The Road to Sobriety

Arthur Podzolkon – Unsplash

Day 1

Anxious as f*ck!

Can i do this? Not confident. Do i want to do this? I have too!

To get through the hardest journey we need take one step at a time.

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I’ve read books, blogs, listened to podcasts, signed up to OYNB, called my doctor to admit ‘i think i have a problem with alcohol’ and i’m now on a waiting list to speak to a counselor. I have done everything i feel i am supposed to do in order to get support to stop drinking. Except for one thing. Take responsibility!

I have always enjoyed a drink, well since hanging about the streets when in my teens, meeting up with mates and getting someone to go in the shop for our alcohol. We would all chip in and purchase a litre of cider and MD 20/20 if we had enough. Actually i didn’t enjoy these drinks, they tasted like shit, but i did like the way they made me feel. I felt relaxed and confident and generally in a great mood. We would have such a laugh, i remember them mostly as good times but i also remember a lot of throwing up, hangovers and spending the next day in bed unable to eat anything. I always suffered terrible with hangovers.

Fast forward 20 years and i drink most nights, starts with a glass of wine at dinner but ends with the bottle gone, recently there has been some nights where one bottle has turned into two. I never really drank in the house, unless it was pre drinks before meeting with the girls, or going for a meal with the other half. I would always enjoy a drink whilst getting ready. This tended to be a weekend thing.

It wasn’t till i had children and i would spend most weekends at home, normal daily parenting routine that ended in bathtime, storytime, bedtime. The few hours that followed was ‘my time’, i could crack open a nice chilled bottle of wine with a frozen glass i had covered in water and put in the freezer an hour before. My partner worked away a lot so it was just me, ‘Love Island’, ‘Kardashians’ or any reality TV that was easy watching. I would still be in bed at 10.30pm and able to get up and do the morning routine the next day.

I must admit there where times when i was unable to do them to the best of my ability, some days i would have a pounding headache and i could be a little short if the kids took too long to get ready, some days i would take the kids to school, call in sick and go back to bed. There was also one time i had drank too much that my mother in law had to come and take the kids to school. This was a low. I still hate myself for that now. It’s embarrassing and i feel like a bad mum every time i think about it. Really that should have been a lesson for me not to drink, but it wasn’t. I continued to drink and ok it hasn’t happened since but what has happened is that i have built a tolerance to alcohol, which in itself is not good. I no longer get hangovers.

In January i was really unwell and had problems with my health, most of it was due to stress and everyone knows with stress comes an even bigger urge to drink, to relax. I was sent to the specialist who advised that i had to reduce the amount of alcohol i drank as i was starting to show signs of a fatty liver. This should of been a wake up call to quit drinking altogether. It wasn’t until this point that i realised i had an issue. In my head i have always thought that if i need to stop drinking i will. I did it when i became pregnant so i can do it again, although for whatever reason it seems i couldn’t. I would go a few days without and then fancy one. Sometimes i could go weeks and i have done Dry Jan for the last few years. Why was i finding it hard to stop this time? I would love to be one of those people who can just have the one. The issue i seem to have is one is never enough. Once i have that glass of wine i have to have another. It also only seems to be wine. There is always alcohol in the house that i don’t touch. My partners preference is Jack Daniels which i don’t like and there is a bottle of Baileys in the cupboard since Christmas. I don’t need a drink when i wake up so i can’t be an alcoholic. Can I ?

My follow up appointment was in March and i was really pleased as i had reduced my drinking from 7 nights to 3 nights a week, i hadn’t lost any weight but surely that was progress. No! The specialist told me i wasn’t thinking about my children, or my family. Just myself, i was selfish and i had to STOP drinking for six months period! I walked out of that room pissed off and thinking she was a complete bitch. How dare she make me feel like i was a bad mother for enjoying a bottle of wine three nights a week. Didn’t she realise i had reduced my intake, It’s not like i am out every weekend! How dare she take away my only vice? How f*cking dare she make me feel like i was a bad mother for not cutting out alcohol completely? I would understand if my children were at risk of harm or if it was effecting their upbringing but they have an amazing childhood, they are polite and well mannered (mostly) i do so much with them and they are excelling in school. On the way home, enraged with anger i bought a bottle of wine and i drank it. Fuck Sake!!

My issue is wine, i am a full on wino. I love the stuff. Firstly its not that strong and i always have a spritzer. I’m making excuses now, having wine every day whether its with a meal or not is clearly bad for your health and i have to do something about it. I must listen to the professionals who are advising me i have to stop. I must listen to my specialist.

Looking back to that meeting with my specialist, maybe she was being complete bitch. Maybe she’d had a bad day and she needed to relax herself with a nice chilled vino. Maybe she was playing bad cop to make me realise i needed to make a change or maybe she was just pissed off at constantly advising people that they need to stop drinking in order to improve their health. Dr X was royally pissed off that yet another patient wasn’t taking their health seriously and this patient could potentially get severe liver issues which could have been prevented had she of just bloody listened to the advice. Something tells me it was the latter.

So here i am on Day 1, My Day 1, for real this time. I will continue to get support whether it be via my doctor, reading a chapter of Claire Pooley’s ‘The Sober Diaries’, great read by the way. I honestly feel i could’ve wrote that book myself i relate to so much of it, although probably not as well and from more of a working class perspective. I don’t get invited to dinner parties or spend £12.50 on a red. I am more of a Barefoot drinker and Aldi have just produced their own version for less than a fiver, not that it matters now. Anyway i digress. I will continue to wait for support from CAIS and engage with others at OYNB but from today i will step up. I will take responsibility for my actions, because despite the support from others, this is something i need to do for myself!

Wish me luck…..

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