One of the most difficult things for an alcoholic to go through is an alcohol relapse; especially if he or she believed they were all clear. This can be incredibly disheartening and can often leave the addict feeling like a failure or a hopeless case. However, a relapse does not have to mean the end of recovery. Many people will go on to successfully overcome their alcohol addiction after relapsing and then lead a happy, sober life. Like Anna Elston, a mother of three who suffered an alcohol relapse after her sons were taken into care. Anna fought her addiction and was determined to make a change for the good of her sons.

‘Should Be Dead’

Forty-four-year-old Anna Elston from Christchurch has chosen to bravely speak out about her severe alcohol addiction, which resulted in her losing her three young children. Anna revealed that she ‘should be dead’ with the amount of alcohol she consumed, but instead she chose to overcome her addiction to get her sons, fifteen-year-old Jack, ten-year-old Eddie and nine-year-old Dylan back in her care. She has decided to speak out about her addiction around the festive period as she wants to show that it is possible to overcome addiction. “Today I value my life because I came so close to death. Every day is precious with my children. We’re often told that addiction is a family illness. I like to think of it as a family recovery,” she said.

Spiralled Out of Control

She explained how her addiction spiralled out of control after her youngest son was born prematurely weighing just 1lbs 2oz. She said, “I found myself on my first day in a residential treatment centre for alcohol addiction with a broken marriage, post-natal depression, recovering from a caesarean, with my 10-week old baby son on life support in hospital and my other two sons, aged five and nine months, were about to be taken into foster care. I had always been a heavy drinker and didn’t suffer from hangovers, which was my downfall as I could still function and work for many years. It was only when social services got involved and there was the possibility of my children being taken that I tried to stop and realised I couldn’t.”

‘I Didn’t Want to Feel Anymore’

Anna was admitted to rehab early in 2007, but despite this, the court made the decision to go ahead with the option to put her children into care; this was too much for her to handle and she suffered an alcohol relapse just two days after. She added, “I had lost my role as a mum and had nothing else at that time. I meant to just drink that one night, but everything I was told in treatment came true, and it was the start of three months of chaos. I had learned that my anti-depressants were highly toxic with no antidote, so one evening I took the lot and stopped breathing before paramedics arrived. When I came off life support, I was angry that I couldn’t even do that right. But then I realised that I didn’t really want to die, I just didn’t want to feel that way anymore. The children’s legal guardian told me that I’d have to pull a rabbit out of a hat to have a chance of my children being returned to me. Shocked and scared, it was in that moment that I became truly determined that I would do everything I could to get them back.”

Motivated and Determined

Motivated and determined to get her kids back, Anna had her very last drink in August 2007. She wanted to show just how committed she was and would drive over 900 miles every month to attend numerous hospital appointments, reviews and court hearings. “You can’t take away the fact you’re a mum, so you can’t live a normal life without them. Trying to maintain sobriety and not squash my feelings was hard. Dates like Christmas and Mother’s Day were a killer. But so was just going to the park or hearing a baby cry. My eldest Jack wouldn’t come to the phone on Christmas Day; he was hurting and angry with me. I always had the vision of my children being returned to me, but nobody could give me any certainty,” she explained.

Healthy Choices

Anna went on to say, “I can’t change what has happened, but now I can ensure that I make healthy choices without alcohol clouding my judgement. We have an amazing relationship now and are very close.”

Anna wanted to ensure that she turned her experience into something positive and so went on to achieve a first-class degree in BSc (Hons) Addictions Counselling. She has since been employed as a coordinator for a drug and alcohol awareness and prevention programme that runs in schools.

Help and Support

If you have previously overcome alcoholism but have since suffered an alcohol relapse and are looking to get back on track, then contact us here at Addiction Helper. We will help you to find a rehab provider where you can work on beating your addiction and move on to lead a happy, sober life. We work alongside many facilities that offer a range of treatments that will help you to get better. If you have any queries or would like any further information, then do not hesitate to contact us today.

Source: I lost my three children because of alcohol addiction that could have killed me (Bournemouth Echo)

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