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British Musician and Songwriter, Peter W, Overcomes Addiction.

After writing Discover your strength in the 9 of swords, I was so excited when Peter contacted me! Here is a man that is really making a huge difference with his inner strength. So this is not the norm of posts found on The Winning Wish, but it’s definitely a Winning Wish come true. This British, Cape Town based musician has made a huge impact on so many lives and continues to work his magic with his wife, Freda. This is how British Musician and Songwriter, Peter W, Overcomes Addiction. The wish to overcome an addiction is most intense wish an addict could ever face…

British Musician and Songwriter, Peter W, Overcomes Addiction

British Musician and Songwriter, Peter W, Overcomes Addiction

Born in London, England in 1961, I have been a musical performer/ singer/songwriter. I have worked with many bands on various projects. Today I have three grown up children and 2 beautiful grandchildren. However, I am also a recovering addict and alcoholic.

My mother gave me up for adoption at birth as she was not in a position to keep me. She was a traveling musician and already had four children whom she struggled to look after.

I met my birth mother, two brothers and two sisters when I was 35 years old. It surprised and delighted me to hear that they were also all musicians.

I recall mother sharing that she used a coat hanger to attempt to abort me. That is what mothers did with unwanted pregnancies back in those days. This was a shock to me, but in her own words she said “I was a stubborn little bugger and I just wouldn’t come out!” By all accounts, she was not a very nice person and after meeting her twice I never saw her again. My birth father had died young so I never knew him at all.

I recall mother sharing that she used a coat hanger to attempt to abort me.

My strict childhood with my adoptive parents and somewhat verbally and mentally abusive. I was constantly told how naughty I was and often given a smacking or a belting when I did not follow their strict home regime.

British Musician and Songwriter, Peter W, Overcomes Addiction.
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My dad was an extremely religious Jew and he wanted me to be the same. I found it hard to understand and keep up with all the extra religious classes I had to attend well into my teen years. I attended a religious school where I received plenty of punishments for my non-conformity. Even so, I was a clever student and obtained good results.

The applause and adulation of the cheering crowds I received on stage was wonderful.

I discovered whisky and wine in my mid-teens and they immediately became my best friends. Alcohol gave me confidence. It helped me to blank out all the emotional difficulties I was experiencing at the time. I was drinking alcoholically from the word go.

I had started classical piano lessons at age four. At age 18 / 19 or so, I was well developed in my musical expression and already earning a living playing music at various functions and clubs. I chose not to further my studies at university.

My popularity grew over the 70s and 80s on the music, performance and studio circuits in the U.K. and Europe. By now I had also discovered marijuana. I now had a place of fantasy where I could hide away from the real world. Often I could just fade off into oblivion when life’s stresses became too hard for me to bear.

Little did I know that my best friends, booze and weed, were soon to become my worst enemies.

British Musician and Songwriter, Peter W, Overcomes AddictionMy dad was an extremely religious Jew and he wanted me to be the same.

By the time I was in my 20’s I really did not believe in all the religious stuff, but endured it to please my parents. I was excelling in music and earning good money playing gigs with different bands all over the country. But I always had this nagging feeling that I was a failure, as I had not lived up to my parents expectations.

I constantly wanted to impress my parents with my musical abilities, but my father had no interest. He was a suit and tie businessman and ran a family company with his 2 brothers and nephew. It was his ambition for me to eventually take over this business…but both he and I saw that was never going to happen. I continued to bury my feelings of worthlessness, but I was becoming an angry and difficult young man.

I got married aged 26 and by the time I was in my early 30’s I had three young children. My habits were making fatherhood difficult for me. My wife also had personality disorders and our lives together became rather problematical. Even though we had loved each other at first, things were not working out as we both imagined they would.
My escape was music – as well as the drugs.

I was fronting my own bands, playing and singing at big venues now to thousands of people, having a great time and making good money. But my private and personal life was beginning to suffer.

With the travelling musical lifestyle I found it hard to resist the perks of drink and drugs… Especially the alcohol, which I found gave me that extra courage to get up on stage and do what I had to do.

British Musician and Songwriter, Peter W, Overcomes Addiction

However, I was suffering more and more with hangovers. On comedowns on the days after gigs, I found myself drinking without really wanting to. It had become a habit, perhaps an addiction? My family and friends certainly knew I had a problem but I refused to admit it.

During these times I indulged heavily in marijuana, and I was often absent from my family both physically and emotionally.

Without going into too much detail, I would say that my lifestyle negatively affected my children. I could never really be the father I wanted to be. I was not abusive to them but I was simply not there for them to nurture and guide them in a proper manner.

My marriage ended in divorce in the late 1990’s. The court case was stressful, long and drawn out. There was a time when I truly thought I would never be able to see my children again.

As a youngster my adoptive parents had not been able to give me proper emotional nurturing and this had left a gaping hole inside of me, which I unknowingly had been trying to fill with alcohol and drugs.

I have music in my blood.

The applause and adulation of the cheering crowds I received on stage was wonderful, however this great boost to my ego could never be a substitute for a mother’s love.

My parents were hard, actually impossible to please and I had felt as if I were a disappointment to them throughout my life. I was always left with the feeling of failure in my father’s eyes and having let him down. He never missed an opportunity to tell me how difficult and useless I was, and I always felt like an embarrassment to him. I had terribly low self-esteem as a result of this.

The “fix” that I got from alcohol or dope and playing on stage was always temporary and always followed by bigger and bigger “come-downs”As the years went by I became quite sick, both mentally and physically. Since I had given up all forms of religious involvement, I became spiritually bankrupt. I felt myself gradually falling into depression. I had been fortunate to have been successful in my musical ventures over the years, but I was still feeling unfulfilled as a human being. There had to be another way.

Philosophy and psychotherapy had always interested me. I had read many well-known books on these subjects. It was around this time, at age 35, that I decided that I wanted to learn more about counseling and psychoanalysis. I wanted to specialize in addictions, as it was a subject that had affected me and also fascinated me. So many people have addictive natures and addiction presents itself in many different guises.

British Musician and Songwriter, Peter W, Overcomes Addiction

It usually develops in a person due to one of or a combination of:

  • Genetic propensity,
  • Environmental circumstances,
  • Lack of proper childhood nurturing,
  • Low self-esteem or general life stresses and fears.

So… Finally, I made a decision to address my problems head on and went into a treatment center for a month to learn how to combat my addictions. I have to say that it did not work immediately at first but it set me on the right path.

I then studied for three years in London and qualified as a psychotherapist/counselor in the late 1990s. I began working at various institutions in and around London. One of the requirements of being a therapist/counselor was that I had to be in treatment myself. It was a fascinating eyeopening experience. Exploring my past, ridding myself of my inner demons and discovering who I really was.

“Why on earth do you think it’s your duty to please your parents?”

It was one single sentence that one counselor said to me when I was in treatment that was to change my life. When I told him my inability to please my parents made me feel bad, he simply said, “Why on earth do you think it’s your duty to please your parents?” This came as a shock to me. I had never really thought that way. This was my life. It entitled me to do as I pleased, as long as I knew the difference between right and wrong.

To combat my addictions, I have been to five treatment centers and rehabs over the years. It took a while before I eventually cleaned up totally from drink and drugs.

I now know that being clean and sober is not just about abstaining from drink or drugs. Sobriety requires an essential change of mindset, thinking patterns and behavior.

I studied further to become a specialist addictions counselor. I worked for a few years in various institutions in and around London.

South Africa

British Musician and Songwriter, Peter W, Overcomes Addiction

British Musician and Songwriter, Peter W, Overcomes Addiction

My new girlfriend, (now my wife) Freda and I eventually moved down to South Africa  in 2007. I felt the need to help others who were suffering as I had – and I found this fulfilling work.

I continue to work with drug addicts of all ages, colors, creeds, races and religions in South Africa. I have given talks in treatment centers and written many songs related to the trauma of addiction.

After years of struggling I have finally found what I believe to be my true calling. I have lost friends and acquaintances during my journey with alcoholism and addiction. I consider myself lucky to still be alive. It is not a curable condition, but there are definitely ways to recover.
I have recently opened up my own practice in Cape Town. It is a gift for me to be able to offer help to others through sharing my own experiences. Addiction takes many forms and is rife throughout the world.

There is only one reason to be alive…and that is to help others in need.

Most people are struggling simply to survive in their daily lives. Many succumb to mental disorders due to the general stresses and anxieties they experience. Addiction is only one of these. Personally I try to accept life on life’s terms on a daily basis. I can now deal with the challenges placed in front of me without having to take a drink or drug. Since my recovery I have good relationships

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with all my children. My mother, who is now 94 years of age, Skypes me regularly as well as often chatting with me on the phone. My father passed away aged 93, 13 years ago.

I still play and write music, but now it is not to get attention or admiration from others, it is simply because I have music in my blood. I can truly say that I am deeply in love and I have a wonderful connection with my wife Freda, as we are both of the same mindset. There is only one reason to be alive…and that is to help others in need.

I trust that Peter’s story will touch and affect many. If you should wish to contact Peter, do feel free to Facebook him as he would love to hear from you.

If you feel you have a story to help escape circumstances and grant magic wishes, please do leave a comment or contact me as I would love to share your story. However, if you feel you need guidance or assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact me! After all, I am here for you.

Blessed Be,

The Winning Wish

2 thoughts on “British Musician and Songwriter, Peter W, Overcomes Addiction.

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