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A SOLITARY drawing handed to Lynsey Good by her son Daniel as she lay helplessly in a hospital bed was the single biggest wake-up call a mother can get.

“Daniel handed me a picture he had drawn and I asked him who the yellow chicken was thinking it must be a character from a television programme. ‘It’s you, mummy,’ he replied and that was the moment a cold, hard realisation hit me like a tonne of bricks. I knew this had to stop,” the mum-of-three from Nuneaton explained.

An abusive relationship had quickly turned Lynsey into a serial alcoholic and the addiction had become so severe that she would regularly polish off 11 small bottles of a famous American liquor as well as several cans of cider. By the time she was rushed to hospital on 10th January 2013 with possible liver failure, Lynsey’s skin had turned a distinctive yellow colour and her two sons at the time Brandon, 15, and Daniel, 10, had already been living with her sister for two years with limited access to them.

“I’d lost everything – my children, my self-esteem, my life. I relied on the drink to block everything out and it soon became my food too as I would rarely even eat. Before the relapse that nearly killed me, I had gone to the doctors with my sister to tell them I needed help but they refused to help me and eventually I hit rock bottom,” she said.

The ‘yellow chicken’ picture, more than any advice from medical experts, spurred Lynsey on to beat her addiction as well as starting the long journey to get her children back.

“I was discharged after a couple of weeks and I walked into my off licence to buy a bottle of flavoured water and the owner instinctively put two bottles of liquor on the counter for me. I said to him ‘you’re having a laugh aren’t you – that stuff has almost just killed me,’ and he soon realised.”

Court battle

By now Lynsey was attending therapy sessions but there remained huge stumbling blocks in her way. She’d started the court battle with social services for her two sons but she was still living in the same flat where her life had spiralled out of control and there was also the small matter of a £10,000 debt to get her head around.

Anna Mitchell, support worker at Bromford, said: “Lynsey wasn’t happy where she was living so we found her an alternative house in an area she was far more comfortable in. We also set up regular payment plans so she was starting to face up to the debt and I went to a number of social services meetings with her.”

After proving she was free from alcohol, the 36-year-old won her court case and Brandon and Daniel were returned to her care. Now a mum-of-three following the arrival of 15 month old Niamh, Lynsey has still not touched a drop of alcohol since leaving hospital three years ago and now spends her money on redecorating the three-bed home she shares with her new partner.

Lynsey, who suffers from fibrosis of the liver meaning she can’t consume any salt in her diet, said: “When I was in that hospital bed I had a spiritual awakening and I said to myself it was now or never to fight for my kids. But I still didn’t know the best way to deal with certain things or stand on my own two feet and that’s where Bromford’s support was just invaluable.

“I now have a diary so I know exactly when my bills are coming out and if I see a letter about council tax I’ll now open it straight away.

“As for the alcohol, just the mere smell of it makes me physically sick and I now have people coming to me for advice – one of my friends asked me to speak to their daughter and now she’s in a Liverpool rehab clinic receiving the help she needs. Beating alcoholism has not only given me my family back but also meant I can focus on things like learning to drive. People suffering from this terrible illness need to believe in themselves and find that inner strength – I’m living proof that it’s never too late.”

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