Michaels' story

19th March 2012

Regular readers/ long-time sufferers will
already know that Bolton Bulls is in desperate need of your donations and
support or they may not be a team very much longer. In the world of social
media where every man and his dog is desperate for a retweet from their
favourite celebrity and everyone has some worthy cause or other that needs your
hard earned, I can understand why you, dear reader, would ask yourselves “Why
should I part with money for Bolton Bulls?”  Give me a few
minutes of your time, and let me tell you my story. I’m Michael and I’m still
rather new to this wheelchair basketball malarky, having been
training/occasional sub for just over a year (if you haven’t already you can
read my player profile here) but in that time
Bolton Bulls has become an incredibly important part of my life. Why? Well, to
put it bluntly, they probably saved my life.  Michael Prior to taking up
wheelchair basketball I’d spent all of 2009 being stuck in a very deep &
miserable rut because I’d broken up with my long-time girlfriend at the end of
2008. There wasn’t a day went by were I didn’t contemplate suicide. I
self-harmed, I wouldn’t eat for days at a time, I felt worthless and
weak.  Alcohol, almost
inevitably became part of the misery process, and whilst those around me
wouldn’t have seen or known that I was drinking heavily (I rarely drank other
than weekends) but when I did, I so to excess; I’d open a bottle of Jack
Daniels and wouldn’t stop until it was finished. I couldn’t drink socially
anymore, I either didn’t drink or I got drunk to the point of passing out;
there was no middle “happy drunk” ground. So often you’ll hear folk opine “I
drink to forget” I can tell you, it didn’t help me forget. It made the misery
look like a mountain that can never be conquered.  I gave up
completely, I stopped leaving the house (still to this day I dislike leaving
the house, and I’m uncomfortable crowded places or unfamiliar situations) and
if I bothered to get out of bed it would be just to smoke a joint and feel
sorry myself. (Yup, I took up drugs as well. I was a real winner as you can
tell.) About three weeks
before I went to my first Bolton Bulls training session I ended up in A&E
with muscle spasms in my right knee so severe that they rendered me completely
immobile. Being allergic to pretty much all the more powerful painkillers the doctor
prescribed me Diazepam. This had the unfortunate side effect of making me
dizzy, disorientated, angry, and more miserable than I’d ever been. Essentially
it became a choice between being in so much pain I couldn’t move or not knowing
what day it was and sobbing uncontrollably for no reason whatsoever.  I was broken. Rock
bottom. I’ve always being stubbornly independent and HATED  the idea that
the rest of my life would be spent relying on someone else to get through my
day-to-day life.  Then, one day perusing
through my twitter I saw a retweet from comedian Justin Moorhouse; advertising
a training session for the Bolton Bulls. Anyone welcome. I was still in
incredible pain, but I had to do something. It would either make me or break
me.  I went along..... So what now?  Next month will
mark a year that I have been clean, sober, Straight Edge. Bolton Bulls has been
the biggest part of that. They are my reason not to smoke, not to drink, and
not to do drugs. They’re the reason that I look at my future positively, and
when I’m not feeling positive a tough training session & a set of pyramids
sort that out.  It has been
incredibly difficult to be this honest and type this out. Most of the
information contained within it, even my closest friends and family are not
aware of. But I share it with you all publicly so that you can see reasons why
Bolton Bulls mean so much, and why it is important that they remain there, not
just for me, but for other people like me who just need a positive outlet to
help turn their life around. So, please if you can help, donate on the Bolton
Bulls Just Giving page & let’s spread the message on the
various social networks too. Together we can keep the Bulls rolling; if I’ve
learnt anything this last few years it’s to never, ever, give up. Thanks for
reading. Let’s go bulls!! Michael #8

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Smithills Sports Centre,
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