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COLUMN: From Puerto Banus to the long road to recovery

Updated: May 8, 2023

This column first appeared at on 23 March 2023.

Over the years the BBF has provided funds to many individuals and families in extreme difficulties.

Many times the situation is exasperated or caused by alcoholism for which the abundance of bars and cheap alcohol in Spain is a continual challenge for carers and concerned friends and family.

One such case took place towards the end of the pandemic – the lady in question was in her mid-50s and came to Spain to work the party scene in Marbella and Puerto Banus as a PR rep and organizer in the 2000s.

She knew her way around, lived well and partied hard on the Costa del Sol where she had a high income and a lifestyle to envy.

The years however took their toll emotionally and over time she lost her shine and became addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Eventually the work stopped – but the lifestyle continued and before too long she was running out of her savings.

One by one, her friends from her gave up trying to get her back on the path and then her family from her. Her parents sent her a stipend but this was not enough to live off and in any event was spent on the drink.

The catalyst was that in all the time she had been in Spain she had not taken residence and when the day came that she was picked up off the street comatose by an ambulance the penny dropped.

The big step was that she now recognized she had a problem which needed treatment – the issue was that she was not entitled to it in Spain and she would need to be repatriated.

Working with the consulate we were able to do that – emergency accommodation was found and she was now back in the UK system to seek health and state support – a far cry from the party yachts of Puerto Banus – but the first step in a long journey of recovery.

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