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Eastenders character Lauren Branning has been battling the booze for some time now and things are coming to a head. Her alcoholic behaviour has got her it to tons of bother and, like a lot of teenagers, things will only get worse unless something or someone intervenes.

Jacqueline Jossa 2016 (Lauren_Branning)
Jacqueline Jossa (Lauren Branning Character in Eastenders)

To beat the booze, a rehab has outlined Lauren’s life if she chooses to get help now and how her life can change for the better.

The actress who plays Lauren, Jacqueline Jossa, told the Sun recently:

“I am loving the drinking storyline. It is fun to play around with. You can take what your friends are like drunk and what you are like drunk and then just what you would imagine Lauren is like drunk and add it all together.”

However, the actress knows when to stop drinking in real life unlike her onscreen character.

“You do not drink just for the sake of drinking, whereas with Lauren she needs to have another… and then another and another.” Jacqueline told the Sun.

“I love Lauren, bless her. Sometimes I wish she would just have a lovely day or go for a holiday.

“Lauren is starting to realise she might have a problem, so hopefully when she does, things might change.”

Abbeycare Foundation rehab has simulated what life will be like for the character if she continues on the road she is on, and also what life could be like if she gets help now.

Addictions expert Liam Mehigan, service manager of Abbeycare rehab, said: “It’s a very strong storyline and the fact it is gripping the nation is that it is based in real life. Many parents struggle with teen drinking and many teenagers just don’t know the road they could be going down.

“Naturally, a lot of teenagers drink too much and then as they mature return to a healthy normal relationship with booze.  However, there are tens of thousands of teenagers who are just beginning a life of addiction and heartbreak for themselves and their parents. Ultimately, if nothing is done about it, their lives will become a complete mess, unmanageable and spiral out of control.”

The rehab has created a timeline of what will happen to Laura if she remains drinking and how she can get help to overcome her addiction and get well. Liam said: “The main way to help Laura is to make sure she understands that she is not alone, help is available, and that she can and will get better if she attends to her problem – a problem unattended will always remain a problem. With alcohol, it is a progressive downward spiral problem.”

Although all alcoholics can get better with help, many nosedive before any help is sought.

Here is how Laura’s alcoholism might pan out:

  • Feelings of guilt and remorse increase leading to shame
  • Secret drinking increases
  • Relationship with mother breaks down – blames the mother for all faults whether true or not
  • Relationship with friends breaks down due to impaired thinking, resentments and irrational jealousy
  • Low self-esteem, self confidence and self worth manifest
  • Drink binges length increases to 4 to 5 days
  • Aggressive behaviour leads to more trouble with friends and family and law
  • Tries a geographical escape to Scotland
  • Neglects eating properly
  • School and money worries increase
  • Loses interest in all other activities
  • Tremors, shaking and ‘DTs’ start becoming normal practice
  • Fully avoids family and friends
  • Decrease in tolerance of alcohol, i.e. gets drunk easier
  • All alibis and excuses for drinking are exhausted
  • Completely defeated

Finding the right rehab

Liam said: “Once Laura gets to this point then there are two options really. One is to get help and begin treatment to turn her life around. The other is not hard to imagine: illness, insanity and death are the main outcomes.

“There is another way that’s proven to work. If she gets to rehab and gets the correct treatment, she can beat the demon drink. Change and understanding has to occur. Understand how she thinks, why she thinks it and then get the tools and techniques to not only quit drinking but to change the way she thinks and then feels and acts in order to live a positive, happy and meaningful life.”

And, here’s how Lauren’s life can turn around if she entered rehab:

  • Begins a medical detox to help with withdrawals
  • Therapy begins, starting with one-to-one counselling
  • Learns that alcoholism is an illness and can be treated
  • She learns that she can control her addiction and gets new hope
  • Feels better physically
  • Starts group therapy and meets likeminded people
  • Family and friends notice a change
  • Begins a journey of self-discovery
  • Doesn’t want to run away from The Square
  • Changes way of thinking about addiction and self-esteem returns
  • Continues therapy
  • Natural sleep returns
  • Employment and career opportunities open up
  • Head-in-sand feelings go away
  • Appreciates hope of new way of life
  • Develops new interest and a new circle of friends
  • Group therapy continues
  • Starts to face all life obstacles with courage
  • Steps to economic stability taken
  • Increase in emotional control
  • Ideals reborn and real values installed again
  • Contentment begins and starts to flourish
  • Branning family and friends notice an improved Lauren
  • Interesting, new way of life opens up
  • Higher levels of contentment than ever before
  • Back in Eastenders as one of the more positive characters


Let’s hope that Lauren can get the help she needs and stay in the soap a bit longer!

If you need any information on teenage alcohol problems or would like to speak to someone about your own levels of drinking or find out how we can help a family member detox from alcohol, please contact us at Abbeycare Foundation –  Call 24/7: 01603 513 091

About the author

Laura Morris

Laura Morris is an experienced clinical practitioner and CQC Registered Manager with over twenty years experience, over ten of which have been as an Independent Nurse Prescriber.

She has held a number of senior leadership roles in the substance use and mental health sector in the NHS, the prison service and in leading social enterprises in the field.