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

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