Helpline experiences of a volunteer, Martin’s story

“Answering the phone to a distressed woman can be a difficult start, especially when she tells you that she has been conditioned to believe that her upbringing in an alcoholic family is ‘normal’ and never to talk to anyone outside the family about the ‘secret’. Fifteen years on and she is still struggling, even though she knows it is wrong and wants to know what to do. Where can she get help when no one will believe her?

Being able to reassure her that I do believe her, she is not alone and that things can get better certainly helped. I could hear the change in her voice when she started to realise that she wasn’t alone with these feelings, someone really does believe her and that there are genuine people, at the end of the phone, who want to help.

She said to me “The sense of relief is unbelievable, someone believes me at last!”

The call started with tears and ended with laughter. What better reason to be on the helpline?”