Ipswich: ‘Alcohol ruined my health and destroyed my life’ – A recovering alcoholic’s story

STREET drinkers are often shunned by society. Today, one recovering alcoholic spoke with searing honesty about her battle with the bottle, while backing the Reducing the Strength campaign. COLIN ADWENT reports.

IPSWICH: Helplessly hooked on cheap super-strength alcohol, Lisa Pennock was slumped in an Ipswich doorway when she experienced one of the worst moments of her life.

Through the haze of alcohol, the mother-of four recognised the visibly upset young boys who had passed her by.

As Lisa’s nephews walked away in tears at seeing their aunt tanked up on low-cost, high-strength drink, the reality of her life bludgeoned its way into her senses.

Today, as Lisa relived the shattering experience, she is on the long, precarious road to redemption.

Courageously, she spoke about her journey from a normal family life to the depths of despair, before finding the strength to confront her demons.

She said: “Alcohol ruined my health and I just had enough of living that way. There’s more to life than just drowning yourself in a bottle of strong lager.

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“It has destroyed my life. I have lost my family and my boys through this.

“I realised about 14 years ago that I was getting addicted to alcohol.

“My drinking got heavy and I hit rock bottom. I lost my mum and then went absolutely mad with the drink, and it got even worse.

“My marriage ended and I walked out on my children. I ended up on the streets.

“A few years down the line my nephews went past a doorway, saw me, and then cried all the way home.

“I was drinking super-strength lagers and bottles of cider, at least three bottles a day – strong lagers, the strongest you can get.

“I just drank more and more. My head wasn’t together and I just kept getting worse and worse.

“I was on my own, then with my ex-partner on the street and with other homeless people.”

When Lisa did find herself somewhere to stay, she ended up being kicked out because of her drinking and the behaviour of other drinkers who came round to her home.

“When I was a heavy drinker I didn’t think I would ever be able to get out of this ‘bubble’. Once you are in that frame of mind you will get alcohol anywhere to be honest.

“Sometimes I thought I enjoyed it, but when you look back I didn’t at all. I’m so glad I’m off the drink now.

“I had had enough of the way I had been living. The alcohol took control. You get into that rut and can’t get out. I thought enough was enough.

“Now I’m sober it feels great. I have just got to keep it that way. I have realised that alcohol is not my friend any more.

“I’m working on my relationship with my four children

“When I see street drinkers in town I just think to myself I was there once, but I’m a bit stronger now and don’t want to go back to that.

“Now I’m in a better position. I came out of rehab and have settled down in a nice flat and things are looking up.”

Asked what she thought about the sale of super-strength alcohol, Lisa said: “Disgusting. At the time (I was drinking) I didn’t think that, but now I think they should ban it.

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