If you were to meet Melanie, 42 today, you would never believe what she has been through. In fact, she was so skilled at hiding her drinking that even her close friends and husband spent years unaware of the true extent of her problem.
“I first realised I had a problem when I was at Uni. My friends would go out at weekends and get drunk, but my drinking would carry on all week. At first it gave me confidence, but it soon became problematic, so I had to become better at hiding it.”
Melanie graduated university and excelled well within her career, she met her husband and got married, this is when her drinking escalated.
“Up until I had my daughter I somehow managed to hold it together. It wasn’t uncommon for people to comment on my drinking, but I always managed to laugh it off. My husband would often find empty bottles I’d hidden in the house, but I’d always offer an explanation, I mean the writing was on the wall, but I don’t think he wanted to see it!”
She had stopped drinking wine and started drinking vodka instead as the smell was easier to hide.
“I went to my GP so many times, but I didn’t ever tell him about my drinking, so he just kept putting me on anti-depressants, which I never took because deep down I knew my problem was the alcohol.”
Melanie’s husband often came home from work to find her collapsed in various places around the house. He was getting regular phone calls from the school when Melanie had missed school collection time. It was during this time he first mentioned the idea of attending a rehab facility.
“When he first mentioned rehab I was furious. I still believed that no one knew what a mess I was in. By now I was completely alcohol dependant and woke up every morning sweating and wretching. In the end, he gave me an ultimatum, which was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Melanie’s husband contacted Which Rehab and spoke to an advisor and arranged for them to speak to Melanie.
“When I spoke to Which Rehab it was the first time I’d ever opened up about my drinking and actually acknowledged the extent of my problem. I can’t remember much apart from crying and being really scared. I didn’t want to share a room, the thought of that freaked me out. I have no idea how many times I spoke to them, but I know that they spent time talking to me and my husband, assessing my needs, and found me a clinic near to my home where I was admitted 3 days later.”
Melanie was admitted to a clinic 40 minutes away from her home where she received a medical detox and a full therapy programme.
“It was the best thing I ever did. I am now sober for the first time since my teens, I’ve started working again and rebuilding my career. I attend regular AA meetings which I really enjoy. I’m a mum and a wife again but I guess most importantly I’ve found myself. I spent so many years lost and I didn’t even know it. I’ve got my life back!