“I joined the Army in the 1990s to escape my home life. I have spent years running away and been afraid and felt joining the forces would finally give me a place of belonging.
“I have served with the Coldtream Guards and worked with the Royal Military Police before finally becoming an office clerk.
“Over the years I juggled my military career with my personal life and eventually settled down and had children.
Cracks begin to appear
“At first everything was great but, over the years, I noticed that cracks began to appear in my relationship. It was little things at first and over time I noticed a more controlling and domineering side to my husband. Finally, after years of being browbeaten and feeling low and depressed, I plucked up the courage to leave a toxic marriage.
“This was when everything really escalated. I was refused access to my children, I was homeless and the control and domineering moved from 100% to 1000%. I felt so low and alone and didn’t know where to turn.
“I began drinking to help cope with my emotions. I recognised what I was doing and actively sought help. My husband used this as a weakness and tried to turn social services, my children’s school and everyone against me.
You are trained to be fierce, strong and brave but, for me, being brave was making that first phone call– Allison
“Joining With You for the Armed Forces Community was my final hope. I was so scared ringing and asking for help but I am so glad I did.
“I was given a veterans dedicated support lead who listened and allowed me to cry and tell my story without feeling judged. Everything happened really quickly, I recognised my alcohol consumption was heightened by emotional triggers. My veterans worker gave me one-to-one support and we worked on managing these.
Asking for help
“I was able to speak to other veterans and serving personnel who understood and were in the same shoes as me. As well as work on myself, my worker linked me with other veterans’ support services for mental health, housing and domestic violence. She also supported me every step of the way with social services.
“When you’re in the forces it can be difficult asking for help due to the stigma around alcohol. You are trained to be fierce, strong and brave. However, for me, being brave was making that first phone call to With You.
“I’m so glad I did. These days I am happy and alcohol free. I am in a new loving relationship, I have my own accommodation and, most of all, I have full custody of my children.
“I cannot thank With You for the Armed Forces Community enough and strongly encourage anyone – veteran or serving – to ask for help if they need it.”