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Make the call, make the change – ‘Stanhope Centre saved my life’

One woman tells of her struggle with alcoholism and the turn-around when she found help in the Stanhope Centre, which has been helping people with addiction for nearly a half-century.

Stanhope Centre Plaque at Stanhope Street Rehabilitation Centre, Dublin 7. Image by Taylor Mooney 

Alcohol is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. For many, it is a social lubricant to ease the pain of awkwardness at the office Christmas party – but for others, alcohol is a crutch that cannot be kicked. 

Stanhope Centre in Lower Grangegorman has been helping problem drinkers and concerned persons with alcohol abuse since 1977. The centre offers a range of programmes to those suffering from a drinking problem, including relapse prevention programmes, day and night programmes, continuing care programmes along with personal, couples and family therapy. 

On average, in Ireland, every person aged 15 years and older consumes 10.8 litres of pure alcohol in one year. This is equivalent to either 40 bottles of vodka, 113 bottles of wine, or 436 pints of beer, according to a report published by the Health Research Board (HRB) in April 2021. 

Often alcoholism is not only a problem for the consumer. It can have both physical and mental effects on those around them too. 

  The entrance of Stanhope Centre, Dublin 7. Image by Taylor Mooney

Realising that her family was also struggling with her problem drinking, is what made mother-of-four Catherine Lynch – not her real name, as she wishes to remain anonymous pick up the phone and call Stanhope Centre. 

Lynch explains how it took her 11-year-old child to confront her for her to make the change that she needed to make.  

“Seeing the fear, anxiety and hurt in her eyes, made something click. I decided I needed some help, I had to show my family I was serious, and so I decided to call Stanhope Street,” says Lynch. 

Although she thought about quitting drinking in the past, Lynch says she found it easier to “pour a big fancy glass of unmeasured gin and slimline tonic, instead of seeking help.”  

Her journey started on a Monday morning in July 2020. 

“I was terrified making the call. There were so many thoughts running around my head. I felt like I was going to explode.  

“I was telling myself I was being silly and that I could just cut back drinking alcohol during the week. I didn’t want to stop drinking altogether. What would I do at weekends? At Christmas and on holidays?

 “When the guy answered the phone, my heart stopped. I told him my name and asked if I could make an appointment to talk to someone.” 

Lynch attended Stanhope Centre where she talked to a counsellor about her problem drinking and how it made her feel. She continued to do an outpatient’s course.  

Here, Lynch was educated about alcohol and its effects on the individual, the family, and your life.  

“I felt very safe here. It was a place where I could talk and listen and not be judged,” says Lynch. 

Lynch has not drank alcohol in 19 months. “I have got through a lockdown, a holiday, two Christmases and two New Years without any alcohol,” she says. 

She says life is still mostly the same as it used to be in regard to family life, school runs, housework and homework. She and her husband still “bicker like teenagers”, she laughs.  

However, Lynch is confident that something important has changed. 

“I’m living free of shame, living honestly, having a new respect for myself, my health, for my children and my husband. I am able to look in the mirror and know that I am being true.” 

Catherine still attends regular counselling at Stanhope Centre, both in person and through phone calls.  

“I am worth it. Stanhope Centre saved my life. Guided me on the right path and encouraged me to do the work. I am so grateful now I believe I can.” 

“I am worth it. Stanhope Centre saved my life. Guided me on the right path and encouraged me to do the work. I am so grateful now I believe I can.” 

‘Catherine lynch’, stanhope centre

For information and advice on alcohol consumption please visit the HSE website.  

For information on coping with a drinking problem as a drinker or family member, you can contact Stanhope Centre at:

Stanhope Centre
Lower Grangegorman 
Dublin 7 

Phone: 01 – 677 3965 / 677 9447
Fax: 01 – 677 8469

Email: stanhope.centre@hse.ie

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