Staying sober is a real struggle for alcoholics, and the protagonist of this sad story is no exception. 30-year-old Zhang Rui had been trying to kick the habit for a while, but when all his attempts failed, both he and his family got desperate. After what must have been a serious intervention, he agreed to let his mother chain him by the neck in a room, to prevent him from buying or stealing booze.
Zhang, who is still locked in his attic room in Bengbu, east China, told reporters that he couldn’t think of any other way to stop himself from harming others or drinking himself to death. Despite his poor living conditions, Zhang believes that confining himself is the only way to beat the addiction that has ruined his life. In fact, he wants to stay chained up and locked in there for at least six months, until he no longer feels the need to consume alcohol.
The tiny 10-square-meter space is sparsely furnished, with only a mattress for sleeping, a laptop and a small TV to keep him entertained. He doesn’t even have a toilet – just a bucket and a large bottle of water to keep himself clean. The chain around his neck is four meters long and weighs about 22 lbs, so he can hardly stand up on his own in his current state. It allows him to walk around the room as exercise, but not much else.
According to the reporters who visited him, Zhang used to be a kind and gentle person working as a truck driver, however, all that changed six months ago when he started drinking. He turned so violent and abusive that he lost both his job and his wife and children. Things got so bad at one point that he begged for money on the streets just to be able to buy cheap rice wine. Once drunk, he reportedly had no controls over his actions.
When his family left him, Zhang was devastated, and the misery drove him to the extreme decision of home imprisonment. Quitting cold turkey has been torturous for him, so much so that he cries all the time and beats himself up with the chains. He becomes very irritable at times and tries to pick the lock or slide the chain off his neck. So far he has only managed to hurt himself even more.