Jill Halfpenny has admitted she would drink to ‘escape’ and ‘stop overthinking’ after her father Colin suddenly died of a fatal heart attack when she was a child.

The actress, 48, who has been completely sober for over a decade, has bravely detailed her alcoholism battle in her new memoir A Life Reimagined: My Journey of Hope in the Midst of Loss.

The former EastEnders star said she felt a ‘weight lifted off her shoulders’ when she plucked up the courage to admit she was an alcoholic in an AA meeting in 2013.

Jill said she could see herself becoming a ‘different person’ every time she would binge drink to escape her normality.

In the book, she writes: ‘I began to see that I became a different person when I drank and I didn’t always like who I became. 

Jill Halfpenny, 48, has admitted she would drink to 'escape' and 'stop overthinking' after her father Colin suddenly died of a fatal heart attack when she was a child

Jill Halfpenny, 48, has admitted she would drink to 'escape' and 'stop overthinking' after her father Colin suddenly died of a fatal heart attack when she was a child

Jill Halfpenny, 48, has admitted she would drink to ‘escape’ and ‘stop overthinking’ after her father Colin suddenly died of a fatal heart attack when she was a child

‘For a long time, alcohol had helped me escape, to stop thinking. Conversely, I thought it also helped me access all the things that lay dormant inside me.’

Her father Colin passed away at the age of 36 after he had a heart attack during a game of five-a-side football. Jill was just four years old. 

The mother-of-one admitted it took a while for her to admit she needed professional help because she felt ‘shame’ and ‘desperation’.

But it was until she noticed a familiar face, a fellow actress, in the room that she felt calm and willing to make a change for herself.

Jill said it took several meetings before she could say the words “My name is Jill and I’m an alcoholic”, but shared it was the best thing she ever did.

Last week, Jill discussed finding love again following the death of her partner Matt Janes. 

The Byker Grove actress felt ‘cursed’ when she lost Matt in 2017 to a fatal heart attack that mirrored her father Colin’s death four decades earlier.

Appearing on The One Show last week, Jill confirmed she is ‘in love’ again although did not give any details on her new relationship.

The former EastEnders star said she felt a 'weight lifted off her shoulders' when she plucked up the courage to admit she was an alcoholic in an AA meeting in 2013 (pictured last week)

The former EastEnders star said she felt a 'weight lifted off her shoulders' when she plucked up the courage to admit she was an alcoholic in an AA meeting in 2013 (pictured last week)

The former EastEnders star said she felt a ‘weight lifted off her shoulders’ when she plucked up the courage to admit she was an alcoholic in an AA meeting in 2013 (pictured last week)

Last week, Jill discussed finding love again following the death of her partner Matt Janes in 2017 from a fatal heart attack (Jill and Matt pictured in 2016)

Last week, Jill discussed finding love again following the death of her partner Matt Janes in 2017 from a fatal heart attack (Jill and Matt pictured in 2016)

Last week, Jill discussed finding love again following the death of her partner Matt Janes in 2017 from a fatal heart attack (Jill and Matt pictured in 2016)

She said: ‘When you lose a partner, a romantic relationship, it can sometimes feel slightly like a betrayal if you move on and it’s not. 

‘You’re absolutely allowed to be happy again. If you do the process and the healing and the work, you can go into another relationship and be happy again. 

‘If you haven’t managed to do that work, there’ll always be a part of you somewhere else. I feel I do deserve to be happy and I do feel happy and it’s really nice to be in love again.’

Jill told how it was important for her to be honest with her son Harvey about the struggles she was going through after Matt’s passing.

She said: ‘When my partner died, I really wanted my son to know you can be in a lot of pain and have a lot of suffering but you can get through it. 

‘I think it’s an important lesson for a child. Say to them, I will be OK, this will take some time but it will be OK. I didn’t want to hide it away from him. 

‘I wanted to be honest and say I’m struggling but I will be OK. I hope he’s learned a lot from that.’

A Life Reimagined: My Journey of Hope in the Midst of Loss by Jill Halfpenny is out now, published by Macmillan. 

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