It’s been ages since I blogged and that’s because I haven’t really had anything to say or blog about. This blog is about my relationship with alcohol. It is painfully honest and sets out why I am now 20 days sober as of this evening.
Alcohol and I have a very chaotic and messy relationship. In 2007 – 2010 I was drinking heavily – my GP, during an appointment in 2008, estimated I was drinking 80 – 100 units per week. I was working on and off at the time as a trainee solicitor and despite the copious amounts of alcohol I was drinking in the evenings and weekends, my work never suffered. I cut down at that time (after 2 GI bleeds put down to alcohol use) due to being hospitalised at various points for my mental health difficulties. It is possible to smuggle alcohol onto a ward or to use leave to get your fix and plenty of people do. I didn’t (except once). I was very lucky to be honest as the levels I was drinking it probably wasn’t safe to stop and start like I was.
When I was drinking heavily back then, I don’t remember finding it hard to stop. Maybe the chaos of overdoses, cutting, suicide attempts filled my mind so much so that the alcohol took a backseat. During my 18 months of DBT (end of 2011 – mid 2013) and for a number of months after I rarely drank. Again, I don’t remember the cravings and urges to drink that I am currently struggling with.
Recently I have been under the home treatment team for “psychosis” and my mood. I thought I was drinking 2 bottles of wine a week. That’s what I told the Home Treatment Team. However, the number of bottles waiting for recycling were hard to ignore. I had been tricking myself and when I was honest with myself it was clear that really, I was drinking 2 bottles of wine an evening for at least 3 evenings a week. Often, I would order from the local Italian restaurant as they delivered wine along with your food order. Sometimes I was starting off with my 1 bottle for the evening but ending up ordering food later on purely to get more alcohol. Often the food went uneaten. I ordered from a local drink delivery company (which is actually not operating now). It was getting out of control. 1 bottle wasn’t enough and then neither was 2. I was drinking more and more. I was losing days to hangovers so bad I was vomiting. I was vomiting “coffee grounds”, which I know from previous GI bleeds that this was a sign of likely bleeding again due to the alcohol. This didn’t stop me though. What stopped me? Well, my symptoms of “psychosis” had been abating. However, one evening after a bottle and a half of wine the voices became so insistent and I was so pre-occupied with the controllers that I called the police to ask them to lock me up before I was used by the controllers to hurt someone. It is terrifying and all consuming. This resulted in an ambulance being called and me being taken to hospital for assessment. I didn’t stay for the psych liaison team. I had been waiting several hours and therefore sobered up whilst waiting and found that my symptoms had abated once again. I couldn’t ignore the fact that once sober the symptoms considerably eased. I don’t want a repeat of that so as of this evening I am 20 days sober.
It’s been really difficult to be sober, the temptation ever looming. I keep reminding myself of things that have occurred due to my drinking over the years, which include:
- I used alcohol to self-medicate, to relax, to forget about things, to feel differently.
- An ambulance had to be called to me on a work’s Christmas outing as I had drunk myself unconscious. Picked up covered in vomit.
- Another occasion I passed out and vomited in a pub. My friends had to bundle me up to the hospital, where I was given fluids to bring me around.
- I have deliberately used alcohol to give myself Dutch courage to attempt suicide.
- Once I got drunk whilst inpatient, which led to a suicide attempt on the ward.
- I have had 2 diagnosed GI bleeds for which I was hospitalised, and signs of more bleeding more recently
- I have regularly lost days to hangovers
- I have been dishonest about my consumption including to friends and family. I am a very honest person usually, so this was really out of character and think I had managed to convince myself of the lies.
Over the years there have been lots of other episodes and difficulties associated with my drinking alcohol. I’m not an alcoholic but my drinking causes many problems. No more. I will continue to fight the urges. Alcohol is a threat to my future plans and to my stability. I will remain sober.