“I had no idea how bad my drinking had become.”
It took a conversation with caring neighbours for Liz to realize that she had a problem.
“They told me, ‘you’re a skeleton.’ I hadn’t realized it until they pointed it out.”
Liz, 58, had always been a social drinker. She had spent years in a difficult marriage with a husband who had his own struggles with alcohol. When he was hospitalized for mental health challenges, Liz was on her own. She turned to alcohol.
“It’s ironic, isn’t it?” said Liz.
The drinking became the main focus of her days. Liz was able to work in her role as a teacher in an adult education program. She would get through the day without any alcohol, but it was always on her mind.
It got so bad for Liz that she lost interest in anything else. She forgot to eat.
“I knew I could get through the day without a drink. But by the end of the day, I had to get home. I needed to drink.”
“I was drinking for the sake of drinking. I would sit in my chair and listen to music, and drink.”
Liz endured several hospitalizations because of her alcohol consumption. She lost so much weight that she was down to 100 lbs. She couldn’t walk without the help of a walker.
“My daughter Gillian saw me in hospital and thought I was going to die. It was that bad.”
And each time that she got out of the hospital, after going through a painful withdrawal process, she would drink again. Liz didn’t know how to stop.
Finally, during her last hospitalization, she met with a counsellor that connected her with HERE-24/7. It was through this service that Liz found out about the Addiction Treatment programs available through House of Friendship.
“I had no idea these programs existed,” said Liz. “It was the best place I could have ended up.”
Liz participated in the intensive Day Treatment program, as well as our after care and various workshops. Through these programs, Liz has learned what triggers her need for alcohol – and how to manage it.
“I learned some good tools I didn’t have before. I haven’t had a drink since.”
Now, Liz is keeping active, returning to her loves of yoga and gardening, and enjoying the companionship of her dog, Peter Parker, while caring for her husband.
“I’m looking forward,” said Liz. “I’m happy I can do that.”
Learn more about how you can make a difference and ensure that everyone can belong and thrive in Waterloo Region! Receive inspirational stories about how you are making a difference right to your inbox.