Dad is on the road to recovery after battle with alcohol

A dad who turned to alcohol in a desperate bid to block out the pain caused by his depression is finally looking to the future after reaching out for help.

Monday, 19th December 2016, 5:00 am
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 2:12 pm
Karl Ridley turned to alcohol to battle his depression - he is now in recovery and looking forward to the future.

Karl Ridley says he now wishes he sought support sooner after the loss of his job and breakdown of his marriage sent him on downward spiral.

The 34-year-old turned to alcohol in a bid to block out his pain, ending up drinking up to 30 cans a day.

“I had lost everything and then I lost my house. I was drinking and eventually I was put on really strong anti-depressants.

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“I started self-harming and was suicidal.

“I was in a very dark and horrible place, my head was all over, I couldn’t see a way out. I tried detox but I just went straight back on the drink.”

It was on one of his number of trips to hospital as a result of seizures he had started to suffer from, he was given information on self-help groups.

Mr Ridley added: “I was a nervous person so I didn’t feel I could ask for help. But I managed to find it in me to go and get help and I haven’t looked back.

“It has completely changed my life. I’m more confident and I’m starting to look forward to the future.

“It’s not that easy, it has been really difficult, but I’m so glad I didn’t give up - I just wish I’d asked for help sooner.

“I can’t change that now, I am where I am all I can do is keep looking forward and keep taking one step at a time.”

Karl is slowly being taken off his anti-depressants and is looking forward to moving into his own flat and one day getting back into work.

“I just hope by telling my story, where I was and where I am now, it’ll give someone else hope that it can be done.”

Jacqui Reeves, services manager at Washington Mind said: “Most of us when having an alcoholic beverage feel more relaxed and talkative.

“We’ve had a tough day and we want to loosen up or its Christmas and we have several parties or events to attend. It’s ok and in small doses we enjoy having a drink.

“However, these positive effects are only seen when we drink small amounts.

“Mental health problems are not only the consequences of too much drinking. Mental Health problems can also cause people to drink too much.”

Jacqui added: “We often work alongside people who have had a bereavement or loss of some kind and they tell us they found it difficult to sleep, and a glass of wine then helped them to sleep.

“Then one glass wasn’t enough to help them to sleep so a second was needed, then a third. This is how alcohol can creep up on us and before you know it we have a bereavement issue and an alcohol issue hand in hand.”

Resources are available online for those looking for help to cut down including diaries,impact calculators. For more information visit

Our series of articles in the run-up to Christmas, supported by Washington Mind, aims to encourage people to reach out to others and let those struggling know help and support is available.

Today, people are being asked to think about signing up for Dry January and raising some money for charity. Visit

Anyone who needs access to more structured treatment services contact Wear Recovery, the Sunderland Integrated Substance and Misuse Treatment and Harm Reduction Service by calling 0800 234 6798.