A 37-year-old career woman and mother-of-two who plummeted into alcoholism has revealed how she sank into drinking a litre of vodka a day.
And courageous Emma Hogg told how she has fought back against her addiction and is now celebrating being booze free.
Emma says she enjoyed having a social drink with her friends but after she gave birth to her daughter three years ago her drinking began to spiral out of control.
Suffering from post-natal depression, she found it difficult balancing looking after her son, who is now seven, and her newborn daughter.
The former finance worker soon started adding a miniature bottle of vodka to her soft drinks on the way home, but at her lowest point was drinking up to a litre of neat vodka a day.
Proud Emma, from Dunbar, East Lothian, has now become the 500th person to graduate from NHS Lothian’s LEAP programme, which treats addiction.
She said: “When I was in the height of my addiction, drink always won, the disease always won, even over my own children.
“You have to make the choice between giving up everything for one thing, or giving up one thing for everything.”
Emma, who is now 100 days sober, was eventually forced to leave her family home and move into supported accommodation.
She then began working with a support worker from Mid and East Lothian Drugs (MELD), who referred her to LEAP last year.
She said: “I didn’t really think I had a problem for a long time. Even when I was being referred to LEAP, I thought I didn’t need their help and I could do it on my own.”
The 12-week programme gives addicts clinical, medical and therapeutic help at the Astley Ainslie Hospital in Edinburgh.
Last week Emma graduated from the LEAP programme, taking part in a special ceremony.
She added: “It’s the best and hardest thing I’ve done in my life and I’m so pleased I’ve done it. The staff are great.
“You come in and say you’re feeling fine, they know you’re not fine.
“They know more about me than I know about myself. I didn’t think I could have a life again but I am getting it back. LEAP has given me the shoes and now I have to walk in them.”
Half of LEAP graduates over the past five years are still sober, with 66% remaining sober if they completed after-care regimes.
Speaking at Emma’s graduation, Dr David McCartney – clinical lead for LEAP – said: “Today is a really special day for Emma because it marks a key point in her recovery. It is also a major achievement for us because Emma has become our 500th graduate.
“LEAP is a challenging and intensive programme aimed at those with the motivation to become substance-free.
“It’s not an easy route but we believe part of our success is down to our partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council and the charity Transition, and also due to the after-care programme we offer which involves peer-support groups and counselling over two years.”