Susannah Constantine has spoken about reaching ‘rock bottom’ in her battle with alcoholism.
The 58-year-old spoke publicly for the first time about being an alcoholic on a podcast last month, sharing that she has been sober for seven years.
In an essay for the Mail, the fashion guru spoke about her illness, and said that she hit rock bottom when she fractured two bones in her back while drunk.
Susannah wrote: ‘To my great shame, I will never forget the time it was suggested that my husband should take me home from a friend’s 40th birthday because I could barely stand.
‘After years of waking up filled with shame and guilt and asking God for the four horsemen to take me away and not bring me back, I knew it was time. Drinking had ceased to be fun. I had ceased to be fun. I was no longer in control, it was controlling me.’
She continued: ‘My rock bottom came in 2013 while on holiday in Cornwall with my husband. I blacked out and fell, fracturing two small bones in my back. I woke up, in terrible agony, on the pavement and realised I needed help.
‘I called a friend — she called another friend — and within days I was at my first AA meeting.’
Susannah added that she has not missed a weekly meeting since, although this has been affected by lockdown.
The TV star said that recognising the problem is the first step to recovery, and explained that it was easy for her to deny that she had a problem because she never drank during the day.
After stopping drinking, Susannah undertook a number of physical challenges including Tough Guy for Sport Relief, and now enjoys wild swimming.
Having been in recovery since 2013, the What Not To Wear star discussed her alcoholism on the podcast My Mate Bought A Toaster last month.
She said: ‘I am in recovery, so I’m an alcoholic. I’ve been in recovery for nearly seven years now.
‘At that time, as an addict, often what you would do and certainly what I did, I would put all my own defects and find someone else to attach them to.
‘And so I thought that my husband was passive-aggressive, but actually I was the one that was passive-aggressive, and that I’ve realised over time and being in recovery.
Speaking about the moment she realised she was an alcoholic, Susannah said: ‘It was so liberating. I felt a lot of shame most of the time, but when I realised that, the relief was so immense because I could change it.
‘I wasn’t having to try and change someone else, it was down to me. I was responsible and accountable for becoming a better person and getting sober and well. So it was the most extraordinary relief to have that lightbulb moment.’
The former Strictly Come Dancing star added that her alcoholism never affected her work, describing herself as ‘highly functioning’.
Susannah’s friend and What Not To Wear partner Trinny Woodall has also been open about her issues around alcohol and drugs, after first taking cocaine aged 16.
The star first ended up in rehab aged 21 after an overdose, and told the Spectator: ‘I’d always hated alcohol, but over the next five years I developed a drink problem. I drank a bottle of vodka a night, with cocaine and pills. And I started to get into trouble. Not the kind of trouble that ended in prison, but it ended up with me feeling lonely and isolated.
‘Every night I’d tell myself, “This is my last time,” and the next day I’d end up using again.’
Trinny spent a number of stints in rehab over the next few years, admitting she hit ‘rock bottom’, but got sober, and celebrated 30 years of sobriety in September.
Susannah and Trinny shot to fame in 2001 when the fashion advisers launched their style series What Not To Wear on the BBC, and have since released numerous fashion advice books, designed clothing ranges and fronted fashion segments on shows like The Oprah Winfrey Show.
She has three children with husband Sten – Cece, 16, Esme, 19, and Joe, 21.
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