Alistair’s story

Alistairs story

Alistair got in touch with Drink Wise, Age Well when he relapsed and needed some support to get back on track.  The 53-year-old had been alcohol free for just over 2 years, but was curious to know if he could enjoy just one drink.  The experience led to six weeks of alcohol abuse until, with support from Drink Wise, Age Well, he regained control of his life again.

Support to get back on track

“I know now I can’t ever have alcohol again. Perhaps it was something I had to do to know that I can’t touch alcohol ever again. But with the support from Drink Wise, Age Well, I realise that’s fine and there are so many other ways of enjoying life without alcohol.”

Alistair first turned to alcohol as a way of blocking out the emotional trauma he experienced when several members of his family died.

“My life has been full of bereavement and grief. I just couldn’t cope with it to be honest. I joined the army at 16 because I wanted to get away from it all, but I hated it and tried everything I could to get out, but couldn’t. I turned to alcohol to escape instead and in the end I was medically discharged because of stomach ulcers due to drinking. That’s where the alcoholism started.

“I tried several times to detox myself, but I didn’t realise it was dangerous without medical support and ended up in hospital with seizures. I didn’t know I had to drink to survive and when I found out it made things 10 times worse because I thought that that was my life now.

“I tried to get mental health support because I knew I needed someone to talk to. They kept saying nobody would see me while I was drinking alcohol, but I couldn’t get a place at rehab either.

Counselling and alcohol service

“Only while in hospital after attempting to take my life did I get some sort of counselling and an alcohol service took me on.

“As a former army boy I found the regimented lifestyle of rehab familiar and coped well. After 6 months I moved to supported housing for a year and then got my own flat

“However, late last year it had been playing on my mind that I wanted to drink again and I was convinced my issues were about being depressed and because that was sorted out it would be ok. I didn’t do it for ages because it was scary. Then one day I just ordered a pint, drank it and felt great, in control. But when I called my daughter, she knew straight away I had had a drink even after just one pint and she became hysterical saying she couldn’t go through it all again. Understandably, she feared the worse. All of the things that happened to me before must have come flooding back. I panicked and became sure that I had let everyone down and I went and did it all again, ending up on anywhere from 24-26 cans a day and then in hospital.

Haven’t looked back since

“I got another detox in January, met Lee from Drink Wise, Age Well and haven’t looked back since. He let me talk through things, helped me work out how to deal with social situations better and with support from Drink Wise, Age Well, I’ve even gone back to college and taken qualifications and am about to start a new job. Most importantly, I’m in a place where I can be a dad again and be there for my children. Last week my son moved in with me, which is beyond fantastic.”

Drink Wise, Age Well supports people over 50 to make healthier choices about alcohol as they age.

To find out more about Drink Wise, Age Well, visit https://drinkwiseagewell.org.uk/