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You can turn your life around

by Guy Murphy

“Now living my best life.”

These are the words of a woman who sought help for a drinking issue that quickly escalated into dependency.

There are a variety of reasons why someone may turn to drink or drugs, but it’s important to know that help and support is available.

Change Grow Live (CGL) offer tailored support to help you to manage your situation.

We caught up with a resident who is being supported by CGL to find out about their situation, the support they received and the impact it has had on their life.

What made you turn to drink?

I have always been anxious, even through my childhood. I had difficulty making and keeping friends – I was thought of as odd, and was usually on my own at school – college and university wasn’t much better.

I did not drink through this period of my life, not even through university. I was always a loner. As time went on, I married and went on to have three children.

I developed a lump in my neck and the hospital advised me I had to have an immediate biopsy as there was quite a few other lumps. On the way to theatre, I jumped off the trolly and ran.

This is how bad my health and anxiety were.

I went to my mums, shaking and vomiting, and she then brought me a large glass of brandy. I had never drunk spirits. I drank the brandy and then suddenly, I felt a warmth shot through me. I was calmer, felt like things were ok and on the way home, I stopped off at shop and bought a bottle of brandy. It made me different, stronger and I loved that it took my terror away.

My health was okay; however, my drinking became the most important thing in my life and my poor children lost me. They were looked after, fed and clean and I gave them all they needed but I didn’t give them me anymore.

I was hiding alcohol

I was too busy getting alcohol and hiding this so no one knew. The steps I took to make sure I had alcohol were ridiculous.

I did have one or two sober times, some years ago when I attended recovery session. It worked well, however after a while, I relapsed.

Guilt, shame and hopelessness

My drinking was always alone and this made me feel guilty, shame and hopelessness which decimated the friendships I had. I will always suffer for that. It was so, so sad when I look back. My health suffered badly, blood pressure, ulcers, and then severe liver problems.

My drinking got so much worse and I always had to have some at the side of my bed.

I’ve hurt my family

My family got so hurt by me. My mental health was destroyed. I was way beyond anxious. I was out of my mind.

I fell backwards down the stairs and needed staples in my head, broke my ribs, my nose and broke both my ankles, I almost died. I just wanted to die.

I then completed a home detox and went to stay with my sister. My doctor was wonderful and helped me so much. I then started to get terrible cravings – it was too much for me to handle. I honestly would have killed for a drink. However, my amazing sister encouraged me to come to CGL and she brought me.

I was a total wreck. My first group meeting following my assessment, I was shaking, crying and I just couldn’t speak. That first meeting I tried to get away from my sister and get some drink. My sister won.

Feeling accepted

My sister came and waited for me at the meetings. Slowly I started to feel these people don’t think I’m odd or a monster, they accepted me for me. I then started to listen. Gradually I felt part of something and couldn’t believe people thought I mattered.

Today, I am abstinent from alcohol, my recovery is strong, and I have and continue to build on my recovery.

I attend all the CGL groups, I go on the wellbeing outings, attend the monthly service user forums, women’s group, I now have a voice and an amazing peer network and I bake cakes again.

Living proof that you can change

I am so proud that I support other people in groups, and I am living proof we all can change.

I am now in a place that I never thought possible.

I have been invited to be a part of the CGL recruitment for new staff and I have also completed my application to hopefully support others as a volunteer with CGL.

I am now enjoying my life, sharing quality time with my family.

Need help and support?

You are not alone and help and support is available – call CGL today on 0151 482 6291 or email knowsley.info@cgl.org.uk to discuss your concerns and the support available to you.