“The demon drink almost destroyed my marriage after leaving army life”

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Living with a serving soldier or veteran can put tremendous strains on relationships - especially if they are battling Post Traumatic Stress and other issues including alcohol abuse.

Today, as part of our series looking at issues facing veterans, Investigative Reporter Aasma Day talks to Russell and Gina Wright who proved their relationship was strong enough to survive the toughest fight.

BRAVE FIGHT: Russell Wright

BRAVE FIGHT: Russell Wright

Russell Wright’s idea of a balanced diet used to be a bottle of vodka in each hand.

Russell, 61, who lives in Penwortham, near Preston, began drinking heavily in the army itself and when he returned to civilian life, he carried on drinking around the clock to block out memories of some of the horrendous sights he had seen.

His changed personality led to the breakdown of his first marriage and almost jeopardised his second marriage to Gina.

However, after he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and started receiving treatment, he turned his life around

Russell says: “The problem with ex military people is that they don’t want to admit that they have a psychological problem because they think it is a sign of weakness.

“I now realise that alcohol does not solve anything - it just makes things worse.”

Wife Gina says: ““My message to any wife and partner of someone who has been in the forces is: ‘Don’t give up’.

“At the end of the day, they are still the person you married; it is just the mental illness that has changed them.

“You can get that person back if you persevere.”

For Russell and Gina’s full story, see today’s Lancashire Evening Post and tablet apps.