Londonderry man who was on brink of death with alcohol addiction turns life around

A Londonderry man who was on the brink of death with his alcohol addiction has turned his life around.

Cathal Doherty received palliative care and had a 'do not resuscitate' notice against his name after years struggling with his alcohol addiction.

"According to the doctor, I was the sickest patient he's ever treated that didn't die," Cathal Doherty told UTV.

"I think it was 13 weeks in hospital and several weeks of them were in ICU and palliative care."

Cathal's drinking habit started at the age of around 15 or 16. It was at its worst when he was working in London, drinking a bottle of vodka every single day.

He then moved back home to Northern Ireland where he went into rehab for three months, but seven years later he received palliative care.

"I never thought about death, maybe because the doctors, the people around me never mentioned it. I think that was a key part to making me mentally strong," Cathal said.

Cathal had to learn to walk again, and after coming out of hospital started training with the encouragement of his cousin Oisin Quinn who runs Quinn's Strength in Greysteel.

"After I came out of hospital, at maybe the start of February, he messaged me and said come and train in the gym," explained Cathal.

"He personal trained me for months, three or four days a week, took time out and getting that routine and structure was paramount," Cathal explained.

Cathal bench pressing 100kg on the first year anniversary of being sober.

Cathal also received help from ARC Fitness an additional recovery coaching programme based in Derry.

It is lottery funded and has helped over 600 people in the North West, with many more on a waiting list for treatment.

The programme is run by Gary Rutherford, himself an addict for 15 years.

"We need alternative approaches to recovery and for some, fitness is an important part of that and Cathal really took to it really early on," Gary said.

"Now we support loads of people with physical activity being one of the fundamental building blocks for recovery."

  • WATCH: Gary Rutherford from ARC Fitness speaking to UTV:

By speaking out, Cathal wants to show that anyone struggling can conquer their addiction.

"It's a disease. It is very powerful and the awareness even for people to question, have a look at their own drinking if they are maybe drinking a couple of nights a week, a few glasses of wine here and there.

"You're only one drink away from going down that hole and the power of going down that hole - it's nearly impossible to get out at times - that's how it feels because it is so controlling."

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