Admitting that you have an addiction of any kind is the first step to recovery it’s probably the hardest thing to do because of the side effects to addiction, as well as the guilt, remorse, shame, embarrassment, and disappointment and reality soon hits home, it did for me.

It took a long time to realise my addiction (to alcohol) I always thought I wasn’t any different to others who were drinking and partying – acting the fool basically just enjoying life I had no idea what it was doing to my family and loved ones, I was in denial, being selfish and living in pure ignorance.

I spent many hours and days trying to remember when it all went wrong, how did it all go wrong but the only thing really I can think is when my anxiety started, I’d realise that as soon as I had a drink it would disappear so problem solved – I drink and no anxiety then the weight started falling off so felt great ( no anxiety and a slimmer me )

So what was I doing wrong I kept saying to myself ( not knowing at the time it wasn’t me saying it, but was the illness creeping in drumming it in over and over )This wasn’t the beginning of my illness although I truly believe I was ill many years before but the disease hadn’t grown strong enough to show its ugliness because I wasn’t feeding it regularly not like when I got older the more I drank the stronger it got to the point it became stronger than me and I lost control ( it’s very cunning clever and knows your weakness) and will stop at nothing until your beat, and I almost was!

I was giving up and couldn’t take much more I was losing my family, my friends, my life wasn’t meant to be like this (well I wasn’t really living I was existing and in reality the illness didn’t cure my anxiety it only made it a million times worse – that’s how cunning and conniving addiction it is, it eats at your weakness and It wasn’t me anymore – the kind, caring and loving person, I had become a selfish manipulating nasty horrible human who was dying inside and out.

That’s when from somewhere and I can’t explain where it came from but I had this overwhelming voice in my head to pick up the phone that was the day that not only changed my life but saved it nearly 4 years ago.

I can remember the lady on the other end of the phone saying when do you want to come and I replied now she was shocked but within the next hour there was a taxi to collect me ( I was going to residential rehabilitation) I never told anyone as I got in the taxi my husband was there returning from work and asked me where I was going- he was and still is my soul mate for nearly 40 years we had been together since I was 14 and he was 16 and never been apart but I knew if I didn’t do this I’d lose him and my daughters and at time grandson. I’d put them through enough hell and they were tired trying to help me they had done all they could do (but not once did they ever give up on me)

That voice made me see the light and I had to do this for me first so I did 4 weeks at the Clifford rehab in Shefford Bedfordshire the most amazing experience of my life I worked the 12 steps I experienced other addictions such as CA, NA, GA, OA and many others at their meetings. But most of all I found me again and that life is fun, exciting and special without alcohol I learnt how to deal with situations other than picking up a drink and If you use the right tools that you’re given then anything is possible.

My story is only a short one I had the help and support from people who truly loved me and It was my time to give that love back and earn their trust and respect.

I was lucky I got stronger than my illness and was able to knock it down whenever it tried to show its ugly self in time it got weaker but never underestimate it cause it only takes a moment of weakness for it to try and grab the opportunity to grow again but keep your tools with you and always be ready let your voice overpower it.

Tracey Coutlon