“When I was thirteen, friends would make fun of me if I didn’t have a drink. I just gave in because it was easier to join the crowd.
“I was really unhappy and just drank to escape my life. I went out less and less, so started losing friends. The more lonely I got, the more I drank. I was violent and out of control. I never knew what I was doing. I was ripping my family apart.
“Kicked out of my home at age sixteen, I was homeless and started begging for money to buy drinks. After years of abuse, doctors told me there was irreparable harm to my health.
“I was only sixteen but my liver was badly damaged and I was close to killing myself from everything I was drinking.” —Samantha
“By the time I was in my mid-twenties I was locked in to drinking.
“A lot of my first concerns were about drinking, and everything else came second. I started to realise that when I did not have a drink I had a sense of panic and I would start shaking.
“If I had to go without a drink, I would go through shakes and sweats. I couldn’t go for more than a few hours without a drink.” —Paul
“This past year I have gone to work drunk, blacked out in clubs and bars and can’t remember getting home. Ashamedly I slept with someone and could not even remember the person coming home with me until we bumped into each other the next day.
“I have destroyed two relationships because I hurt them so much through my drinking, but I put drinking first. My family are so hurt that their daughter is killing herself for apparently no reason.” —Jamie
“When I went to quit drinking, I realised that alcohol had taken to my body in such a way that I couldn’t stop. I would shake like I was going to break, I would start to sweat, I could not think until I had another drink. I could not function without it.
“I spent the next eight years in and out of detox and hospitals, trying to figure out what the hell happened to me, how was it possible I couldn’t quit. It was the worst and longest nightmare.” —Jan
“My addiction built steadily and, before I realised it, I had become a morning as well as an afternoon drinker. I decided to stop drinking. I lay awake most of that night, and by noon the next day every bone in my body ached. In a blind panic, I nervously poured a glass full of gin, my hands shaking so violently that I spilled half the bottle. As I gulped it down, I could feel the agony gradually lessening. Then I finally knew the terrible truth: I was hooked. I couldn’t quit.” —Faye