“Five years ago, I was living in an old camper van on a friend’s drive. I’d lost my two beautiful daughters (aged 12 and 20 at the time) and had my upmarket home repossessed.
“But I was a proud, independent, career woman so every morning I would put my brave face on and head off to run my print and design company. Nobody at work suspected what was happening to me to start with, as I hid it very well.
“I was the owner of a large design company and even though I’d lost virtually everything to drink, I didn’t want to lose my career, or let down my customers. In fact my job was the only thing that held me together. At one point I was even contemplating living in my office.
“I ended up losing almost every shred of dignity I had through alcohol. It crept up on me so gradually that I wasn’t aware it was getting out of control. One minute I was having a regular couple of glasses of wine to unwind after work – after all - isn’t that what everyone does? Soon I was drinking all day long and couldn’t function without it. It was terrifying but I couldn’t stop.
“When I thought I might be sent to prison after losing my driving licence for the third time, I tried to end it all. I had to go back to my old house to pick up a few last possessions and I felt so lonely, sad and desolate that I just wanted to go to sleep and never wake up again.
“I don’t know how I can ever thank my friend who hammered on the door and literally dragged me out of the house because that’s when I started to fight back.
“After a few false starts, I engaged with Addaction and for the first time in years, I knew I wasn’t alone any more. I was so determined to quit and recover that I insisted on going into residential rehab. It was quite a shocking experience but it made me all the more resolved to put the effort into getting better.
“Through the constant support and counselling from Addaction and other services, I now feel like a totally different person. Stuart, my key worker at Addaction, was fantastic with me right from the start - totally non-judgemental, yet challenging at times. I have never doubted his 150% commitment to my recovery.
“I have now been sober for 15 months. I’m studying and looking and feeling tons better. I sold my business and now work as a Facilitator for Smart Recovery UK and a Peer Mentor for DLNR Probation Services. I support a young girl with two children to continue her recovery and fight for her kids. I’ve sadly lost my own children through my own mistakes (for which I still have therapy to help me cope) and I don’t want her to go down the same route. I would ultimately like to become a full time Key Worker with Addaction and continue to help others in the same state I was.”