'My son has a whole new life now'
MARY Henderson didn't like it when her teenage son went to the local Waterford pub to play pool with his friends.
But she thought there wasn't much harm in it given that her late husband would often go for a quiet pint himself with his own friends, and could keep an eye on their young son.
"I just wish I'd known then what I know now about alcohol," she said.
"We first got an inkling that there was something wrong when George started having mood swings. He just wasn't his normal self. We knew there was something wrong.
"Then we noticed that he was drinking a lot. He had an accident and that brought everything to a head."
George was only 19 when Mary realised he had a problem with alcohol.
"In October 2004, we took him to Aislinn (Kilkenny teen addiction centre) for help. But he didn't go in (for treatment) at that stage.
"In 2006, his dad died and that brought things to a head. We went back to Aislinn and he went and did the full programme. He got a lot from it. He went back working and was getting his life together. But then he started drinking again. It wasn't as bad as before, there weren't the same problems at first.
"Then at 6.30am one morning in August 2012 George came to me and said he decided he needed to get help. It was his decision and that was what was important. He was too old to go back to Aislinn so he went to the Aiseiri centre in Wexford.
"He did the full programme, started going to aftercare meetings and his other meetings. He is 29 now, he has got his life back together and he has been sober since. He will be two years sober, a day at a time, next August."
She added: "It has been wonderful – George has a whole new group of friends, he has gotten involved in sport and his life is completely turned around. He was even nominated for an award.
"It is important to know that there is great help there in places like Aislinn and Aiseiri."