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Moving on: a life after alcohol

Caroline knew she’d reached the pits of despair as an alcoholic when her mother threatened to disown her.

Downing five bottles of wine each night was par for the course – and she had no hope and no job.

The Whitstable woman’s battle to stay sober is now fought a day at a time.

Caroline was addicted to alcohol for three years and lost her job before she decided to get help.

She is now dry and still receives one-on-one help from the Mount Zeehan Unit at the St Martin’s Hospital in Littlebourne.

Caroline told Kentonline: “Nobody made me drink, I chose to.

“In 2002, I was off work for a year due to problems with my back. Whilst off work it became a daily occurrence for me to drink.

“It started at 4:30pm, I would watch Ready Steady Cook and I would have around two to three glasses of wine a night.

“No-one knew I had a problem with drink for a long, long time because I held it up well. It can happen to anyone. You’ve got lawyers, you’ve got doctors – it’s not just the poor people it affects.”

Three years later and back at work she suddenly found herself depending more and more on alcohol, drinking up to five bottles of wine per night.

“There came a time when I couldn’t cope. There’s a line that I crossed and I don’t know when it happened. It became a dependency and I drank more and more. I lost my job and my life was ruined.”

Her lowest point came when her mother threatened to disown her if she didn’t seek immediate help.

Since then she has turned her life around and now wants to help people who are also addicted to alcohol. She’s starting an addiction counselling course in January to help those who are struggling with alcohol like her and says there is hope for people out there.

“You’ve got to recognise you’ve got a problem and then get some help. If you don’t you will continue down the spiral and end up like me. I have met people who were in the pits and looked into themselves, sorted themselves out and want to remain sober.”

Alcohol and driving don’t mixCaroline is speaking out following a week-long Alcohol Awareness campaign here in Kent.

A big blue bus has been out and about throughout the county’s town centres offering people advice about how much they drink. According to Alcohol Concern women are supposed to drink no more than three units a day and for men it’s four.

Liz Osbourne, from the Alcohol Awareness Team, was out in Maidstone yesterday and said most people had the misconception that it’s one drink one unit:

“A lot of people don’t understand their units, so we’ve been asking them their favourite drinks and converting it for them. We’ve had parents, grandparents and teenagers coming up to us.”

Tony Williams is from the Kenward Trust and says people still don’t recognise alcohol as a drug: “Alcohol is a gateway drug. A lot of people come to us with problems rooted in alcohol and then progress to cocaine or heroine. We call it poly use.”

Earlier this week a report from Alcohol Concern found the number of people dying from drink-related illnesses has tripled over the last 25 years and they predict it will kill 90-thousand people in the next ten years.

source: Kent Online

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