A MUM who lost her only daughter to alcoholism and anorexia has chosen Alcohol Awareness Week to speak out about her 16-year battle to find help.

Rebecca Cracknell, who lived in Breach Barns mobile home park in Waltham Abbey, died in December at the age of 32.

Her death followed a struggle with alcohol addiction and anorexia that began when Becca was a schoolgirl in Broxbourne.

"They both really started about the same time at about 16," said mum Jacque, 60.

"She was a very clever girl. She'd got all her GCSEs and her A-levels.

“She started drinking at sleepovers.  In her last year at school one of her friends said to me 'Becca's really proud because she managed to get by on a Mars bar’."

On her 18th birthday, Mrs Cracknell took Becca to an eating disorder clinic.

"She came out in floods of tears saying 'they told me they can't do anything about it till I get my drinking sorted out’," she said.

"It was very difficult getting the help."

Moving to Waltham Abbey at 21, Becca's illness worsened. She became dependent on vodka and her weight plummeted to five and a half stone.

"If I couldn't get hold of her on the phone, I was terrified of finding her dead in bed,” said Mrs Cracknell, who spent years taking her daughter to doctors and clinics in a bid to find help.

Becca was forced to give up her job as an office manager at 26 and, in 2008, suffered multiple organ failure and nearly died.

Finally mother and daughter were referred to the Harlow-based West Essex Alcohol and Drugs Service (ADAS) and Drug and Alcohol Team (CDAT) and Becca's health began to improve.

"I was just so happy. She was doing so well. She wasn't having to hold my arm," said Mrs Cracknell.

"She'd got up to eight and a half stone, she'd cut down on her alcohol.

"She was learning to drive, she was looking forward to passing her test.

"She said to me the two things that really made a difference were having the counselling at ADAS and CDAT.”

But Becca’s alcoholism and eating disorder had left her with undiagnosed osteoporosis and she died at her boyfriend's Waltham Abbey home on December 14 after breaking her ribs in a tragic accident.

"Alcohol has taken everything away from me," said Mrs Cracknell.

"This is my baby. I remember her growing inside me. She was beautiful."

Mrs Cracknell continues to visit ADAS, seeing the same councillor she saw with Becca.

"ADAS have been absolutely wonderful," she said.

"There's so many youngsters walking around with anorexia and I know a lot of them have alcoholism too.

"There's so many people that need the help. I'd love to pick them up and take them there."

  • ADAS offers help to people living in West Essex who are concerned about their drinking. For more information, visit www.adasuk.org, call 01279 438716 or email phil@adasuk.org.
  • Alcohol Awareness Week runs from November 19 to 25. For more information, visit www.alcoholconcern.org.uk.