A MAN who survived more than 10 years in the notorious Bellgrove Hotel has told of his battle back to health.

Charming pensioner Ronnie Clive is a recovering alcoholic, and spent 11 years living in the homeless hostel in the Gallowgate.

Having lost three siblings to substance misuse before they turned 30, the 68-year-old knows he is lucky to be alive, having turned away from booze 12 months ago.

Due to his level of drinking he now has alcohol-related brain damage for which he is receiving specialist help from charity Penumbra.

At his peak, he would drink up to three litres of fortified wine every day and smoked 60 cigarettes, admitting he only did so out of boredom and desperation.

Ronnie, from the Gorbals said: "I drank whisky, vodka, El Dorado...god knows what. When it was there, I got it."

Ronnie's problems started as a child, when his alcoholic dad would regularly shout abuse and manipulate him, while forcing him to go and buy his booze.

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His siblings looked on as Ronnie became more reclusive, eventually locking himself in his bedroom most of the time to escape the abuse.

His brother Michael, who is also a recovering alcoholic, said: "When Ronnie was in his 20s, I was drinking in the house and my younger brother started too.

"Unfortunately I never got off it until 3 and a half years ago.

"Then Ronnie started messing about with the drink, then my sisters did too.

"At that time that was his solution. He thought it would take his problems away regarding my father."

Sadly for Ronnie, his problems continued to worsen and he ended up homeless.

He watched his brother and two sisters die from either alcohol or drugs before their 30th birthdays, and eventually he became estranged from Michael too.

In his 50s he found himself in the Bellgrove Hotel - a place he says he will never forget.

Ronnie said: "All I saw was bodies coming out and people going in, then the next minute smoking and drinking, and doing god knows what.

"That's all that is left in there - drinking and smoking.

"I couldn't be bothered eating, I didn't want it as the drink was feeding me. I didn't really want to be alive anymore."

Ronnie eventually ended up in hospital, diagnosed with bowel cancer.

His brother heard the news and, despite having not seen his sibling for eight years, rushed to be with him at the Royal Infirmary.

By this time he had given up drinking and was helping other recovering alcoholics do the same

Michael said: "I saw him lying in the bed in a complete state.

"He had a beard down to his waist.

"At the time, what my idea was of an alcoholic - someone with tied up trousers, tipper clothes etc - that was what Ronnie looked like.

"He was as thin as a rake.

"He told me he was in the Bellgrove for 11 years and didn't want to go back."

Ronnie moved in with Michael, who helped build up his strength and keep him from alcohol.

But he realised his sibling needed extra support to become more independent and he managed to get a place at a specialist rehabilitation centre run by Penumbra.

The charity does vital work to help those who have alcohol-related brain damage on their road to recovery.

While some service users stay in supported accommodation, others live in their own flats and receive regular visits from staff to work on their problems.

For Ronnie, Penumbra has helped him regain independence and re-learn vital life skills that were lost due to his decades of drinking.

It has also helped him realise the lethal consequences of returning to drink.

Now the 68-year-old enjoys spending time with his brother and niece Cheree, watching cowboy films and talking to other residents and staff.

Penumbra Support Manager Alison Garrow said: "We have quite a close living environment here which works well in terms of what support we can offer to people.

"A lot of people come in and they are disorientated and de-skilled, and have severe memory impairment. We assess them and see what they can do, and build from that.

" Ronnie has made excellent progress since he came in. It took quite a long time for him to orientate when he arrived but he is doing so well and we are really proud of him."