Andrew Ahmad-Cooke has spent most of his life as a musician and composer. Consequently he has also had many different occupations from laundry worker and record shop manager to spoken word producer, working with artists including Michael Palin, Terence Stamp and Dirk Bogarde. His most prolific time as a composer was the late nineties when he co-wrote and produced albums including One True Parker – “Will I Dream” and “The Howard Marks Project” with Nice and Idle. With his band Juttajaw, he ran the notorious ‘Dirty Cow’ parties and remixed artists including The Orb, Test Department, PIg and Ian Astbury. In 1997 he co-founded independent label Big Clever Records. After his retirement from the music industry in 2003, he ran a school for teenagers with challenging behaviour. He now works for a mental health charity and plays keyboards in local band The Warning Shadows. Andrew is currently sober and lives with his family in Cambridge. He has recently started writing a blog about his experiences of addiction: www.addict2016.wordpress.com

Parenthood – by Andrew Ahmad Cooke

“Parenthood remains the greatest single preserve of the amateur.” Alvin Toffler My daughter is everything to me. Smudge is now ten years old. Being her father has brought meaning to my life. Parenthood is a certain role in an uncertain universe. One of the most wonderful things about my recovery is the transformation of our relationship. We have always been very close but my behaviour in my descent into heavy addiction scared her at times, or should I say often. Towards the end she did not want to be left alone with me, whenever my wife did try to get out for an evening she would be tearfully begged not to go; once when she was on a day out in London with her mother, she didn’t even want to come home. The fear of not knowing what state they would find me in was becoming ingrained in both of… Continue reading

The Flip – By Andrew Ahmad Cooke

In the story of every addict there is a point when they stop using drugs or alcohol and the drugs or alcohol start to use them.  At some point the substance takes ownership of the new addict. One moment you are having fun using drugs, meeting new friends and exploring the possibilities ­­– the next you are addicted and life has become very, very different. You have become a slave to your addiction. This moment, however, is invariably impossible to identify. If we could have identified it, how many of us would have chosen addiction as a lifestyle? For the majority of people on the planet, drug or alcohol use does not lead to addiction. Some addicts are understandably bitter or jealous of people who can use alcohol or drugs without fear of addiction. I am very fortunate to feel myself free from this envy. I have certainly had more… Continue reading

Forgiveness – By Andrew Ahmad-Cooke

In recovery you are told to forgive yourself. To be kind to yourself.  To praise yourself for every day of your recovery.  I found this hard at the beginning and I still find it hard. Nearly every addict in recovery I have met started their journey filled with the same shame and self-loathing. Through their submission to the craving for a mind-altering substance they have taken their families and the people they love to the darkest of places. Trust, loyalty, dignity, health, compassion, honour, hope and truth have been destroyed and abandoned. It is beyond my understanding how forgiveness can be possible. People in love stay with addicted partners, and families continue to support addicted family members until pushed beyond endurance. Many relationships end in divorce, families disown. Lie after lie after lie causes people to lose their sense of reason and doubt their own sanity. Every time one more… Continue reading