Seaton: Woman shares her past with Calum Best

PUBLISHED: 09:25 11 November 2009 | UPDATED: 00:32 16 June 2010

A SEATON woman has spoken to celebrity Calum Best as part of a Children in Need special about children brought up by alcoholic parents.

A SEATON woman has spoken to celebrity Calum Best as part of a Children in Need special about children brought up by alcoholic parents.

Sally Williams spoke to the son of the infamous footballer in the Brought up by Booze documentary about the devastating affect her alcoholism had on her son.

Sally has been sober for six years, is married and has trained as a counsellor.

But drinking had previously physically and emotionally ruined her.

At one point she suffered from septicaemia, was in a wheelchair - and there was a risk of losing her children.

She said: "I still get upset about it now - to think about the pain I put him [my son] through.

"Looking at it sober, you can feel it, but drinking hides it.

"The addiction takes over - you think when will I get my next drink, will I run out, etc.

"Drinking for the alcoholic is life itself. Nothing else matters - not your children, not your spouse. The brain says 'if you don't drink, you're going to die'."

Her son spent several periods in foster care and a social worker told her that if she really loved her son she would not drink.

Sally believes the alcoholic is misunderstood - devoid of rationality and empathy. Yet, with a period of sobriety, the person they once were can return.

She said: "I hear 10-year-olds say 'my mother doesn't love me'. I explain they do, they just don't know it."

She said she started drinking at the age of 17, which made her feel calmer. She believes it became a problem in her late 20s, but was only chronic at around 33 years of age - and continued until the age of 39.

She said she came close to death on several occasions, and was once resuscitated three times. But her real wake-up call came for the sake of her children.

She said: "I realised the changes had to come from within me. You have to be confident and complete within yourself as a person."

She believes it is only due to thorough rehabilitation and a one year course of psychotherapy, which looked at the underlying causes of her addiction, she has managed to stay dry.

She says there is hope for the alcoholic but it should be recognised as a disease.

"People don't have sympathy for the alcoholic because they don't see it as an illness," she said. "They don't see it as something creeping up on you. They are not bad people trying to get good, they are sick, trying to get well."

And she said of her interview with Calum Best: "He was great and the same on camera as he was off. He wasn't at all big-headed."

In the documentary, Calum Best confronts the impact of his father's drinking and explores what hope there is for 1.3 million children in the UK currently being brought up by booze. The show is being aired tonight (Wednesday, November 11) at 22.45 on BBC One.

Sally is a counsellor with Triage Healthcare. For more information visit www.dryoutnow.com/devon/ or call 01392 770093.

Triage offers a free home assessment and consultation, and free advice for concerned relatives or friends of an alcoholic.


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