Woman given 24 hours to live after drinking three litres of vodka every day
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A mum-of-two who was given 24 hours to live after suffering with multiple organ failure has opened up about her struggles with alcohol addiction.
Charlotte Durcan, from Colne, Lancashire, says her addiction only began three years ago, having previously classed herself as a non-drinker as she’d only drink occasionally.
However, the self-confessed ‘extremist’ suddenly found herself getting through three litres of vodka a day, and would start having seizures and blackouts.
She told LancsLive: "I drank to the extreme and that's my personality, I don't do things by halves.
"It's always everything is the furthest I can take it, in a sense. I was drinking really heavily and basically, it grabbed me."
It dawned on Durcan that she had a serious problem when she realised she physically couldn't go without a drink, as she would start ‘shaking and sweating’.
She said: "In the mornings, I would have to have a drink, just to level me out.
"It would be vodka and that would be a pint of vodka neat. That would be literally to stop me from shaking and stop me from being too sick and sweating - that'd work.
"From there, it would just carry on throughout the day, but obviously, when money went tight and things, I would try and get family to get me drink. I was using all my money up on drink, so they'd sometimes only be able to get me bottles of wine and things.
"Then I started to realise it was a problem, when I could have a full bottle of wine and it wouldn't affect me."
After blacking out again, she went to hospital for the first time, where she was kept in for several days before returning home.
But when she got back, she got ‘straight back to the drink’ after four days off and ended up back in hospital again – a pattern that continued three or four times.
"The last time, I ended up in intensive care with multiple organ failure," Charlotte continued.
"I had heart failure, liver failure, kidney failure and they had to take two litres of fluid from my lungs and I was in for three weeks, but I couldn't move, I couldn't speak, I couldn't talk.
"So I was in intensive care, I was on oxygen and they got all of my family in to say bye to me. I was literally on end of life care."
Durcan’s family were told she had just 24 hours to live and they rushed to her bedside at 2am.
However, she somehow ‘managed to pull through’, and went to rehab – having now amazingly celebrated 11 months of sobriety.
Durcan now volunteers for Inspire Lancashire, which has a new alcohol awareness campaign called Hidden in Plain Sight, which focused on those with addictions who may not appear to be suffering on the outside, but are battling inner demons.
"My story is a lot different to other people's," Durcan said.
"I think people think that you have to be an alcoholic for so many years or start off as a drinker, then a binge drinker and then you're an alcoholic. Whereas, I'm trying to raise awareness that it can literally happen to you so quickly, without you even realising and then it can be too late for some people.
"I was close to dying, all of my family thought I was going to die, but I didn't have a clue because I was so out of it. That was my outcome after two years of drinking heavily."
She said stopping cold turkey would have most likely killed her, but Inspire Lancashire helped her get into rehab so that she could stop drinking gradually.
Durcan is now hoping to get to a year of sobriety, before looking into full-time employment.