Joanne's story I struggled for many years with alcohol. Daily drinking to excess after work and drinking all day on my weekends. This affected my mental and physical health in many ways. I barely kept hold of my job, taking time off sick due to hangovers and crushing anxiety. The attempts to appear and act normal while inside I was either hugely depressed or feeling sick left me with all pervasive feelings of despair and shame. After a period on antidepressants, where I effectively stopped eating but drank heavily, I decided enough was enough and stopped without any help or supervision. I went from a large amount of alcohol to none and over the course of two days developed severe tremors, convulsions and hallucinations and not surprisingly ended up in hospital for acute alcohol withdrawal. I honestly believed I was dying. My stay in hospital involved a reducing course of benzodiazepines over a week with intravenous fluids and nutrients throughout the day and night. I was effectively bed ridden so I had a lot of time to think. A WDP representative visited me in hospital saying that there was help available for when I was discharged if I wanted it. I had already convinced myself I needed that help. I was not in control of my drinking and hadn’t been for a long time. Upon leaving the hospital I contacted the service explaining my situation and that I needed some sort of support. A little while later I had an initial assessment with a very friendly caseworker. I was as honest as I could be and I felt safe to speak freely. Not long after that, I began seeing them on a weekly basis to discuss my abstinence, how I was coping and to use the help available. I found these sessions very helpful. We discussed how to manage my return to work as by then I was on sick leave. "It’s not always easy and I don’t always want to talk. But being honest and open, accepting and listening pays dividends." I currently go to a weekly group session where those of us who are abstinent get together to talk about how we are coping and managing our sobriety. We talk about many things, how in the past we would use alcohol or drugs to suppress our feelings and how we now deal with those emotions. It is always interesting and always useful. I meet once a month with my caseworker to discuss how I am. The recovery service also pointed me towards counselling which I go to weekly. All of these sessions help me greatly. It’s not always easy and I don’t always want to talk. But being honest and open, accepting and listening pays dividends. My life continues on much as normal except that I am totally focused on my sobriety and can discuss what is and isn’t working, any revelations I have had and coping strategies that I use. With all this help I am almost six months sober! Knowing that there is this amount of support available from genuine, caring people who listen and have experience is amazing and I will always be grateful. Names and images of service users have been changed to maintain confidentiality.