“My name’s Jane and I’m 53 years old and I was quite late in starting drinking at the age of 33. I started drinking when I was working away from home in Oxfordshire and felt alone and isolated. I had to work lots of night shifts so had no social life and drank to help me escape. I developed an alcohol problem fairly quickly say within two or three months but I was still functioning, I could get up for work and do my job well.
“Soon after where I worked closed and I was made redundant so I came back home and my drinking wasn’t so bad. I lived back with my mum and dad on the family farm and I thought I was doing ok but after a while I wasn’t happy, I had lost my crutch which was drinking. At the age of 42 I had a nervous breakdown and that was when my drinking became a real problem. I wasn’t able to work for a couple of years, I was getting counselling but I couldn’t tell the truth about my drinking.
“A few years later I lost my driving licence through drink driving, I had an accident and the other driver smelt alcohol on me and rightly so called the Police. I was arrested and spent the night in cells and lost my license. At the time I had two part time jobs but due to me losing my license it was costing me a lot in taxis and buses but I managed it.
“At this time my mum became ill so I gave up the jobs and became the carer for my mum and dad. That was 6 years ago and when my drinking became horrendous. I was drinking every day, first thing in the morning and having blackouts. I would come round covered in bruises and had broken things. I didn’t wash and didn’t eat, I lived like a pig. This carried on for a long time and unfortunately I lost my mum. That’s my biggest regret that I wasn’t sober when my mum died.
“After my mum died I went to my local alcohol team for help. In September 2013 I went to a rehab in Scarborough which was fantastic, I planned to stay in Scarborough and start a new life there but with only two weeks left and after five and a half months without a drink I started drinking again and was asked to leave. Rightly so, it was my fault. I now know it was fear that started me drinking again
“After 3 months back in Rotherham my keyworker managed to get me a place in New Beginnings and did a detox at home. I broke all the rules around detox I just stopped drinking cold turkey with no medication. I guess someone was looking after me.
“New Beginnings is a fantastic name because that’s what it’s been for me, a new beginning. I haven’t had a drink now for four and a half months which I’m damn proud of. I am on the Structured Day Programme and I attend every day from 9.30am till 4pm. My previous efforts to stop drinking tended to last only 25 days start again stop for another few weeks. Sometimes it would only last a day.
“This time I believe I’ve wanted my recovery more; it helps me going home at night and face every day problems. When I was in rehab it was brilliant but it was like being in a bubble. I attend loads of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and SMART Recovery sometimes 7 days a week if required.
“At New Beginnings I learn something new about myself every day. I learnt that I like acupuncture and reflexology; I’ve learnt I’ve got a future. I haven’t lived on my own for 8 years however I move into my own place on the 24th of October which for me is a big step forward. I want to be able to help other people struggling with alcohol issues, I’ve got a future now and I thought my future was over.”