My Christmas wish is that you read this…

You see, I am the grown-up daughter of a hero. A beautiful, charming, creative, kind and hard-working single mother, named Kaye. At least that is how I prefer to remember her.

My Mum raised my sister and I on her own, though that was something I hardly noticed as a child - she played both roles and she played them brilliantly. And then something happened.

When I was about 12 years old, my Mum began drinking heavily. She had been in an abusive relationship and, although it ended after about 6 months, she was never the same again. At first she drank because she was sad and lonely, pained and victimised, because she was struggling for money and she was worried. All of those things. But, before long, she drank because she felt guilty for drinking. And so the cycle began.  

My mother died in a hospice, surrounded by helpless family, on the 7th December 2012 – about 17 years after her addiction began. During that time, she had been in and out of hospital and admitted to intensive care more times than I could count. She had been treated in some of the best rehab clinics in the country, she had also spent the best part of a year homeless. 

In the last few years of her life, my Mum was completely unrecognisable. She was frail and yellow, her teeth were rotting and she rarely washed. Medically it was a miracle she was still alive. Though of course in many ways, she wasn’t. On more than one occasion she told me she believed she was in hell. She attempted to commit suicide several times. As well as the liver cirrhosis and other damage, my Mum had begun to lose her mind. 

On her death bed, my Mum apologised for being a bad mother (the guilt was with her until the end) and then she asked me to let her go because she hurt too much to live. She was 48 years old.
My Mum’s addiction gripped hold of her and consumed her from the inside out. It tore our family apart and it broke the strongest woman I have ever known. 

Alcoholism is an illness. It cost my mother her life and it changed me, my sister and the rest of our family forever.

It’s Christmas, I will certainly be celebrating with a red wine or two myself and I’m not trying to ruin the party but, in the five minutes you’ve spent reading this:

  • Two people will be admitted to hospital because of alcohol
  • Alcohol will cost society nearly £40,000
  • Seven people will be the victim of a violent crime where they suspect the offender was under the influence of alcohol.
  • £7500 has been spent in the UK alone promoting alcohol.

Scary stuff isn’t it? Whilst I don’t think we can save everyone, I have experienced first-hand why we should try. 

A donation of just £20 can make a huge difference to the work done by Alcohol Concern. Work that holds the industry to account and educates people about alcohol so they know the safe limits.

More than anything it helps to start the conversation – one that desperately needs to be had:

Whether we drink or not, alcohol costs us all dearly.

Your donation could literally save lives. 

And it only takes five minutes.

Thank you, 

Holly