Background to the Conference - in memory of Amy
This conference is a tribute to my daughter Amy, and speaks out on her behalf to give voice to the changes that need happen to prevent more deaths from alcohol addiction.
It has come about as a result of the intense grief I have experienced since she died in 2019.
For the last ten years of her life, I watched Amy being slowly destroyed by alcohol. She was a beautiful, charismatic and an extraordinary woman, and to know Amy was to love her.
Amy was funny, unpredictable and always exciting to be with. But during her twenties, her dependence on alcohol became an addiction, and she lost control of her life.
Slowly cutting herself off from friends and family, she drank alone in her apartment, regularly ending up collapsed on the floor, injuring herself and experiencing epileptic fits when she tried to reduce her alcohol intake too quickly.
She could not understand why she was unable to stop drinking, and because of the shame she felt, she tried desperately to hide her illness from everyone.
As the alcohol began to damage her brain, her quick witted mind became affected she knew this and it scared her.
As family we didn’t know how to help her, often with the best of intentions we did the wrong thing, and made matters worse.
We all felt frightened, helpless and very alone.
Amy didn’t get the help she needed, and she died all alone one night on the floor of her bedroom after drinking wine, and falling and hitting her head.
As her family, we didn’t get the help we needed to understand her condition and to know how to help her.
My grief and anger at Amy’s preventable death made me determined to make a difference. I want anyone affected by alcohol addiction to get better support than Amy, or we, did.
This conference is my tribute to Amy, and anyone else whose li fe has been damaged by alcohol.
Please join us, because Amy’ s voice carries an important message about changes that need to happen in order prevent others dying as she did.
Our speakers are all top experts, who have devoted their careers to increasing our understanding about alcohol. They will show us how dangerous it can be, the damage it does to the body, and how the latest research is teaching us new ways to approach treatment and recovery.
We will show how families and friends can be centrally involved in the support and recovery of their loved ones.
Our speakers will show why alcohol addiction should be recognised as a mental health condition which needs holistic assessment of both the physical and emotional state of sufferers when they first seek help.
We will talk about the way society views alcohol addiction, and why this stigma costs the lives of many sufferers every year.
We will focus on workplace drinking, and show how businesses can face up to this increasing problem and support workers better.
We’ll hear from those with lived experience of alcohol dependence, and listen to their stories about about how they battled addiction and found a pathway into recovery.
Finally, we’ll look at the services we have for anyone suffering with alcohol addiction, and how these need to change.
Amy has died, and we mourn her every day. My hope is that by holding this conference, it might mean that someone’s else’s, daughter, son, sister, father, mother, brother or friend, can be saved.