This is my story with alcohol

My history with alcohol started with my family. There were a lot of alcoholics in it, and I grew up thinking drinking a lot was a sign of being a strong person. I went through trauma as a teenager which led to drinking alcohol from age 13. 


I have always been a binge drinker. I don’t have a stop button. I thought being a heavy drinker was glamorous. I drank excessively to help block out the trauma I went through. But I also liked the feeling of being slightly out of control. And I really liked the death by excess lifestyle. I never thought I would live to 20. 


I quickly learned I could drink way more alcohol than anyone else. This gave me a sense of invincibility that I could drink any amount of alcohol and it wouldn’t affect my health. I also gained a reputation for being able to drink way more alcohol than any of my friends. I think this became part of my identity. 


By the time I was 19, I had severe mental health problems. I drank on my own at home and when I got to my late 20s, I called myself a functioning alcoholic. This was only partly true because my drinking was badly affecting my quality of life. I spent 70% of my income on alcohol. My excessive drinking was becoming more and more excessive. 


I liked the feeling of super confidence I had when I was drunk. I also liked the risk factor. I could easily die from the amount of alcohol I drank in one session. I never had to think about the future because there wasn’t going to be one. 


I started to need more and more alcohol to get the same sensations so turned to drinking spirts and shots to get drunk more quickly. I knew three people who died from alcoholic poisoning, but this didn’t stop me. 


At this point I would wake up the next morning with no memory of what happened the night before. I clearly had a serious problem, but I just made a joke of it. Like being an alcoholic was just a game and I was in control. Everything in my week was focussed on drinking. I wasn’t living, I was surviving. 


My doctor was very concerned by my drinking so referred me to North Yorkshire Horizons. I didn’t want to go because I was convinced I didn’t have a problem. 


One Sunday lunchtime I started getting the most agonising pain in my stomach. I should have gone to hospital, but I told everyone the pain wasn’t that bad and would ease off. When I drove back to my flat, the pain was so bad I could hardly walk. 


Eventually, I realised this pain was something serious so I got a lift to the hospital. I was in A&E for 8 hours, decided to walk back to my flat, but collapsed outside the hospital face first and was violently sick. 


When I got to see the doctors, I was really deteriorating. I was told I had an inflamed pancreas, and the doctor wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. I had to stay in hospital for a week, regularly having drugs injected in my stomach and was very lucky to survive. 


When I came out of hospital, I was told if I started drinking it would probably kill me. I was back with North Yorkshire Horizons and this time I took it seriously. I received amazing support, and I was referred to the aftercare team. 


I was very unsure about going to the weekly Reconnect support group. But the staff and the other group members were all very friendly and supportive. I started drinking moderately for a few months. But when I checked my bank statements, I wasn’t keeping to my four-pint limit. This is when I realised I had to stop drinking completely. 


I accepted that I am an alcoholic, and I can’t drink moderately. The support at the Reconnect group was amazing, and I have now gone five and a half months without a drink. I could not have achieved this without the group, the staff from Horizons and the aftercare team. 


It’s been very difficult to stop drinking completely, but it’s the best decision I have ever made. I am always going to be tempted to drink. But I keep writing notes like a diary and go to the group every week to help keep my presence of mind. 


Looking back at my journey, my drinking was a death wish. I thought I was in control of my drinking, but it was my drinking that was controlling me. 


I am saving a lot of money now I don’t drink, and slowly rebuilding my health. I don’t go to pubs anymore as the temptation to drink is too much. I have ended all my relationships with people who can’t accept I don’t drink anymore. You find out who your real friends are when you make a big change like this. 


The reason I am sharing my story is because I struggled being an alcoholic for a long time and I never reached out for help until my drinking very nearly killed me. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else. Whatever difficulties you are going through, drinking is not the answer.  


I have changed the way I think about alcohol. Alcohol is poison. It took all my money destroyed my health and life. Now I don’t drink, alcohol is not in control of my life anymore. 


There are amazing support services and support groups out there. You have a choice with drinking. I used to think been an alcoholic was glamorous well it’s not. Way too many people die from alcohol related problems – I was nearly one of them. 


I want to encourage anyone struggling with alcohol to reach out for support.

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