When WAGS get together there’s talk of everything from families to fashion. But this group is in its own league in supporting women with an addiction.
WAGS – Women’s Addiction Group Support - was born from the experiences of Jayne Barton and Denise Sayers. Both had long term battles with alcohol addiction.
Denise spent years in rehabilitation before realising that depression was fuelling her addiction. “I’d enjoy a bottle of wine after work. But after I got divorced one bottle became two. I knew every relapse prevention technique. What I didn’t realise was that I was drinking to block out depression. Windsor Clinic staff helped get my medication right and the group’s been good for me.
Jayne was 28 when she began drinking after a relationship breakdown. “I partied hard then I lost my job and my confidence hit rock bottom. I needed to drink just to leave the house – everyone else would stop but I couldn’t. “Sometimes I yearn to go back to the times before it was a problem. But I know that as soon as you cross that line you’ll go back to the depths of chaos very quickly. It happens in the blink of an eye.
“I’m from a super close family. Being able to be part of that again feels good and being in the group is a chance to help other people feel that too.” She and Denise share a passion for the group. “We let off steam, help each other stay positive and motivated...and we also have a joke about other things not related to addiction.”
Another member, Mary, uses the group to keep busy. She was drinking a half bottle of vodka a day. “I was happily married but I lacked confidence. I’d drink on my own at home. I didn’t cause mayhem, I was just a pain. I enjoy the group, we talk about all kinds of things.”
Denise is clear about its role. “We’re mentors here, we don’t all swap numbers or meet socially, but we have a bond. Addicts don’t want to live in the past, but we do need to revisit it every now and again.”