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Posts Tagged ‘alcoholism’

AA Meeting

In Alcohol, Drink, Drinking, sober, Sobriety, Uncategorized on August 24, 2016 at 1:32 pm

Well, I finally did it. I went to my 2nd AA Meeting.

The meeting I have been meaning to get to for a few years now.

The meeting I have backed out of because I am always too busy (too scared and too in denial) to attend.

It took several things to get me to that meeting on Monday evening.

Firstly, since I told my grandma a few months ago that I was hospitalised due to alcohol (again), she has been very concerned about my drinking and has made sure I don’t forget it.

She has a friend in California who is 20 years sober and who once used to drink like me and had the same problems. My grandma spoke to her friend about my drinking and her friend responded with some words of wisdom.

After attending a friends wedding recently and getting very drunk (more of that later) I decided to personally contact my Grandma’s friend and get her up to speed on my current wishes to be sober.

Her advice (as I have heard many times before) is that AA meetings can be very useful, and that she goes to the meetings and they have helped her stay sober for 20 years.

When I read her email describing her experiences and advising me that drink problems never get better, I decided to go to a meeting that evening. I had no excuses left about why I shouldn’t go.

The meeting was in my home town and my first though was ‘what if I know someone there?’ which is silly, because the clue is in the name ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’.

I got to the road where the meeting was early and sat in my car for ten minutes. I had butterflies in my stomach and a heavy feeling in my head. An overwhelming heaviness.

As I walked down the road looking for the community centre, I could see people walking towards a building and I panicked, realising I had found it. It was my secret desire that I wouldn’t find it and I would have to go home and give up.

As I walked in the door, a friendly older man offered me some tea and said ‘Are you new?’

When someone heard me saying yes, another man came over, took my hands in his and said welcome.

He introduced me to another man, and they invited me to sit with them on the outside of the room.

I clasped my cup of tea like it was a life line. It was like the first day of school and I didn’t know whether I may embarrass myself and cry.

The heavy feeling in my head lingered, but I was more settled now I was sat down between two people who had made me feel welcome.

The secretary welcomed me as he begun the meeting, and then followed the formalities of reading the steps and some other extracts.

There was a main share; a man who lost everything to alcohol. It was a very sad story but he has made such huge changes since getting sober in 2008.

There were other shares; a lady who had been sober since 1978, a man who had drank a bottle of wine that day, a woman who had a very similar story to be but was 40, another lady in her 50’s who got dragged to AA by her sister and husband and the list goes on.

The stories were all quite sad but they all ended their shares with their new stories; repaired relationships, new careers, new relationships and new opportunities that they didn’t think they could ever have before they got sober.

I could see myself in all of these people. Which is a weird feeling.

I was asked if I wanted to speak at the end. I has gained strength from all those who had spoke before me, and had very kindly acknowledged my presence and had wished me well. I gained strength from know I wasn’t alone in my experiences and I no longer had to live my life in shame. I could be open and human with these people, as they had been to me.

I spoke with a wobble in my voice and I don’t know where the words came from, but they poured from me. I didn’t waffle on too much for fear of being the over zealous newbie but I expressed my gratitude for everyone’s shares and told them how it had taken me 7 years of knowing deep down that I was an alcoholic to get to this point.

A room full of people nodded knowingly at me as I spoke; people who are still and who have struggled with the same thing that I have. I cant describe that feeling.

One and a half hours later, I left the meeting having gained a few telephone numbers and a new perspective on alcoholism.

Alcoholism is the lonely disease, but by finally reaching out to others and accepting it myself, I am starting to feel like there is hope still.

(9 days sober)

 

 

 

 

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Day Two

In Alcohol, Drink, Drinking, mental health, sober, Sobriety on August 11, 2015 at 10:10 pm

So its day two of being sober and that seems pretty feeble considering a couple of months ago I was close to achieving a whole year sober.

But still, I am here, and I am trying again.

The hangover has almost worn off now; the panicky feeling has gone, but I am still feeling drained and a little weaker than usual. I get randomly hot and then cold. I feel like I need lots of food to rebuild myself back to what I was last week.

Isnt it amazing that one night of drinking can do so much damage to you physically and to your spirit.

I went to yoga tonight and I lay down on the floor just focussing on my breathing.

I suddenly remembered that despite everything I put myself through I am still alive.

Whatever alcohol has put me through, whatever anyone thinks of me, whatever I think of myself my heart still beats and my lungs still work and I have another chance to make peace with my past and move forward.

Its day two and I am at the foot of a huge mountain and I know that its going to take hard work, and a big lifestyle change to get anywhere near the top.

I am going to have to ruthlessly stop hanging around with toxic people, even if it isnt their fault that they dont understand my situation. I am going to stop going to places where getting drunk is the only activity that happens there. I am going to write every day in order to document my progress and I am going to attend an AA meeting as soon as I can.

One day at a time.

Back to Square One

In Alcohol, Drink, Drinking, health, mental health, sober, Sobriety on August 10, 2015 at 1:23 pm

My heart aches and my body is burning hot.

Yesterday I woke up in a panic. What did I do last night?

My friend came in to laugh at me and tell me what a mess I am. I told her my hearts stuggling to beat and I cant breathe. She told me to have a cold shower and that I will be fine.

I sat in a cold shower for about half an hour, gasping for air. So dehydrated and numb and possibly still drunk, I was beyond crying.

A fun night out with the girls turned into debauchery so bad I don’t even remember being in the night club.

Apparently I was handing out drinks, buying champagne, kissing random men….the list goes on.

In June of this year I had been sober for 11 months, and then I decided I was being too hard on myself and I needed to loosen up a bit.

‘You’re not an alcoholic’ is the constant message I got from friends and family, and then I started to tell myself that message and finally I started believing it. ‘Lets just drink in moderation, if I can go 11 months without a drink, I can learn to moderate’.

But it didn’t happen and it will never happen.

I want to lie in a black hole until I have recovered and healed. I have been in this situation hundreds of times. Self hatred, self loathing so deep I’m choking on it.

If I disappeared every time I felt ashamed of myself I would have spend a serious amount of the past 10 years in hiding and that is not what living is about.

To accept I am helpless, I am ill and I need to recover and forgive is the only way I can carry on.

I need help, I need support and I need change.

Day one has been worse that I remember ever feeling.

Things can only get better…

The truth vs The temptations

In Alcohol, Drink, Drinking, health, mental health, sober, Sobriety on May 29, 2015 at 11:21 am

10 months and 2 days sober.

A small milestone, but one I am proud of. Ever edging closer to one year but always moving further from my last drink.

I feel very good most of the time, but that’s not to say it is easy or that it has got  easier since when I first got sober.

When you first give up drinking everything is raw; memories are fresh and there are a lot more ups and downs. Sometimes it gets harder the longer you go on, because you can become over confident and forget the grief that got you to being sober in the first place.

The good and bad feelings pass over in waves, and sometimes I am drowning in an ocean full of temptation. My friends sometimes don’t realise that by saying ‘we wont judge you if you fall off the wagon’ are not helping.

I don’t mind being judged. I am my harshest critic. Everything anyone has ever thought about me or said about me, Ive thought worse about myself.

But so far I’ve kept swimming, kept my head above the waves and I don’t listen to those who don’t fully understand my circumstances. Including my family.

I don’t know if it is a rare occurrence, or if it is quite common, but most people don’t want to believe or accept my problem. Especially those closest to me. Maybe it is a bad reflection on them? Or maybe they don’t understand that an alcoholic doesn’t have to look or act a certain way in order to suffer with the illness.

I still have an over whelming desire to confess my sins and perhaps this is my calling to attend AA meetings, where I will meet like minded and open individuals.

The only meeting I have ever been to I cried the whole way through. I cried because I knew I had a problem but saying it out loud would make it real. All those people in that room understood me and yet I still didn’t want to be pigeon holed. I still thought there was a way I could remain ‘normal’.

I hope further down the line the temptations become easier to ignore, or maybe peers will become more used to me as a non drinker.

Whenever I do feel tempted to drink, I try to remind myself of how much better everything is now I don’t drink, of how I can still have fun and how I don’t need to rely on alcohol any more.

I remind myself of why I said ‘I never want to drink again.’ The memories are painful but sometimes you need to rehash them in order to get over that complacent feeling of being in control and thinking ‘well if I can stay sober, surely one night of drink may not harm me’.

Alcohol is my kryptonite. I may have been able to occasionally drink and things didn’t always go wrong, but alcohol is also the reason for some of my lowest points in my life. Is it worth the risk? No. Is being called boring tolerable if I have a much better outlook on life? Hell yeah.

One day at a time.

New Kind of Sober

In Alcohol, Drink, Drinking, health, mental health, sober, Sobriety on September 15, 2014 at 8:47 pm

Seven weeks sober yesterday and I am starting to feel like I am getting somewhere. Each day brings new levels of loneliness and empowerment.

I feel a different kind of sober; I feel calm and controlled about things that scared me before.

I feel like a permanent change has been made from somewhere deep within me. I no longer associate with alcohol or people who live to get drunk. I can’t even hold any alcohol in my hands without feeling weird.

I don’t miss nights out or how they used to feel. I especially don’t miss the hangovers, the major highs and lows, the mistakes and regrets.

I have changed and ultimately its for the better. Some people do not have a clue that I am sober and others still don’t understand why it has happened. I am starting to no longer care about those trivial aspects of socialising, I have switched to focussing peoples attention back on themselves. I feel a new wave of maturity has set in but at the same time a new lease of life which will allow me to have childlike excitement.

I no longer want to deny myself of good feelings, I no longer want to suffer in silence because I think that is what I deserve. My drinking brain would tell myself how disgusting I was and that I brought on everything bad myself.

My sober brain now understands and acknowledges that alcoholism is a sickness and that I am actually a kind, reasonable person who doesn’t have to settle for feeling shit all the time.

I can’t wait to make more progress and hopefully the loneliness of sobriety will fade as I become more used to my adjusted lifestyle.

One day at a time.

Wild Woman

In Alcohol, Drink, Drinking, health, mental health, Sobriety on July 27, 2014 at 8:48 pm

‘I’m trying to contain her but she’s slipping through the net. There’s a wild woman living inside of me’

Its been a while since my last update and since I last considered sobriety or even attempted it.

The wild woman is back in control and hungry for destruction.

Since May when my drinking relapsed I have binged several times.

I have also started a sort of relationship with someone (not official..yet)

Since May I have slid down stairs and banged my head off a wall, sent embarrassing text messages, been physically removed from a nightclub, ignored the boy I’m dated and chose to dance alone in my kitchen in just my knickers, I’ve had hooked up without remembering and I’ve experienced my worst hangover to date.

Worse things have happened to me, but in amongst the drinking, I have been making some very important life decisions and I am started to differentiate between the feelings produced by drinking and hangovers and how I actually feel.

A hangover can make me feel so bad I actually cannot see the point in living. It is physically damaging and mentally damaging in equal amounts.

Last week it took me until Wednesday to get back to normal after a hangover, and yet I still went out and drank heavily last night.

I am currently in counselling with an amazing man who understands me and my addictive nature because he has struggled with himself too.

He understands that no matter how much I want to change and improve or moderate, I can’t. If it involves a substance or a rush, I am helpless, weak and I want more.

The chemicals react with my brain and transform me into a monster. The monster leaves and a vulnerable, shameful, sick girl is left to pick up the pieces.

Sometimes picking up the pieces means lying in the dark, no food or water or clothes or sounds and clearing my head. Sleeping as long as possible so I don’t have to deal with consciousness.

I want more than anything to be able to drink normally, to be able to hold down a relationship, to change, to improve but my body won’t let me. Something has to give.

My counsellor used to work in prisons and met guys who when drunk hurt loved ones, or caused criminal damage. When they woke, they were in a cell and had no memory of doing the offences. They had to live with the fact that alcohol had changed their life for 7 – 10 years.

I said to my counsellor that the way I react to alcohol means that this circumstance could happen to me too. In fact when I drink, anything can happen.

I don’t know how to control it, but thinking about all these facts and in my new frame of mind to change, I need to formulate a plan. And the question to keep asking myself is ‘is drinking to be social actually worth it?’

Right now, it doesn’t feel like it.

It runs in the family

In Uncategorized on May 5, 2014 at 8:14 pm

In my addiction counselling; ironically the same day I caved in to alcohol, I was asked the question ‘is there a history of addiction in the family?’

Umm…yes, actually.

It’s only once you are asked this question and you have to start categorising your relatives, you realise maybe you are not the only one to have gone through this.

Our family don’t like labels such as ‘alcoholic’ ‘binge drinker’ ‘gambler’ ‘workaholic’ we tend to prefer the terms like ‘stubborn’ ‘loose cannon’ ‘liked to party’

Turns out when you start putting labels on behaviours displayed by my relatives we have some family history of alcoholism, gambling addiction and workaholics. 

I only started to uncover, or realise these things by remembering certain conversations I had heard growing and putting together the pieces. 

My grandad is someone who particularly resonates with me. He is very eccentric, quite sociable but has tendencies to over think…and over drink.

He was born in South Africa where there was a culture during his teenage years to go out and drink heavily and thats exactly what he did through to his early adult life. The family then moved to UK because of his dual british passport. Shortly before he moved he had attempted to cut down on his drinking and found that a lot of his friends were only interested in getting on the beers. On moving to England he drank less and started a business, which is still running successfully today.

Today I hung out with my grandparents and I told them I was cutting back on my drinking again but explained the difficulties because of social pressure. I used the phrase ‘I am a yes person, and therefore I struggle moderating myself’ I also said that it has been noted that when I drink I drink about 5 times quicker than everyone else without realising it.

‘We’re more similar than you realise, Abi’ was my grandads response. 

I told my nan that I was worried about the fact that next weekend I was going to a social event revolving around getting pissed and that I was worried and maybe should have some drinking rules in place. 

‘I think it is best you don’t drink’ was my nan’s very direct response. I know she is right but for some crazy reason I needed someone to confirm this for me.

Today I haven’t drank and even though this weekend didn’t get crazy, I am grateful and relieved it didn’t. I don’t want to get out of control. I don’t want to be that girl anymore. And thats a good enough reason to stop completely. I shouldn’t be influenced by others who don’t understand what this feels like. I should listen to my relatives who have more in common with me than I realised but most of all I should listen to myself. Not drinking means I don’t risk progress. Not drinking means so much more than giving into peer pressure or being called boring. 

Today is day 1 of no drinking. Again. Baby steps.