fast reader. Despite my fast reading, I rarely read a book in one sitting. But I did so recently when I picked up Aidan Martin’s first book Euphoric Recall. I just couldn’t put the book down, apart from when I had to visit the loo.
In my last blog post, Learning From the Experts, I talked about the importance of listening to the stories of people in recovery. I not only learnt about the process of recovery, but also about the nature of addiction… and the factors that can lead to person being addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. It’s also good to be reminded of the harsh reality of life for many people who go on to develop such an addiction.
Aidan’s book certainly has great value in this regard, along with showing that even people who experience the harshest of lives can overcome their addiction and the problems that preceded this addiction, and go on to live a healthy, productive and meaningful life, as well as help others overcome their problems.
I strongly recommend you read Aidan’s book. It’s an incredible read into the depths of despair—the level of adversity that Aidan faces is incredible—and into understanding his inspirational process of change.
Aidan is now husband to his beautiful wife and a proud father of three gorgeous children. He previously worked in mental health and addictions, gained an Honours Degree in Social Sciences: with Criminology and Sociology in 2017, and obtained an MSc in Social Work in 2021.
As a grateful recovering addict, Aidan is heavily involved in the recovery scene. He works freelance as a trauma trainer and public speaker and is a campaigner and activist pertaining the drugs-related-death crisis in Scotland. His second book is currently in submission—an autofiction around lad culture within the trance scene of the early noughties— and is called ‘Forever Young.’ He received an award from Authors’ Foundation and K Blundell Trust towards the completion of this book.
Here is a short review of Aidan’s book, from someone who I hold in my highest regard.
‘A truly essential read for those interested in lived experiences-and not just statistics.’ Darren ‘Loki’ McGarvey, author of Poverty Safari and The Social Distance Between Us: How Remote Politics Wrecked Britain
Here are some examples of Aidan’s powerful writing (my titles):
Withdrawal in Addiction
‘Comedowns didn’t happen gradually on uppers. I went from feeling instantly high to crashing down as though I had fallen from a skyscraper. To feel so high and then experienced extreme waves of depression caused a drug-induced psychosis. The suicidal tendencies kept thundering back. My brain couldn’t handle it. I went from feeling that life was limitless to feeling like the world was a black, hopeless pit of despair. This gives insight into why addicts take more and more to keep their high alive and stave off that terrifying darkness they know is on the way. This would become my experience with all uppers. Emotional despair wasn’t the only enemy on this occasion though…
Pink Cloud ‘Recovery’
‘I listened to people sharing their experiences and threw myself into doing the same. Naively I began carrying myself as if I was cured. I wanted to sound good in front of other addicts who are clean. Trying to impress, I picked up on the terminology and lingo and said all the right things. I ended up on what we call a pink cloud in the recovery scene—a false sense of security and happiness, not much different from my first good hit on substances, ironically.
Pink clouds don’t last long. Rachel ended our relationship after I had sucked the life and soul out of her through my drug abuse. Broken-hearted and beleaguered, I had no coping tools for the severe feelings of rejection.’
Reflections on Addiction
‘The disease of addiction is a dis-ease of self. I identified with every person who shared feelings of alienation in society. A sheer inner loneliness and lack of self-worth or self-esteem. I related to that ‘hole in my soul’ which I continuously attempted to fill with sex and substances. I related to it all.
Spirituality malady. Not feeling comfortable in my own skin. Self-loathing. Self-defeating thought patterns. Obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviours. With each feeling, pattern or behaviour discussed my eyes widened with identification. “How have I never taken any of this in before?” I asked myself in disbelief. Well it was simple denial and self-delusion combined with the selfish, self-centred nature of active addiction meant I never became accountable for my using. At that point I was also starting to understand societal reasons for addiction through my studies too. All those years I had no awareness of what I truly suffered from. I wasn’t a unique case after all, nor was I crazy.
Addiction was an odious illness far more powerful than I was, rather than a moral failing of character. I had spent my life feeding my addictions instead of learning healthy coping methods and finding constructive solutions. I hadn’t grown up or faced any of my feelings in life. My answer to everything had been sex or substances. No longer was I willing to live that way. That mattress wasn’t going to be my future.’
‘Fear doesn’t consume me anymore. Instead of being emotionally shut down, crippled by feelings of worthlessness and despair, I am thriving, developing and growing. I have learned how to love and be loved, how to help and be helped. I’m just a guy who found recovery and was shown the way out of addiction. For me it will always be a lifelong programme of maintenance.
I could not have done this on my own. I credit my Higher Power for saving me and my recovery network with keeping me well. I also must credit my family for never giving up on me. To Sam and my kids for loving me in ways I never knew possible. And to my mum. The strongest human being I have ever known in my life…’
Artist Mark Dean, a life-long friend of Aidan’s, is the creator of the cover art, an ink drawing on paper created specifically for this book.