Lisa's story

Lisa’s life spiralled out of control with alcohol, drugs, violence and prison. With help from the Violence Reduction Unit, she’s turned everything around and is now living life as the person she’s always wanted to be.

In Lisa's words...

The risks I faced when drinking alcohol were getting into fights, spending all of my money on alcohol, missing important appointments, and that family and friends weren’t interested in me. 

I was more likely to take drugs and carry a weapon when drinking alcohol. I also ended up in prison because of my actions when drinking alcohol. I put my family through hell and I couldn’t think straight. 

However, the risks I faced when not drinking were feeling low and having to face my problems.

When I was under the influence of alcohol I never worried I’d cause harm to myself but I did think I would cause harm to others. I actually did cause harm to others as I used knives and I couldn’t make proper decisions. 

At times, I did have fear before drinking. I would think about what could happen, where I might end up, and if the people I was with were trustworthy. But I was lonely so I would go. Sometimes I would enter somewhere already paranoid and drink alcohol to feel better.

I definitely behaved in a manner that was influenced by alcohol. I was much quieter when I was sober and alcohol gave me fake confidence—it was like being someone I wasn’t.

I first realised alcohol was a problem for me when at times my hands would shake when I was sober. Although I never felt the cravings for alcohol, at times I did drink by myself. I was always thinking about alcohol and planning when my next sesh would be.

Lisa's challenges

My past does still impact my life and I struggled to get a job before I started working for the Violence Reduction Unit. People also think I’m a terrible person and that I still behave like I used to. I get judged and I worry this will impact my son’s life.


When I was drinking a lot, I had just lost care of my son and come out of a 5-year violent relationship. I wasn’t close with my family because of my relationship, I kept going back to the relationship and they couldn’t understand why. I had chaotic friends who drank and partied with me. My heart was broken by the violent relationship and alcohol seemed to help with my sadness.

I never grew up seeing anyone heavily involved with alcohol but drugs were in my household. It was chaotic and I saw violence at a young age. I didn’t have any positive people in my life when I was drinking alcohol.  

The positive people and surroundings I have today were non-existent back then. Now I have this positivity in my life and I can see why it’s so crucial. If you have chaotic people in your life, they suck you down with them, whether they mean to or not. Positive people and positive vibes are so important.

Lisa's lessons

When I look back, there were many regrets. I harmed people physically, I abused my body with alcohol and I lost a hell of a lot. I have taken responsibility for the harm I caused, I was in jail for this. I acknowledge it was wrong and in no way do I try to justify it. A lot of people suffered when I drank alcohol. 

I 100% think that I am, and have been, resilient. I have got back up every time something has put me down. And I always will now. I have had my second son and he made me change my life. I couldn’t lose another child or live with more guilt or heartbreak. 

Looking back, when I was trying to change my life, it was 50/50 for me. It was so hard not to just pick up a drink when I was sad, happy or bored. But on the other hand, it was so easy because it was my son or the alcohol. It was a no-brainer for me.

I remember thinking I couldn’t be who I wanted to be. I couldn’t be a good person because of the area I was from. Now I’ve realised it’s absolutely not the case. You can be ANYBODY you want to be and do ANYTHING you want to do. I’m just gutted it’s taken me to 26 years old to realise this. I’ve wasted a lot of years but at least I know it now.

"If I could speak to my younger self today I’d tell her not to be who they want you to be, don’t do what they expect you to do. Be the person you are deep inside, dig her out and be her and you will have nothing to worry about. This is not your ending!"
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