06 March 2024

Navigating retirement: It's never too late to make a change

A smiling woman in a white blouse stands in front of a colorful community bulletin board filled with flyers, drawings, and decorative flowers.
I had worked every day since I was 16 and then there was… nothing. So I started drinking. 

Pauline, 61, Glasgow

Pauline's story

Pauline works on reception at the Glasgow Recovery Hub. She faced challenges with alcohol and was supported by WithYou before becoming a volunteer with the DrinkWise project.

Where did it all start?

"My issues didn’t start until I was in my 50s and I took early retirement from work. I worked in education. I had worked every day since I was 16 and then there was… nothing. The first year of retirement was fine, I went on holiday, decorated my house. But after that… nothing. My youngest daughter was still at school so I was getting up in the morning and getting her ready. My house was spotless, my washing was done, but that only took a couple of hours every day. So I started drinking.

"I ended up being hospitalised four times due to my alcohol intake. After the fourth time, I stopped drinking."

What is life like now?

"Now, I work on reception at the Glasgow Recovery Hub and have a few clients of my own. What I love about the job is that if people come in a really bad way, we can help them turn their life around. I absolutely love it.

"I also run a group for people over 50s who are dealing with alcohol issues. Having lived through it myself, I think it makes a huge difference. We've all been there, done it – hiding bottles of vodka here, there, and everywhere. We can identify with that.

"That’s what's so good about our group on a Friday. We all have different stories, but we’re all over 50, and we all had issues with alcohol. It's a place where we can share, support each other, and find understanding."

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