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Booze Asbo woman Laura Hall's battle with drink

By Jim Reed
Newsbeat reporter

image copyrightPA
image captionLaura Hall in January 2011 and outside court in April 2010

Banned from buying alcohol anywhere in England and Wales, Laura Hall has been trying to turn her back on drink since going into rehab last year.

Laura was the first person to be given a nationwide Drinking Banning Order after 27 convictions for alcohol-related offences.

At first she said it made her drinking problem worse.

"It defeats the object because I just drank more at home, went out and caused absolute mayhem," she told Newsbeat.

The 21-year-old is now back in rehab after getting arrested again on drink charges, her first offence in more than six months.

'Booze Asbo'

Laura had a lot going for her when she left school in 2006 - a good group of friends, a supportive family and a batch of GCSEs.

She started drinking heavily on nights out as a teenager.

"Typically it would be a bottle of wine before I went out and maybe a couple of cans," she said.

"Then pints and pints of Stella, double vodkas and shots. If I ran out of money I would walk round the club and drink everyone else's last dregs."

She racked up a long list of convictions included assault, criminal damage and being drunk and disorderly.

In April 2010 a judge, frustrated at Laura's 25th appearance in court, gave her the UK's first nationwide Drinking Banning Order.

BBC TV blog: How we documented Laura Hall's battle with booze

'Drinking problem'

Nicknamed a booze Asbo, the measure is meant to stop her buying alcohol at any pub, club or shop in England and Wales.

"It didn't stop me drinking at all. It made it worse because I felt isolated from everyone else and thought I had nothing to lose any more," she said.

"I just got my friends to go in and buy me alcohol. In other cities, there is not a police officer following you around 24/7, so how are they going to know?"

Laura says she made the decision to get help after her 21st birthday in June 2010.

"I realised I'd had a drinking problem for some time. I thought my life is going nowhere and I either end up dead, in prison or I change."

"I didn't think I could do it, but there was just a little glimmer of hope."

In some ways, she was luckier than most people in her position. The media attention surrounding the drinking ban led to an offer of free residential care at a treatment centre overseas.

Living up to her tabloid reputation, she turned up worse for wear after drinking a bottle of rum on the flight over.

"That wasn't the best move," she said. "It was nerves because I realised this was my last chance."

"I remember the first weekend thinking all my friends are going out and getting drunk and feeling very sorry for myself."

"A few times I felt like walking out and then looked at myself in the mirror and thought I can't waste this opportunity."

Return to rehab

She was put on medication and spent days in group therapy and counselling.

"I found it really useful to meet people in the same situation. They had all been through similar things and didn't judge me."

She returned home to Bromsgrove just in time for Christmas and New Year, a tough time of the year for a recovering alcoholic to meet up again with old friends.

"I went to London to see the fireworks and a lot of my friends were out getting wasted. It was uncomfortable but I thought if I can get through New Year's Eve, I can get through anything," she said.

Then in mid-January she slipped up. A night at a friend's house ended with her drunk, sitting in the middle of the road and refusing to move.

She was arrested on drinks charges and fined £75 for breaching the Drinking Banning Order.

The next morning she was on the first flight back to the rehab centre.

She knows her battle is far from over.

Laura Hall: My Battle with Booze is broadcast on BBC Three at 9pm on 24 January in the UK and is available for seven days on BBC iPlayer. Laura Hall was not paid by the BBC to take part in the programme.

More on this story

  • The girl who's banned from buying booze