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Mum given just 24 hours to live after drinking three litres of vodka every day

Jess Hardiman

Published 
| Last updated 

Mum given just 24 hours to live after drinking three litres of vodka every day

Featured Image Credit: MEN Media

A mum with a serious alcohol addiction has marked 11 months of sobriety – having been given just 24 hours to live after drinking three pints of vodka every day.

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Charlotte Durcan, from Colne in Lancashire, started drinking excessively three years ago, saying she previously would have considered herself a non-drinker as she only dabbled occasionally.

But things soon escalated, and she saw herself not only getting through three litres of vodka a day, but also experiencing blackouts and seizures.

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She is now celebrating 11 months of sobriety and is volunteering for Inspire Lancashire as part of its new alcohol awareness campaign Hidden in Plain Sight, which focuses on people with addictions who may not appear to be suffering on the outside, but are battling with their inner demons – which can sometimes even lead to fatalities.

Charlotte Durcan. Credit: MEN Media
Charlotte Durcan. Credit: MEN Media

Mum-of-two Durcan said: "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."

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When she found she couldn’t go without a drink, and would start ‘shaking and sweating’, she knew it had become a serious problem.

"In the mornings, I would have to have a drink, just to level me out,” Durcan said.

"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.

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"Then I started to realise it was a problem, when I could have a full bottle of wine and it wouldn't affect me."

She went to hospital for the first time after experiencing another blackout, and was kept in for a few days.

However, when she went home, she ‘went straight back to the drink’ despite having four days without it – a continuous cycle that happened three or four times.

"The last time, I ended up in intensive care with multiple organ failure," Durcan continued.

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Durcan suffered heart failure, liver failure, kidney failure and more. Credit: MEN Media
Durcan suffered heart failure, liver failure, kidney failure and more. Credit: MEN Media

"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."

Her family were told she had just 24 hours to live and they rushed to be at her bedside at 2.00am.

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But she miraculously ‘managed to pull through’, and after recovering she took it as a wake-up call to go to rehab, with the help of Inspire Lancashire.

The team helped her stop gradually, with Durcan saying stopping cold turkey would have most likely killed her.

She believes addiction is often associated with people who have been struggling for years.

"My story is a lot different to other people's," Durcan explained.

"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 is now hoping to mark a year of sobriety, after which Durcan plans on finding full-time employment.

Please drink responsibly. If you want to discuss any issues relating to alcohol in confidence, contact Drinkline on 0300 123 1110, 9am–8pm weekdays and 11am–4pm weekends for advice and support

Topics: UK News, Health, UOKM8, Real Life

Jess Hardiman
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