A FORMER-ALCOHOLIC whose world was nearly torn apart by booze has spoken out to urge others to seek help.
The Messingham woman says that her addiction to alcohol nearly ruined her life until a support group helped her get things back on track.
Anna (name changed to protect her anonymity) says that she has had quite a hard time battling with the bottle.
“I’m an alcoholic, but I can say it with my chin up these days,” she said. “I’ve come a long way from the shame of being a drunk.”
“I knew what alcoholism was - it was a way of life that my parents lived and I didn’t want to be part of it. I ran away from home at 16 to escape, but it was already too late.
“It was there in me and I took it with me.”
Anna says that until she was 26-years-old, she was able to control her need for alcohol, but was restless and unhappy. She would rarely drink but when she did she drank heavily and suffered blackouts.
“Then between being 26 and 36, my illness progressed steadily and my drinking became noticeable to people around me,” she said. “I was trying to control it, but failing spectacularly. My children were growing up, my husband left me for someone else, and I qualified as a nurse.”
Anna continued: “I became secretive and dishonest and I was drunk most evenings.”
“Ten more years saw my children move away, I’d hung onto my job, and my driving license and my house, but wrecked another marriage.”
She added: “Drink was king now and I couldn’t go a day without it.”
All the while, Anna was working was working as a nurse on a medical ward. She would often drink-drive.
“At any one time, there were between four and six alcoholics with poorly livers on the ward, in various stages of non-recovery,” she said.
“Everywhere there were yellow men and women with swollen abdomens who would sometimes go home, only to come back in a worse state than before.”
“They nearly always died with us, and I distanced myself because deep inside I knew about me.”
Then, after her partner grew sick of her problem, Anna realised that enough was enough.
“I went to my first AA meeting in September 2002, and to this day, have not needed to take a single sip of alcohol since,” she said. “I have a new life now, full of normal, happy things like going for a walk and not making sure there was an off-licence on the way back, cooking food without burning it and getting involved in the lives of my family.”
“The list goes on, I add to it every day and I’m grateful that I found Alcoholics Anonymous before it was too late.”
Now Anna wants to urge others to seek help while they still can.
“AA offers real help, and it works. It’s a simple programme of 12 steps. It’s not religious, nobody tells anyone else what to do and it’s free.”
To contact their helpline to speak in confidence to a recovering alcoholic you can call 0845 769 7555.
Visit www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk for more info.