A father who used to drink a liter of vodka or gin a night has revealed how he gave up alcohol to become an artist – and now sells his work for £ 15,000 apiece.
Paul Lock, 45, of Surrey, had his first taste of alcohol at the age of 14, which resulted in years of drinking problems, as well as depression and anxiety.
From the age of 18, Paul drank excessive alcohol up to four times a week – and only stopped when he ran out of money.
Paul Lock, 45, had his first taste of alcohol at the age of 14, which resulted in years of drinking problems as well as depression and anxiety. He is pictured in 2004
From the age of 18, Paul drank excessive alcohol up to four times a week – and only stopped when he ran out of money. He is pictured in 2006 and now on the left
At the age of 28, the father had his first nervous breakdown and was fired from work. He couldn’t leave the house or face life “on the doorstep” for weeks, but now he’s completely sober. He is pictured with his wife and daughter
Some days Paul would hit the bottle from noon until 6 a.m. the next morning.
“If I didn’t go out, I’d have a drink at home alone,” Paul said.
“I didn’t have a hangover, so there was no off switch.
“When I drank, I usually didn’t stop drinking until I ran out of money, the venue was closed, I’d drank all the booze, or got so drunk I could barely walk.”
Drinking took a toll on Paul in 2000.
At the age of 28, the father had his first nervous breakdown and was fired from work. He could not leave the house for weeks or face life “on the doorstep”.
At the age of 35, Paul went cold and stopped drinking altogether. Quitting alcohol was a challenge as the father’s head constantly felt like it was going to explode. He is pictured in 2006
Paul is pictured with wife Emma in 2004, a year before their wedding. He credits her for helping her through her darkest days
He tried therapy and medication, but nothing worked – so he kept turning to the bottle to numb his emotions.
Unfortunately, a job in sales also enabled the drinking habit, as Paul often took customers out for drinks to do business.
Once he was so drunk that he locked himself out of his hotel room naked and had to rush to the stairwell to hide before security came and saved him.
“I sometimes wonder how I escaped an earth without some pretty bad things happening.
Paul is pictured with his best friend Richard, who stopped drinking with him. Some days Paul would hit the bottle from noon until 6 a.m. the next morning
Paul’s paintings show many famous faces, including Muhammad Ali (pictured), whom he uses as a base for his anxiety and depression
“I remember an opportunity in my late twenties after being out with some work colleagues. I was so drunk I fell asleep in a doorway in Covent Garden and woke up at 6:30 a.m. I was pretty shocked that I did that.
On a business trip while staying at a hotel, it was 6 a.m. and I hadn’t been in bed long. I got up to go to the bathroom, but went through the wrong door, it closed behind me and I realized it wasn’t me. Not in the bathroom – it was in the hotel hallway, and my room door had closed behind me.
“I was locked out and completely naked.”
I was scared and depressed. I couldn’t leave the house for six weeks. I lost it completely.
Paul Lock in the Noho Showrooms gallery in 2019. From the age of 18, Paul drank alcohol up to four times a week – only when he ran out of money
At the age of 28, the father had his first nervous breakdown and was fired from work. He couldn’t leave the house for weeks or face life “on the doorstep”, but now he has a successful painting business. He is pictured in his gallery with his wife Emma
“I’ve had a panic attack in the past, but that was different. I lost the plot completely. I couldn’t face life on my doorstep.
I was worried all along and didn’t know what to do with myself.
“Deep down, I knew it was a problem, I knew I was going to kill myself.”
Paul married his wife Emma Lock in 2005 and they had a daughter, Jessica, together in 2008.
The father praises his wife for being his rock and for giving him unconditional love in his darkest days.
At the age of 35, Paul went cold and stopped drinking altogether. Quitting alcohol was a challenge as the father’s head constantly felt like it was going to explode. He is pictured with his wife and daughter
In 2011, the father found a healthier way to deal with his mental health problems by painting. He is pictured in 2004
He said, “My wife is the most amazing person, she just gave me all of her unconditional love.
“I think it wasn’t all bad, I would be the life and soul of a party too, making everyone else over-drinking and having fun.
She was really the only one who saw my darker side and my personal pain.
“I never liked being told what to do, so she knew she couldn’t change me. She knew I had to see it in my own time.” In 2010, the father had a moment of clarity when he looked his daughter in the eye.
Paul said, “My daughter was two years old, I remember going into our bedroom in the morning as she did every morning with a huge smile on her face.
The father, who used to drink a liter of vodka or gin a night, has revealed how he gave up alcohol to become an artist – and now sells his work for £ 15,000 apiece, in which people like The Queen (left) and Jimi Hendrix (left) are shown right (
‘It was about 7:30 a.m. I looked at her and thought where was I wrong?
“Then it started to change.
“At that moment, I knew for myself, for her, that I would rather need mental support in a mental hospital than keep doing what I did with drinking.”
At the age of 35, Paul went cold and stopped drinking altogether. Quitting alcohol was a challenge as the father’s head constantly felt like it was going to explode.
The father of one child also had a strong craving for sugar during the day.
He said, “I felt like my head was going to explode, my mind was racing so fast.
“I couldn’t sleep, it was a bit like torture, it felt manic in my head. Going to work was the only time my mind calmed down, it was like a distraction.
Paul Lock stands next to his painting ‘Regina’ – of Queen Elizabeth I – one of many that he has painted with famous faces
“I was scared, but then I always felt pretty scared so I was used to it.
“I remember going to a London rooftop bar in the middle of Green Park soon after I stopped drinking.
“I must have walked past the bar 20 times before I had the courage to go in because I knew I would go in to order water.”
In 2011, the father found a healthier way to deal with his mental health problems by painting.
Paul was so successful in his hobby that he turned it into a full-time job in 2014 – he sold his art for up to £ 15,000 apiece.
He has also set up a program called Beyond Recovery to help prisoners struggling with addiction problems.
45 year old Paul feels at peace and enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter Jessica, who is 12 years old.
Paul said, “I feel at peace, I feel like I’ve found a home in myself.
Paul is pictured with daughter Jessica in 2008. He says he stopped drinking to be a good father to her
“I think everything is a bonus. I’ve lived a lifetime, I can’t believe I’m only 45. It was a really strange experience.
“I have no idea what’s going to happen next. I don’t have big plans for the future.
“I just love seeing my daughter every day. I love my studio and I love my little life.
‘But it’s not just roses. Of course, I’m still going through ups and downs, I still wobble.
“If I hadn’t gone through my journey and learned something about life, there was no way I could paint.
‘I am not my experience. If I didn’t know, I wouldn’t be able to paint.
“For me it can be an emotional journey. Painting is like a metaphor for life when you start with a blank canvas. ‘
You can find more information about Paul’s work at www.paullock-art.com