Meet Barbara, 47, from Wigan. When this single mother was made redundant, she sought solace in alcohol, which led to a long-term addiction to alcohol. This is Barbara’s account of how a period in alcohol rehab, organised by Port of Call, helped her to quit her addiction for good and reverse the long-term effects of alcohol addiction.
“Mum, I’m frightened; please stop drinking.” Those were the words of my 11-year-old daughter, which jolted me back to reality. For the previous three years, I’d been living beneath a dark cloud. I’d been made redundant from my marketing job, and became disillusioned and depressed. What began as a glass of wine every night when I was gainfully employed, deteriorated into several bottles of wine (or worse) in unemployment.
When my daughter was old enough to understand, and said those words, I was mortified. The feelings of guilt were overwhelming. Guilt for not having spent more time with her. Guilt for spending so much of our money on alcohol. And guilt at ignoring the long-term effects of alcohol that, if I’d continued on that same path, could have left my daughter without a mother.
I found Port of Call online. The website was very clear and clued up, as were their phone advisers. I decided to go through an alcohol rehab programme, organised through them, near to home while my mother looked after my child. I went through an initial detox, which lasted a week in my case. It wasn’t easy. I did get some headaches and nausea but, on the whole, my detox experience wasn’t as bad as some of the other people I spoke to.
Once I had a clear head again, I began to concentrate on getting better – both physically and mentally. The doctors told me that I had mild alcoholic hepatitis, which if I stopped drinking for good I might be able to reverse. My binge drinking had also caused me to pile on the weight, something that the medics said had put me in the ‘at risk’ category for type 2 diabetes. I was shocked. These health revelations made my resolve to stay sober stronger than ever.
I’d always assumed that my depression was the result of my redundancy. What I hadn’t factored in was that my alcohol addiction was fuelling my dark moments. Yes, it helped me forget in the short-term. But the longer-term mental health effects of alcohol had put me into a downward spiral. The counselling sessions at rehab really helped a lot. Having an outlet to talk through my problems, with an addiction counsellor and in a group setting, was a huge help in helping me to re-focus my mind.
Six months on and the change in my health is already dramatic. I’ve continued the gym sessions that I began whilst in rehab, and have managed to lose two stone in the process. I’m no longer at risk of developing diabetes. My mental outlook is so much brighter too. So much so, that I’ve found myself a new job, in marketing once more, which I’m loving. Of course, I haven’t touched alcohol at all, and feel healthier and more alert as a result.
All of that means that I’m far more involved and engaged in my daughter’s life. Alcohol rehab from Port of Call has brought her and I closer together. She’s now got her mum back; just a healthier and happier version. I owe it all to Port of Call and I’m so grateful for all of their help and support.
Disclaimer: Names and certain details have been changed to protect the identity of case study participants.
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