"I used to get up at about 4am, and if I didn't have a drink I'd be shaking. I didn't want people to see the person I'd become."
Alan Spencer, 62, found his drinking got worse after retiring five years ago.
A father-of-three from Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Alan worked in the police and at the Ministry of Defence. He tried to keep his drinking a secret from his wife Jan, and began hiding bottles of alcohol around the house – but soon could not conceal it.
“I used to get up at about 4am, and if I didn’t have a drink then I would be shaking. The doctors said I had to have a drink, otherwise I ran the risk of having a seizure from not having one, so it was a catch-22.”
“I began to cut myself off from the grandchildren because I realised that my children didn’t trust me with them. I’m an alcoholic – you wouldn’t want your children to be looked after by somebody, who, nine times out of 10 would be drunk. I didn’t want people to see the person that I’d become.”
Things got so bad, that when Alan’s drinking was at its worst, he attempted to take his life.
“The pressure you’re putting on your family and the outcome that it’s having on them. It’s a nightmare.”
Detox and Recovery
After visiting our residential centre, Birchwood, in Liverpool, Alan started his recovery.
Alan, who has now been sober for more than two years, believes alcohol addiction could affect anyone, regardless of your background, class or economic status.
“Alcohol addiction can grip anyone. It’s important to not let the stigma prevent you from getting the help you need. Recovery is a difficult journey, but it’s absolutely possible. Now I’m a better father and husband, and love watching my grandchildren grow up.”