Brave Jacqui shares her story of recovery from alcohol addiction to help others

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By Jamie Milligan

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service fitness trainer has bravely shared her experience of addiction recovery to help inspire others to reclaim their lives.

Jacqui McDonald, from St Monans in Fife, lost years to her reliance on alcohol and very sadly attempted suicide in her darkest hour.

But after realising the impact this was having on her family, the mum-of-three made the decision to take control and dedicate herself to recovery.

She has now been alcohol free for 1000 days after receiving help from her family, SFRS colleagues and dedicated voluntary groups - and now wants to use her experience to help others.

Speaking as the UK marks Alcohol Awareness Week, Jacqui said: "You don't have to be the stereotypical person many people deem to be an alcoholic.

"It's not just people who have no income, career, lifestyle or family ... alcohol took control of my life and even led me to attempt suicide in July 2012.

"But no one would have guessed what was going on in my life. It was very much hidden and secretive, and it wasn't an enjoyable life to be in. 

"I would promise my children that this would be last ever drink, knowing full well that promise would be broken."

 Being challenged by her daughter over her alcohol intake was the final straw for Jacqui and her "light-bulb moment". 

The former wholetime firefighter said: "The morning after this, I woke up with the worst hang-over ever and felt guilt and hatred for myself.

"The relationship with my daughters was teetering on the edge of being smashed into smithereens and I knew in my heart and my head that I would never touch another alcoholic drink.”

In December 2017, Jacqui took the brave step of reaching out to Alcoholics Anonymous as her SFRS colleagues rallied to support as well as her line manager, to whom Jacqui is eternally grateful.

 Jacqui said: "I'm proud of where I am today, but I take my recovery one day at a time and take nothing for granted.

"It's not been an easy ride by any means but I take my strength from my friends and family. I wake up every day and feel proud of where I am today

"If I can help one person to come forward by sharing my story and encouraging them to improve their lifestyle then this is a positive thing to do – it is okay not to be okay."

For more on Alcohol Change UK and its awareness week, visit https://alcoholchange.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/alcohol-awareness-week-1/about-alcohol-awareness-week

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