Barbara's Alcoholism Story: On The Road to Recovery ... Three Weeks and Counting
by Barbara Hall
My life was going off the rails quickly. I had stopped taking my anti-depressants for mild bipolar disorder when I was on holiday and felt well.
Then once home a load of stress in regard to my ex, pressure on my current relationship, finances and other stuff crowded in - and my thinking was far from straight, especially not helped by drinking and therefore making my depression worse.
I was always scared I'd lose my kids if I came clean about my drink problem but when I tried to commit suicide by slitting my wrists my partner told the lady assessing my risk about it.
I was lucky to get one of the three places available in a house in my area funded by the NHS - instead of being admitted to a psych ward, just for a short stay to withdraw from alcohol and get away from the pressures of home.
The atmosphere of the place was so comfortable chilled and homely, and the staff were very helpful, empathic and supportive and understanding.
I had time to rest but was also free to go and come as I liked so I could still see my children in the daytime. I left dry, with ongoing support from a home treatment team and a resolution now my problem had been hung out in the open and I'd received loving help that I would remain dry.
My attitude is, this is it - full stop. No more cutting down, no more denial, no more drink. Ever.
Its only been three weeks but I am taking it all the way this time instead of trying and inevitably failing to do it myself or to "drink sensibly", especially with all the "ammo" I've got - support, counselling, the understanding (finally) of my normal drinker partner, new pastimes, new rituals ... like starting by eating cereal, two fruits, fruit juice, a pro-biotic drink, herbal calming tea and popping my vitamins first thing before anything else in the morning so I start the day the way I mean to.
And I continue ... happy, healthy,calm and determined to keep the day that way.
I still crave, I get irritable, I talk to my partner and I still have a long way to go, but the release from the secrecy, the guilt of my alcoholic behaviour, the dread on the mornings when I couldn't remember the night before, the isolation and self loathing makes it worth knowing I can never pick up another alcoholic drink.
I tell myself, just as my son is allergic to nuts I am allergic to alcohol so that's it.
I have a long way to go with counselling and finding other ways of living that replace all the time I spent drinking in pubs and at home - I've started gardening, I'm trying a rambling club over the weekend, I'm going to hook up with AA, I want to get fitter but I've a weak back so I'm starting yoga and trying to access Pilates lessons in my area.
I'm applying to retrain as a nurse now my children are in school and I have a very supportive and now unemployed partner.
I have to have a plan for at least one small achievement each day so I can look at what I'm planning and achieving and wishing for, and when I crave, look at all I have just written and know that one first drink will obliterate all these positives and leave me right back in the darkness I've just emerged blinking from.
It's day by day, three weeks isn't long, but I'm going to build those three weeks up day by day by day, and when I feel the need to drink is overwhelming me even with achievements and the incentive of a proper happy life for me and my family versus the hell of my alcoholic one, I will call out to the people who support me, and know they will help me not to be my own worst enemy.