Jackie McKenna

My Journey 


At 21 I got Married and moved to a different town,  That's when my Mother started to drink,

I suppose we were all growing up , going out , having our own lives and she found herself lonely,

So she would have the occasional drink at home,

At weekends when everyone was out she would sit at home alone and have a few at the fire watching the tv.

Then it went to every night , then eventually it took over her life, she was only 44 years old when I got married, the same age as I am now, she only started to have a drink at that age.

It got so bad that we helped her by sending her to a place in Galway called ChunMhuire ,  I remember the first time she went, it was so hard for us all to see her in this state, our Mother.... She stayed for the 12 week program

On the day she was due to come home we all gathered to welcome her , to make a fuss of her I suppose and let her know how proud we were of her

But when she came home , we knew she had been drinking, it was heartbreaking to watch this


It went on for months , my father eventually stopped drinking himself to see if it would help, but it didn't, it only got worse, so bad I fact that she left the family home,

Found herself a rundown flat and continued drinking, it was the hardest thing we ever had to do was watch a young woman do this to herself.


She tried again to get dry Moved back home, came to metwice a week to attend AA in the town I lived in, she was doing great, looked like herself again, when I was 30 she arrived at my party sober I was so proud of her because that was a big achievement for her.

Unfortunately she relapsed again shortly after that, and that's when things went from bad to worse,

She would go missing , she would call us individually to say her goodbyes and have us all out searching for her, expecting to find her dead.

But she would be alive thank god.

We would be very angry but also very relieved too.


Again she decided to go to Chun Mhuire again, my aunt (mammys sister) took her there early one morning after a very Bad drinking session, she stayed the 12 weeks again, came out got a lovely apartment of her own, things were looking good , I could breath again.

For a short while .........


It all went bad again, that bad that we decided to cut contact with her to see if she would change. But to no avail, she also had severe depression which no doubt was caused by alcohol. She attempted suicide a number of times. Through over doses and alcohol. But would call one of us to tell us she had done it so she would be found in time and saved.

Her depression only deepened and she began only to exist and nothing else , it was heartbreaking to see her this way , all the lies she would tell, all the plans she made thinking she could fool everyone,

It was a terrible terrible disease to have.


Eventually on November 18th 2009 My mother succeeded in talking her own life,

My Brother discovered her lifeless body in her bedroom that morning. She was just 59 years old. Too young . I guess she just knew that she would never be able to stop, and was afraid to ask for help, she had no life with the demon that is Alcohol.

She will be 7years passed soon, and I think that last year is when it really effected me,

I think I stayed too strong for everyone else. Or I blocked it out in some way I don't know how,  but it was also last year that I realised how depressed she was and had been most of her married life, but back then in the 70s & 80s it wasn't spoken about. There was a stigma attached. So my mother struggled her whole adult life with depression, which eventually led her to alcoholism which eventually led to her dying.

I miss my mother so so so much. I wish I could have helped herwith her alcoholism but I know that I tried and that there was nothing more I could have done.

I wish that I could have helped her with her depression had I have known then what I know now.

I pray that she is in a better place now, in fact I know she has to be, because she was in hell here when Alcohol took over her short life.

So the topic is Depression/Addiction, and my life was based on living with addiction as a child and a teenager.

I did drink when I was going out but thank god it didn't agree with me and I hate it , I'm quite happy and content to live without it.

But there are recovering Alcoholics out there, and I just want to say how much Admiration I have for each and every one of you. There are also people with depression out there too Please know that there is help out there and you may think that your family & Friends won't understand or don't have the time to help you, but the truth is , they do want to help and they do have the time. TELL SOMEONE. DON'T GIVEUP.

I know the struggle you have every single day. And I commend you all, sincerely for your effort and courage. Keep up the tremendous work you're doing and take one day at a time,  and always say daily your serenity prayer.


I miss my mother, I wish I'd known.

Stay strong for your children Please.


Twitter @Iamjackiemc

Doug Leddin