19th November marked the start of Alcohol Awareness Week – a chance for the UK to get thinking about drinking! The theme of this years campaign (organised by Alcohol Change UK) is Change – encouraging people to change their drinking habits and be more aware of the risks associated with alcohol and alcoholism.
There are an estimated 600,000 dependent drinkers in England alone – people who are in a relationship with alcohol that is bringing them and their families ill-health, conflict and pain. Four in five of them are receiving no treatment. But change is possible.
Here at PS we speak to a number of pharmacists and their families every year dealing with a range of dependency issues. Since 2009 we have helped 212 individuals through our Addiction Support Programme. One of those people is Laura.
“In June 2017 I was facing crisis point. I was facing financial ruin due to debts in excess of £60k, living way beyond my means and working 50+ hours a week to try and make ends meet. I was in danger of losing my house and stress and pressures of work were also contributing to my rapidly deteriorating mental health.
I had sought comfort in alcohol and food for years. After 2 failed marriages and other personal traumas I did it to cope with my feelings of pain, loss and loneliness. My drinking was beginning to get out of control. I was drinking to excess regularly, including at work social functions and the impact was affecting my ability to function day to day.
After a conversation with my line manager about my declining performance at work, I turned to Pharmacist Support.
On my first phone call I was offered a sympathetic ear and some practical advice to get me through each day. I was referred to speak to a specialist debt adviser from Citizens Advice Bureau who was able to help somewhat in dealing with my debt.
I also agreed to be referred to speak to a specialist addiction adviser. He identified my obsessive, compulsive, addictive behaviours almost immediately and said to me “I am taking this seriously, I think you need inpatient care”. I was scared and confused. I was in denial about my addiction to food and alcohol. Why did I need inpatient care? I was just anxious and depressed, wasn’t I? I was admitted for 4 weeks residential treatment, full of fear and anxiety. Rehab was the worst and best experience of my life.
Once out of rehab I was supported with legal and return to practice advice and I have the ongoing support of PS, through one to one contact and regular assessment to ensure I’m still on track. I also have the option of regular telephone contact with peers who have been through similar experiences, through arranged Telephone Support Group Meetings.
I am now 17 months free of alcohol, working and enjoying life. I owe a lifetime of gratitude to Pharmacist Support for saving my life and giving me a chance at recovery and a new life.”
Our Addiction Support Programme provides confidential support to those that are ready to seek professional help in taking the steps to make positive lasting changes. If you have been affected by alcohol dependency or any form of addiction, or know somebody who may be in need of our help, you can contact us anonymously by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0808 168 5132.