Katherine is one of our amazing fundraisers who will be climbing Ben Nevis next year and fundraising for Alcohol Concern! Here's her story... 

22/05/2017

What a difference a year makes...

This time last year I was getting ready for rehab; though I don't remember it as I was drunk. This time last year I was pushing away friends and family. This time last year I couldn't go a day without alcohol. This time last year I was killing myself.

It's been 12 months since I last had a drop of alcohol, and they have been the best 12 months of my life. In this time I've done and achieved things I never thought I could. I've gone from being alcohol dependent and not being able to leave my flat without a drink, to living a life beyond my wildest dreams and I couldn't be happier. I'm so grateful for the people I choose to have in my life today: my friends, my family my partner are all beyond supportive.

Since I've started posting about my problem drinking I've had a number of people get in touch with me about love ones, people they know and about themselves and their alcohol issues. There are so many people out there in a similar position to me a year ago but it's still not an illness that's openly talked about. The more we discuss these issues without shame the more chance we have of eradicating the stigma that comes with addiction once and for all. I hope this post helps someone reading it.

For anyone suffering from alcoholism there is a way out- there is support, and Alcohol Concern can help. Don't be afraid to make that first move.

08/02/2017

Love the life you live, live the life you love.

The festive season for me used to revolve around alcohol. When I was a ‘normal’ drinker the season of joy would be focused on boozy lunches, parties, and planning everything around when I would/wouldn’t be hungover. As addiction’s grip grew tighter I was no longer invited to parties and rarely went out at all, but the drinking continued, more often and heavier. 

This year was entirely different. I enjoyed all the festivities, I spent time with family and friends and loved every minute of it. I was really able to be present and give my loved ones the attention they deserve, together we had the greatest Christmas I’ve had since I was a child and with no blackouts I am able to appreciate the memories forever. With the money I saved from not buying ethanol, I was able to go to Australia on the holiday of a lifetime over New Year. I did things I never dreamed possible a few months ago; the change in my life is astounding.

I am so grateful to be where I am today, I’m grateful for the big changes but I’m also grateful for the things I used to take for granted; to be able to enjoy a cup of tea, to shower without struggle, to be able to write without shaking, to not be consumed by the thought of alcohol, but mostly I’m grateful for all the non-judgmental support I receive every day. 

Recovery is tough, but it’s worth it. For anyone struggling at the moment I can promise that starting the journey of sobriety will allow you to build a life you love. It’s never too late.       

23/11/2016

I didn’t grow up dreaming to one day be an alcoholic, alchies sat on park benches, on their own, drinking out of cans, in the cold, I would never be that person.  Until one day, I was…

I started as a ‘normal’ teenager; going out at weekends, only drinking with friends. As time went on, life happened. Life for me included a great family, a few stressful but well-paid jobs, a number of relationships – some of which violent - some great friends, some not so great friends; I faced the ups and downs of general life. But this life got in the way of me seeing how quickly my illness progressed. My late 20’s are somewhat of a blur, and by the age of 30, I had graduated with honours in alcoholism.

Towards the end, I would only drink alone (sometimes on those park benches I judged so much previously). I was ashamed and knew I had a problem, but I couldn’t stop. I would constantly black out and often woke up not knowing what day it was, let alone the time. My anxiety had grown so much, I couldn’t talk to my friends without having had a drink, I couldn’t talk to anyone without having had a drink.  In the last few months of my drinking, my physicality had deteriorated. I couldn’t feel my left arm and I shook dramatically if I didn’t have a drink when I woke up, I covered this up by sitting on my hands. I also lost the ability to string a sentence together, I couldn’t remember the most basic of words. Then there was the bleeding, this came out of every orifice you could imagine, regularly.

One day someone at work pulled me aside, knowing my issue, and asked if I had considered residential rehab, I hadn’t realised I was covered through my health insurance for this. 2 weeks after this conversation, I went into a 28 day programme, to which  I owe my life.

I'm now 6 months sober and I have never been happier. I’m no longer controlled by my illness, I’ve done things I couldn’t have imagined doing before, and I owe it all to sobriety. 

I was one of the lucky ones, the support of my wonderful friends and family got me through and into rehab, but the unfortunate truth is that others aren’t so lucky. Writing this was difficult but I want to do anything I can to bring awareness to this killer illness, it can happen to anyone, anyone can end up on that bench.

If you'd like to support Katherine after her recent climb up Ben Nevis click on the following link: Katherine's Just Giving page