'I used to drink all day'

George Budge

George Budge knew he had to get help when he realised he was drinking all day, every day.

For information on getting help with drinking, read Alcohol support

Over the years George had gone from drinking socially in pubs to drinking 1.5 litres of vodka a day at home.

"I don’t know what the turning point was," he says, "but I was on my own so no-one around me was telling me to stop. I wasn’t eating much and I was drinking 24 hours a day.

"Some deep voice of self-preservation inside me said, 'You can’t go on like this'. I think you have to seize those moments as they might not come again for years."

But George had no clear idea of where to go for help. "I rang an ex-probation officer I had met two years before," he says. "She'd told me she thought I had a drink problem but I was in denial at the time."

The ex-probation officer put him in touch with an addiction support group in Richmond, south-west London.

George received an assessment within 24 hours and went on a day programme involving group therapy and counselling.

"I stopped drinking overnight," he says. "but that's not something you should really do without advice, as you can go into fits and do yourself damage.

"I was shaking, sweating, scared to get on buses, and frightened of everything. Your whole body and mind is changing. It’s like having your brain shaken."

'I'm alive'

How to cut down

  • drink small glasses of wine
  • buy shandies and spritzers
  • go for low-alcohol drinks
  • don’t drink every day
  • alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks
  • eat before drinking
  • drink water between pints
  • avoid "happy hour" offers
  • add mixers to spirits
  • avoid binge drinking
  • opt out of rounds
  • keep a drinks count
  • refuse drink top-ups

George was advised to consult his GP, who put him on a course of chlordiazepoxide, a sedative, for a few days to help him with the detox.

"I was really lucky that my GP was so supportive," says George. "I went to see him every two weeks after that and he looked genuinely pleased the longer I stayed sober. And that really helped me."

George says the support group programme was critical in helping him to stay dry. “It gave me a reason to get up, a safe place and a dry, no-alcohol environment," he says.

"And we talked about personal stuff that some of us had never talked about in our whole lives.

"There were days when I thought, 'I can’t imagine never having a drink again', but there were marvellous counsellors to get me through that."

He says the urge to drink was strongest when he passed a pub on a sunny day, as it would remind him of happy times.

But he says: "I want to stick with this because I’m alive, and there’s no way I would be if I’d carried on drinking."

Page last reviewed: 24/10/2014

Next review due: 24/10/2016


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The 8 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

oulddoll said on 30 August 2009

drink nearly destroyed me, it took away everyting i loved..in the end i didnt care, the drink was the only thing i needed, or so i thought, wen i came home battered and bruised one nite and coulnt remember wat happened , i relised i had hit rock bottom, i went in the residential treatment for 8 months , and im doin well. i never say never, i take one day at a time.. best of luck my friendxx

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User59975 said on 05 November 2008

well done george. i was rushed to hospital 2 weeks ago turned out to be acute pancreatitis i was so ashamed! i havnt had a drink since after 15 yrs of drinking alot every night

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johnny26113 said on 30 August 2008

well done George and Theresa you both done really well . some good stories on here .i hope they will help me i am just starting . i was drinking 5 bottles of newcastle brown a nite for about 8 years now .
but just started cutting down about 3 week back down to 2 a nite now next week down to 1 a nite and then maybe i drink 1 nite a week .but it is good news i am not the only one


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Theresa said on 25 August 2008

I'm a 47yr old mum with one child of 13.Ihave not had adrink since 29 dec 2007, the alcohol very nearly took my family away, it is a great dissolver,it will take your driving licence(lost mine through drink driving)job,family,your sanity then it will eventually take your life!there is a 24 hour programme,if applied to your daily life you will get a daily reprieve from alcoholism.The best thing i ever done was go to AA,you will eventually get your life back and also it will be even better as long as you apply this programme to your daily living!!!Good luck to all who think they may need AA and the programme for living best wishes Theresa xx

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Lisa said on 22 August 2008

Well done!! As the daughter of a severe alcoholic its encouraging to read of success stories. I only wish my Dad would at least try-its the deceit and lies that are the hardest to deal with. Its as if he has chosen gin over his daughters and its so hard watching him kill himself and knowing that I will have to cope with that as well.

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Anonymous said on 14 July 2008

stu good luck. you will beat the demon have faith in yourself.

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stuart said on 14 July 2008

im on day 14 of my cold turkey and it gives me hope to read stories like this as i still have a long way to go but will do it for me and my family.

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Anonymous said on 13 June 2008

Good story, witha positive out come, Stick with it!!

I,m in the same position. but in somerset Its hard to find treatment.


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Media last reviewed: 07/08/2014

Next review due: 07/08/2016