CLYDEBANK golfer Stewart Savage has spoken about his decades-long battle with alcoholism.

The professional at Dalmuir managed to get sober and stay that way for 18 years – come the end of this month – but only after he had thrown away a promising golf career and made a suicide attempt.

But he has now turned his life around, and is using his experiences to help others fight their addiction.

Stewart was a contemporary of Colin Montgomerie who was being heralded as one of Scottish golf’s next big things.

But his battle with the booze started at just 18 – and continued for the next 18 years.

Speaking to our sister paper, The Herald, Stewart said: “Monty was my captain in the Scotland youths’ team and, at 17, I was flying.

“I was starting to go places, I was getting a bit of press coverage, but even then my drinking was a problem. From 18 to 36, alcohol played a huge part in my life.

“Every time I had one I couldn’t stop. I would say, ‘I’m off for a pint’ but as soon as that pint was in I could have ended up anywhere.

“There was black out drinking and waking up the next day bewildered with the fear and terror of what may have happened. Drink had me and it was stronger than I was.”

As well as his golf, alcohol also had a dramatic effect on Stewart’s family life.

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He continued: “I wasn’t a very good son, I wasn’t a very good husband and I certainly wasn’t a very good father because I simply wasn’t capable of being that.

“I have become much better at all these things and others have benefitted. People are getting peace because when I go out the door they know the condition I’m going to come home in.

“When I was drinking, they didn’t know when I’d come back, what condition I’d come back in or even if I would come back. They are the innocent victims of alcoholism.”

Booze slowly took a grip of Stewart’s life, until it was consuming his thoughts.

Stewart continued: “My mind obsessed about the stuff. I was in total despair. I promised myself every morning that this would be the day that I would stop and turn my life around. I just couldn’t do it.

“I was rattling and shaking and in a horrendous state.

“In 1996, I just didn’t want to be here. I was such a mess. I was making everybody’s life around me miserable and I thought I’d be better off away. I had a wee suicide attempt and obviously failed.”

Stewart now helps others at the Addiction Recovery Centre in Kirkintilloch.

He said: “When you turn that corner and get on the road to recovery it gives you an incredible amount of hope.

“People ask me if I miss drink but, given some of the horrendous things I’ve done through drink, why would I miss that? Booze was a ball and chain. Now I have freedom.”