'This is my home away from home'


Published 01/01/2013 | 11:52

Ethel O'Connell gets some advice from Aubrey Melville, founder and coordinator of the Bill W Club.

MOST OF those who use the Bill W Club are women.

Ethel O'Connell, from Caltragh, is one of them.

An alcoholic who mostly drank at home, she is now sober for a year and seven months. And she's looking and feeling well.

For that, she thanks the Bill W Club and its founder, Aubrey Melville.

She explained how her recovery began.

"A family member asked Aubrey to come to my daughter's house to help me. He told me there was a better life than drinking and if I didn't stop, I would be dead.

"I was drinking for about three years before. In the end, I realised I had a problem.

"Everybody was saying it to me but I had kept drinking anyway.

"In the end, I was sitting in the house where I used to live and I felt if I kept on doing this I would die, and that my grandkids would never get to know me.

"I decided then I wanted to live, that I wanted to be with my grandkids and help them."

After meeting Aubrey, Ethel began visiting the Bill W Club regularly. There, she met people with problems to her own.

She said: "We are like family in here. If one is missing, the others are looking for them. There is a comraderie here.

"If one person has a problem, the others will help to sort it out."

Having been mainly a house drinker, Ethel finds visiting the Bill W Club particularly helpful.

She said: "I am here every day from about 11 in the morning to nine or ten at night.

"This is my home away from home. And if I ring Aubrey at four or six in the morning, he will come out to me.

"He has done a lot for people in here and not half recognised for it.

"This is our home. If this place closes, I have no place to go."

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