Solace Founder

"Every single person is worthy and every single person deserves a chance"

poured me a glass of life

my story

I was happily married with beautiful children. I had great success freelancing as a Casting Director and was surrounded with a wonderful handful of very close friends, a loving family and a wide social circle. 


Intelligent, bubbly and successful. Life was good.  In these early days, there were no signs that my alcohol intake was a problem. A glass of wine when cooking and a bottle of wine when I needed to chill or socialise. Simply put, a good Sauvignon fixed everything.  Then the decline began, slowly at first. The word ‘alcoholic’ felt nasty and degrading; said forcefully it takes down the strongest of people. In the very end, I needed up to six bottles of wine per day to maintain any sort of function, and most of all just to breathe. 

My biggest downfall came from not knowing how to ask for help. I desperately needed to understand the reasons I was drinking and have someone support me through it. By my late 30’s, my world could only turn with alcohol. What ensued was a slow decline into addiction, quickly followed by overdrive on a road to hell. I was a passenger in a vehicle that I owned but addiction was the driver. I looked the same, however, nothing worked unless I fuelled it with alcohol. I began to experience incredibly horrible flat days with empty emotions and I didn’t know why. I certainly didn’t believe it was due to my now 2 bottles of wine per evening. 


Once the ‘A’ word was out, my world started to crumble. My best bits didn’t matter to anyone anymore. Understandably it became all about me and alcohol. I got caught in a dangerous cycle -  I would stop drinking, then start again when I thought I had it under control. Rehabs, Section 8 AOD Act - every time, I lost more and more of me. All of my self-respect disappeared and dreams no longer existed. The nice homes, the car, the friendships the marriage - it all collapsed. I watched my life collapsing right in front of me, but I kept holding the bottle tight. 


Then came the inevitable. 


My eldest son finally had to close the door on me and I was left empty. I believed there was no turning back from this. I didn’t know how to seek help or where I would find it. I quietly entered my third and final Rehab in early 2014. Malnourished and completely broken, I found myself at rock bottom. I truly believed I was no longer worthy of any love, let alone any further help. 


Two things happened. One of the few friends that I had left in the world, researched and found Capri Hospital. Then the words “Just get here Denise. We will take care of YOU after that.’’ They were the only words I heard. I was to discover through the treatment journey that the addiction gene lay within me. That underlying issues and huge anxiety that I had never been able to deal with had played a huge part in my self-medicating. I learnt that I wasn’t a bad person trying to be good, I was just very unwell.  


Within a few weeks my health started to return and hope began to flicker within me. On day 18 at Capri Hospital in 2014, I finally chose Life over Wine. The fight was on. I had decided that my sons and my family were going to have me back. After 18 years, addiction took the back seat and I was in control of a long and strong journey back home to ME. Everything returned to me slowly, but with more strength and passion than I had ever experienced. My family and friends came along beside me again. I had amazing people supporting me who had walked this path before me. Most importantly, my sons returned to me - once again they wanted me in their life and our love was stronger than ever. 


The correct treatment was what finally gave me the tools to accept, understand, let go and want a better life for myself - without alcohol in it. The psychological aspect of addiction is so often misunderstood by both those experiencing it and by those that love and care for the person living it. It’s considered a weakness and hard to talk about, which causes loneliness that fuels the problem. Addiction is a battle for all those involved, but with the right help, you can beat it. 


For the past 2 years I have been working at Capri Hospital talking collectively with the person reaching out for help and to those standing by them. With the closing of Capri Hospital in 2016, I established ‘Seeking Solace’, enabling my passion to help light the path to good treatment for those suffering from Alcohol and other Drugs (AOD) substance abuse. 


Every single person is worthy and every single person deserves a chance. 


If you or someone you know needs help, get in touch now!