Emmerdale's former cast member Alicya Eyo has spoken candidly about checking into rehab after leaving the soap.
Portrayer of Ruby Haswell between 2011 and 2015, she marked Mental Health Awareness Week by joining the Soap from the Box podcast this week to discuss her alcoholism.
Her episode premieres tomorrow (Sunday, May 16).
"I ended up losing everything, including myself," she shares. "That was the main thing. So I went to a rehab. They helped me figure out why I was doing what I was doing."
Alicya adds: "It was the best and the worst three months of my life, if I'm being honest. I was a bit scared of going to rehab and people knowing who I am. I think that's why I put it off, and I did put it off for quite a long time simply for that reason.
"That people would recognise me and judge me. But actually the facility I went to there was no judgement whatsoever. It was brilliant. They made me openly talk about it and feel ok about it."
However, the UK's second national lockdown due to coronavirus proved difficult for Alicya, as she further recalls: "Then the first lockdown we had, all fine, all good. Then this lockdown has been really difficult for me.
"Fortunately I've had the support of my mum, my brother and my partner who have got me through it. I've really, really suffered. You're just scared of going back to where you were before."
The star continues: "I learnt so much about myself in rehab, it was amazing and I spent a good few years sober and then this hit. I just found it so hard. If you have mental health issues initially then lockdown just heightens things.
"The thing is, people need to speak about it more. Get help, that's it, get help. I think people are maybe suffering now when they weren't before, so if you are suffering, please reach out."
Alcohol Change UK offers information, advice and support with their questions about drinking and the problems that can sometimes be caused by alcohol. For more information, visit Alcohol Change UK's website. Drinkline also offers free, confidential advice to anyone who is concerned about their own or someone else's drinking on 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am–8pm, weekends 11am–4pm).
Readers can also contact Drinkaware.
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