I've been coming to Addaction for over a year now. Before that, I was in a real mess. I had big problems with anxiety, agoraphobia and depression. The way I was coping with all of these problems was by drinking.
All my money was going on cheap cider, and I was getting through about four litres a day. I'd go to the shop on my estate, buy drink, and head home. I wasn't paying my bills, or my rent. I wasn't eating, either. I lost so much weight that I ended up at about five and a half stone.
Things went from bad to worse. The bills and rent arrears piled up, and I got more stressed about money. So I drank more to cope with the stress, and I didn't pay my bills or my rent. My house got into such a mess that my son refused to visit, or to bring my grandchildren around. I got so embarrassed about the state of things that I stopped letting anyone in. My self-esteem was as low as it could possibly be.
It was obvious that I needed help. My doctor gave me a few prescriptions here and there, but he didn't really understand the situation. I tried Alcoholics Anonymous, which is great for loads of people but wasn't right for me. I felt desperate. I tried to stop drinking on my own, but I was so dependent on alcohol by this point that doing so led me to have seizures. It was a terrifying time, especially as I was now so far behind with my rent that I was up for eviction.
Luckily for me, the housing association saw that I needed support, and through them I was put in touch with Addaction. At the first meeting I was unsure, thinking it would be the same as the other support I tried, and not for me, but it was great. Everything just clicked.
Now I'm doing very, very well. Without Addaction, I wouldn't be talking to you now. They got me the right medication to help me cut down and stop drinking. They helped to get my house cleaned up. They found me a doctor that I felt comfortable with, and they did it all so swiftly it was amazing – all within the first week or two of me coming in for help.
The group meetings are tremendous, where I share my feelings, worries and achievements with people who have been in the same boat as me, and who are my age. It's really given me back my self respect. I'm a lot healthier, happier and of course my weight's up! I've been sober for a year, too; with no relapses. It wasn't easy at the start but if I felt down, or if I felt like drinking, I could call Addaction and speak to them about it and it would really help me out. They've been wonderful.
I still come to the groups and see people where I was a year ago. It's good for them to see how far I've come, and it's good for me to see how far I come too. I've repaired the relationship with my family. About three times a week I look after the grandchildren when my son works and now my grandson even stays with me on the weekends.