I was sacked when I turned up for work still visibly the worse for wear after a bender the night before. This was one of many low points in my relationship with alcohol that would soon be hammered even more by the effects of lockdown.
Both my parents had already died from alcoholism at the age of only 62, and within a few months of one another. While my dad had been a lifelong drinker, my mom only started after they retired and would spend lots of time in the pubs in Spain. Whenever I visited, beer was consumed like water before the inevitable progression onto red wine as the evening drew in. After that, the introduction of vodka to the mix seemed like a mere formality.
Later on, I had a series of massive life-saving surgeries and I was in hospital quite a lot. This made it more difficult to drink without completely messing up my digestive system. I persisted anyway, against medical advice, and it was only after I received a letter saying that I had cirrhosis of the liver that I realized that enough was enough. I had to be there for my daughter.
I knew about STAR and they were the ones that I first asked for help. I didn’t need a hospital detox or residential rehab, and soon they had referred me to ESRA at Café North. I always thought that group support was not for me, but it turned out to be one of the best things they had on offer.
Finding ESRA and Café North has been brilliant. I have done yoga, reiki, creative writing and therapeutic art. The art has been especially rewarding for me because I had absolutely no encouragement at school and I never thought to revisit it. The food at Café North is fantastic and that is one of the main reasons that keep me coming back.
I have made friends at Café North and I benefit very much from the peer support. I have been sober for almost a year now, have a new job and I’m starting to get my confidence back. I am pleased that I found out about Café North and I would encourage anyone who needs recovery support to give them a call.
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