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Posts Tagged ‘drink problem’

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.

Hyper Sensitivity

In Alcohol, Drinking, health, mental health, sober, Sobriety on October 2, 2014 at 7:32 pm

I am not sure if this is a medical condition.

I am not sure if I am overly hormonal, tired and stressed.

Every feeling, I feel.

All the pain, unhappiness, sadness.

I reflect on the past so much, and the future makes me anxious. So many decisions to make, so much time to wait, yesterday was so much easier, I was a better person back then.

I want so much. I need things to fill in this emptiness.

I want money so I can enjoy life more but when I get it I only want more things, and the unhappier I become.

I am generous and when I have money I buy things for people.

I am overly generous with people I love.

I give people too much of myself and I shut down who I really am to try and please those people.

This causes me to resent myself and wonder why my relationships don’t last.

I am exhausted, hormonal and stressed.

I think too much about everything.

I am almost 10 weeks sober but it isn’t enough. How much will ever be enough?

I want a dog, tattoo’s, travel the world, fall in love, have a job I love, be sober forever, make new friends, eat good food, feel secure and happy. I don’t know how to balance all of these things.

Everyday I wake up and my mind has changed.

John Mayer once wrote a song with the lyrics ‘she’s just like a maze where all of her walls all continually change’. It couldn’t be more on point.

I start getting along with people, only to be knocked down.

I start being okay and then I’m not.

Everything is trivial and happiness is a journey not a destination.

One day this will all be over.

I am on my way to making changes and having everything happen all at once isn’t how life works.

Suffering makes you stronger.

Those that try to take everything from me are weaker than I am, they just don’t realise it yet.

I am underestimated. I am undiscovered. I feel different.

Perhaps one day life might start clicking into place.

Until now, I will carry on.

I can’t wait to reach 3 months sober.

I am proud of myself for getting this far.

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.

Craving forgiveness

In Alcohol, Drink, Drinking, health, mental health, Sobriety on August 31, 2014 at 9:01 pm

5 weeks today and I feel like sobriety is going well, no temptations so far. I have focussed on family and myself and although its boring and frustrating, I am getting there. I haven’t had to deal with the lows of hangovers or any shame or fear.

Recently though, I have been feeling cravings for something else. A deep desire to explain my side of the story.

I want to confess, I want to clean my slate, I want other people to forgive me and I want to forgive myself.

I want to relive my drunken misery out loud; things I have never spoke of. I want and need to make sense of it all, even if it is just once.

I woke up this morning and started to think about admitting to someone exactly what I had done under the influence of alcohol and what it would be like and how I would describe it.

I can’t tell my family everything because its too personal and I feel as if my therapist shouldn’t hear this stuff as he is male.

Is this a common urge; to want to confess everything?

I also want to hear what other people have done and how they felt.

My grandma let slip that my grand dad used to feel huge amounts of remorse after heavy drinking and for some reason that helped me, because I knew that I wasn’t alone and in some ways I could see where my behaviour stems from.

Perhaps this is a sign I should be brave and go back to an AA Meeting.

A letter to my future self

In Alcohol, Drink, Drinking, health, mental health, Sobriety on July 28, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Dear Abi, my future self,

The one who will probably be up for drinking again because peer pressure is getting too much. The one who has forgotten how you are feeling right now.

As of Saturday 26th July 2014, you haven’t drank. So currently thats two days. And these last two days have been hell.

I have suffered a very bad hangover; physically and mentally. I am currently sat in my pyjama’s having taken a day off work with a urinary infection that won’t budge. I’m coughing, my face hurts and I feel drained.

Why? Alcohol, of course.

Yes, your friend who has fucked you over more times than you can remember and you are probably choosing to forget this.

Before you drink remember the shame, the sickness, the guilt, the despair that alcohol brings. Sure, sometimes alcohol doesn’t fuck you over, but thats always a gamble. You have so much to lose; your health, your responsibilities, your happiness.

At this point in time the thought of never drinking again scares me, as it always will. But the thought of drinking scares me even more. It scares me enough to know I cannot lead a normal life. I don’t drink normally and never will be able to. I need to change and if that means being unsociable or boring then thats what it will have to be.

No one will understand your decision or pat you on the back. But you will be happier, healthier and there will be no risk of fucking up your life with no memory of how you did it.

It will take more than two months to feel a difference, but stick with it. If you are thinking of giving up re-read all the depressing shit you ever wrote with a hangover. Remember how a hangover makes you think that sometimes life isn’t worth living.

But life is worth living, even if you dread social events in a sober state. Embrace awkwardness and learn to laugh at them and yourself. Embrace other people challenging you and your decisions. Embrace moments like watching the sun set, being with your family and listening to loud music in your car, singing along like an idiot.

There is no reason to drink. If you had the same reaction to coffee as you did alcohol, you would cut out coffee. There is nothing to be gained from getting drunk and thats something you have to swallow.

Anyway, I am rambling. I hope that you remain strong and remember how rubbish this day felt, because right now I am not feeling too clever.

Love

Abi, Present self.
28.7.14

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.

Raising the bar

In Uncategorized on May 8, 2014 at 9:30 pm

Something that has got me thinking and I’m sure it is the case for lots of people who have their own struggles to deal with; I set the bar too high for myself so that failure is almost certain.

In my case it’s always; I’m never drinking again, I have to live up to my successful family, I have to earn more money, I need to be independent, I will try and cope with everything, try to look good, keep fit, be happy and the list goes on…but as a result of failing to be perfect I have learnt that you can’t always cope and you are going to struggle and you will sometimes depend on people or things. 

I told my dad on the weekend that I had made the decision to not drink again (last attempt was two months last winter) and as always, he was sceptical; not because he doesn’t think I won’t be able to do it, but because he doesn’t fully agree with it.

‘Why do you always feel the need to set unrealistic expectations of yourself? I think you are getting sucked into the drama of “defeating your demons”‘

In some ways he is right; I can see how you can get wrapped up in the drama of sobriety…

But I would like to just be dramatic and self congratulate for one tiny moment, because it’s not very often I have had the opportunity to. Allot of my life I have been my own worst enemy; allot of what I have done has been criticised by myself or those around me. I am an extreme self critic to a crushing degree.

This time I have set another ridiculously high standard; to not drink and to change my life and to stop hanging off everyone else’s word and opinion, including those closest to me but this time I feel very differently about it.

The act of not drinking is a physical abstinence. Physically we are capable of anything we want; we can physically buy the alcohol, physically pour it, physically bring it to our lips and physically act out drunken antics. But mentally we have to try very hard, we have to ignore voices, memories, peer pressure and cultural traditions. We have to battle constantly on a mental level; which is harder than anything I have physically encountered.

By not drinking and talking about it we have achieved something that some people never face up to; we are brave enough to admit to a problem and we are willing and committed enough to try to change. We are going against the grain, swimming against the current, flying against a jet stream culture that tells us without alcohol we aren’t good enough.

Alcohol is that sexy woman you could be in the bar, alcohol is that cool cocktail you can drink at a beach bar and alcohol is that expensive, luxurious champagne that makes your birthday / wedding / occasion the event of the year. 

I don’t want a medal or a big deal made of me but I wouldn’t mind a little recognition or acknowledgment from someone (family, if I’m being honest.) I yearn for that tiny bit of acceptance still… but I already feel that part of me fading and the more control I gain, the less negativity I hear, see and feel.