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A man who started drinking at the age of just 14 and ended up knocking back a litre of vodka or gin every night has opened up about how he managed to ditch booze.
Paul Lock, 45, was still just a young teen when he first tried alcohol completely unaware about the long and harrowing journey it would lead him on.
From there it escalated until it got to the point Paul was drinking more than an entire litre of booze per night - sometimes starting at midday and not stopping until 6am.
Painter Paul said: "If I wasn't going out, I'd binge drink on my own at home.
"I didn't suffer from hangovers so there was no off switch.
"When I drank, I would typically only stop drinking when I ran out of money, the venue closed, I'd drunk all the alcohol I had or I was so drunk I could barely walk."
Drinking took its toll on Paul and left him with depression and anxiety - aged 28 Paul had a mental breakdown and was signed off work, unable to leave his home or face life outside.
Despite trying medication and therapy, Paul says neither worked, so he would go back to booze to numb his feelings.
"It was anxiety and depression," he said. "I couldn't leave the house for six weeks. I completely lost it.
"I had a panic attack in the past but this was different, I completely lost the plot. I couldn't face life outside the front door.
"Deep down I knew it was a problem, I knew I was going to kill myself."
But among all this, Paul he met his wife Emma Lock in 2005 and they had a daughter together in 2008.
And it was his young daughter that led to him wanting to make a change in 2010.
He said: "My daughter was two years old; I remember her walking in our bedroom in the morning as she did every morning with a huge smile on her face.
"It was about 7.30am. I looked at her and thought, where have I gone wrong?
"That's when it started to change."
Paul decided to go cold turkey and pack in drinking alcohol altogether - but it wasn't easy.
He said: "I felt like my head was going to explode, my mind would race so fast. I couldn't sleep, it was a little like torture, it felt manic in my mind."
In 2011, Paul decided to channel his energy into something else and took up painting, where he ended up becoming such a success that he was able to leave his job and become a full-time painter, with his pieces selling for as much as £15,000 ($20,000).
He also set up a programme helping prisoners who struggle with addiction issues, called 'Beyond Recovery'.
Paul said: "I feel at peace, I feel like I've found a home inside me. I've lived a lifetime, I can't believe I'm only 45.
"I just love seeing my daughter every day. I love my studio and I love my little life.
"If I hadn't gone through my journey and learnt about life, there was no way I would be able to paint.
"For me, it can be an emotional journey. Painting is like a metaphor for life, as you start with a blank canvas."
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