Recovering alcoholic takes Penticton Facebook group along on his journey to sobriety | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Recovering alcoholic takes Penticton Facebook group along on his journey to sobriety

Photos of Brad Britton before and after he quit drinking.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

After Brad Britton finished his junior hockey career as a Penticton Panther he became severely addicted to alcohol.

That was around 20 years ago, before the team changed its name back to the Vees.

“It was really hard, I just got into booze and lost everything,” he said.

Britton, who’s 44 now, would drink when he woke up in the morning and go to work drunk. It cost him his job at as a manager at a Penticton A&W. He lost his house, he could hardly afford to do anything other than drink, and his wife left him.

He remembers having a routine of walking to the liquor store at Yorkton Avenue and Skaha Lake Road everyday as soon as it opened.

“It was just boom back ’n’ forth,” he recalls.

“I wasted half my life.”

Around 10 years ago, Britton began working at a Dairy Queen in Chilliwack while he was still actively addicted to booze. He’s grateful for his bosses who gave him an ultimatum to seek treatment, which prompted him to finally do so.

READ MORE: Alcohol Addiction Information and Treatment in Penticton

These days, life is good for Britton, who’s been sober for nearly seven years. He’s in love, became a stepfather and also has two toddlers with his current partner. And he’s still employed at the same Dairy Queen as a supervisor.

The hardest part about getting to this point came within the first month of sobriety. Admitting that he has a problem and needed help was the single biggest hurdle to overcome.

After that, his body began suffering from withdrawal.

“It’s unbelievable. It felt like I was dying, my whole body was numb. I remember being in bed for a month.”

Britton became healthy again, but since none of his friends were practicing sobriety, he didn’t have much of a social life in the beginning.

“I couldn’t go anywhere.”

He still avoids places where alcohol is served, however he isn’t going to miss a good concert or hockey game just because beer’s on tap.

Britton’s story of overcoming severe addiction is a source of encouragement for the Penticton community.

He knows his battles are relatable and he likes to candidly write about them on a Penticton Facebook group. His posts discuss dangerous amounts of liquor consumed in a single sitting while accompanied by suicidal thoughts, gnarly injuries sustained during blackouts and his feelings of shame and desperation that were being caused by a substance he couldn’t stop abusing.

But no matter how deeply he faces his demons and regardless of all the harm caused, the temptation to have a drink continues to live with him. Making it to the next year of sobriety is a never-ending challenge.

READ MORE: B.C. Liquor Stores start rationing alcohol sales due to BCGEU strike

Thankfully there’s more pressure on Britton to stay healthy. He takes pride in his job, and he spends as much time as he can with children.

“I have kids now, I just look at them and I won’t pick up that bottle again.”

Also, through the Penticton group, the public is rooting for Britton at every milestone. His posts have gathered hundreds of reactions and comments over the years. He knows how many people in the community would be let down if he were to relapse, and he feels accountable to them, he said.

Image Credit: SUBMITTED

It goes both ways. While the community encourages his sobriety through the Facebook page, his posts also provide uplifting insights, he said.

Britton tries reaching out to people in dark places. He shares thoughtful posts for addicts who might be reading, to know they’re not alone and they don’t have to feel guilty.

While Britton’s not shy about sharing his story, he said his inbox is flooded by messages from locals who are going through their own struggles but who are not comfortable sharing them publicly.

“Alcohol can sure ruin a lot of lives,” he said.

Many of Brad Britton's posts relate to family matters.
Many of Brad Britton's posts relate to family matters.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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