West Leeds ARLFC gives Lee new focus after kicking drink
When Lee Dimberline decided to stop drinking and get his life back on track, he didn’t expect to lose most of his friends. Fortunately, the builder’s labourer from Leeds got involved in rugby league, a sport he credits with changing his life.
Lee, 43, hit rock bottom in March 2011. He said, “As soon as I opened my eyes I would open a beer. When I went to bed, I took one with me. Everything revolved around making sure I had a drink.”
Realising the impact drinking was having on him and his family – wife Laura and their children Benn, 19, and Lexi, 12 – Lee made the momentous decision to quit. He said, “My doctor arranged for me to go to rehab and I’ve not drunk since.”
But the hard work started once he got home. He said, “I had drunk every day, so my door was like a turnstile of people coming to drink with me. Once I stopped, they vanished. My so-called friends had just been drinking buddies and they walked away.”
A lifeline for Lee came from an unexpected source – his son’s rugby league club. He said, “Benn had played for West Leeds ARLFC for a couple of years, and when I stopped drinking the club really helped me stay on track. I found new mates there – it’s socialising, but in a whole new environment.”
Lee started out volunteering in the club’s tea hut and soon progressed to touchline manager and first aider. Deciding to challenge himself he took a Level 2 coaching course and now coaches the West Leeds ARLFC under-12 girls’ team.
Sadly, during lockdown the social club where the team met closed. Now, using funding made possible by National Lottery players, West Leeds are going to build a clubhouse of their own. Lee said, “It’s going to make all the difference. It will be great to build the club back up and see it go from strength to strength.”
Lee said, “Joining the club helped me steer myself away from the bad side - it gave me something else to focus on. I’ve been clean and sober for 12 years and I’ve made new friends. The club has literally changed my life and rugby league has given me a focus and a purpose in life.”
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28th October 2022
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