Matt describes waking each day to: ‘feeling like I was going to be executed; a constant threat of something unknown and bad happening’
Matt was diagnosed autistic at the age of 43.
He led a ‘normal’ life up to this point – a successful career, two marriages, his own home etc. but only by consuming increasing quantities of alcohol on a daily basis to suppress the constant anxiety he had felt since childhood. Matt describes waking each day to: ‘feeling like I was going to be executed; a constant threat of something unknown and bad happening’.
Following the collapse of his marriage, loss of his job and severe damage to his health due to 25 years of alcoholism, Matt spent 16 months in rehabilitation in Northampton, during which time he discovered that the Autistic Spectrum provided the answer to many of his difficulties: ‘It felt like a joke: like someone had invented a list of behaviours that were me and given it a name!’
He attributes his ability to remain dry since, 2004, on a combination of the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy he received as part of the treatment for his alcoholism and equally on the relief that knowing that he has an Autistic Spectrum Condition has given him.
Matt has shared his experiences as a speaker on many training courses, appeared in a BBC TV program and contributed to autism publications nationwide. He felt that he wanted to give something back to those who helped him and hopefully provide some hope to those in similar situations and has written his experiences in a book, researching the link between Asperger Syndrome and alcoholism – 'Asperger Syndrome and Alcohol – Drinking to Cope?' (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2008) co-written with Sarah Hendrickx.
Matt became a father at the age of 55 years and now spends his time chasing his son around Brighton.