Sarah had problems with her drinking. Here she tells us about her recovery process and the challenges she faced to overcome her problems.
I started drinking at the age of 13, just being a teenager you know, bottles of cider with your mates, spending my pocket money and asking older people to go to the shops for you. I just thought that was what teenagers did. At 15 I started going out into pubs, I know I was underage but I used to get in so started social drinking with my mates. After I left school I had more money as I was working so spent more and more time out drinking.
At the age of 16, I noticed that I wanted to drink every day and when we had a party at weekends it was always me who suggested we continued in the morning or want to get to the local pub even though I hadn’t sobered up from the night before. When I was 18 I met my son’s dad and he tended to drink a lot so we used to sit in his bedroom all day and all night drinking wine and I fell pregnant.
I stopped drinking through the pregnancy but I soon started drinking after he was born. When the baby was down for the night I started with a glass of wine every night, 7 o’clock Emmerdale time then it became earlier, and over the next few years started drinking more and more and earlier and earlier.
When I was 28 I started seeing another man who was an alcoholic who was a 24 hour round the clock drinker and I soon fell into that trap. I was drinking at 6am in the morning a bottle of cider and drinking constantly and soon became worried and scared. I went to Doncaster Alcohol Services and did a home detox but didn’t work out for me. Since then ive had about 8 detox’s and usually manage about 6 weeks before starting to drink again.
Last year my best friend died from alcoholism and within 3 weeks of her dying I knew I was poorly. My eyes started going yellow so I went to hospital and told them about my drinking and my past detox’s. I was admitted to DRI for yet another detox and when sent home, I didn’t drink but I had to have blood tests every week to check my liver. I remember the specialist phoning me up at home and told me then to pack my bags for 3 to 4 weeks and come straight back as my liver results were really bad.
I had gone all yellow and diagnosed with pancreatitis; I was really poorly and lost all my hair and loads of weight then bloated and lost weight again. After coming out of DRI I didn’t drink for 5 months to get better. After I was discharged from hospital I don’t know why I did it especially after my friend died and all that I’d gone through with my health I started drinking again, that was last summer 2013.
I was so scared I was going to die, I was checking in the mirror all the time looking to see if my eyes had gone yellow again. The fear was so intense and unbelievable I thought I was losing my mind. I was constantly paranoid but couldn’t stop drinking.
I went back to Doncaster Alcohol Services, my son moved out as we were constantly arguing as he couldn’t bear to see me like that he was 16 at the time. I knew if I carried on drinking I would lose my son forever, lose my house and possibly my life. Also my mum and dad were at the end of their tether and I just knew I had to do something.
I spoke to my keyworker at DAS and she mentioned New Beginnings, I’d never heard of it before even though I lived in Doncaster. I entered New Beginnings in May 2014 and did a 3 week detox and went the very next day onto the Structured Day Programme and been here ever since. It has changed my life, I’m a total different person, it feels so good to just feel normal. It has its ups and downs but ive accepted now that everyone has ups and downs but that’s life and its how you deal with things that’s important.
I know I can never drink again, its took me many years to accept that fully and to be fair I don’t want to lose again what I've gotten back. I have a good relationship with my son, we meet up, go out for meals, go to the pictures together, he even tells me he loves me all the time. My mum and dad, they’re fantastic and so supportive.
I have 6 weeks of aftercare left and I’ve started a mentor course so I can hopefully help others with alcohol problems and also coming to the end of a counselling course. I am co-facilitating a SMART recovery group and dipping my toe in Alcoholics Anonymous to see what it’s like as I’m preparing myself when I leave New Beginnings.
For information on drugs and alcohol services in Doncaster visit our substance misuse page