A Young Mum Recovers

A Young Mum Recovers 

Drinking was the love of my life. I never completely realised this was an abnormal feeling. I always thought everyone felt this way about it. It was exciting, something to look forward to, and most importantly, took the edge off those painful feelings I discovered at quite a young age, of shyness, fear, and a feeling of not feeling part of, whole and at ease with the world and the people in it. So, unknowingly, it became my medicine. I thought it was the height of fun and completely normal.

At seventeen I was working and doing supposedly normal things – working all week and going out with the girls as soon as Friday was here. I quickly got bored with this and thought of travel. I found an advert in a local paper selling encyclopaedias in Germany to American families on army marine quarters. This lasted all of three weeks. We worked in pairs and I always had a couple of beers before I set off for the so called hard sell. My friend who I worked with was taken ill with gall stones and for the last week I worked alone. I drank more before I set off, being even more nervous – I wanted this exciting life of travel but could not do it without dutch courage. A couple of beers and I was invincible. I always finished off at the apartment with quite a few more brandies as we chatted over the day’s events.

I soon became too fearful to carry on with this type of employment. I was arrested for having no permit so I was out of there, drunk as hell on the way home. I missed by connections because I was so drunk. I managed to bum a lift off a stranger, but being so drunk I felt totally at ease. I was already putting myself in danger, but I was clever and just being a ‘wild child’.

Getting back to Plymouth, it wasn’t long before I got wind of friends moving to Spain to work in bars. I joined them and drunk every night for a whole year. Even then I was starting to think that this wasn’t really normal. But, I justified it with ‘what the hell, I’m living it up while I’m still young!’

By the age of 26, I was living in London with my partner – it was time to settle down. We both drank a lot. I was self-conscious around men and had to drink. I was too shy to manage a relationship without it. I fell pregnant and tried to give up the booze. My partner didn’t give it up and I resented him for it. To my glee, I discovered that I was anaemic and the best thing for this was obviously Guinness. But I just could not allow myself to get drunk and this was painful. I was extremely irritated and discontented with everything.

I had a beautiful daughter and moved back to Plymouth. We later bought a house and he got a job in a brewery, which was great! We got loads of free beer, argued a lot and split up. I left with money which just speeded up my drinking. My friends were telling me that I had a problem with drink, but I just thought they were being boring and maybe jealous, which was insane because my binge drinking was hard work. Hangover after hangover, I would swear I would never do it again. Yet before I had cleared away the financial mess, trouble and upset that I always created, I was off again.

I fell pregnant again, this time with my son. I really had to stop now, but I just couldn’t. I tried alcohol counselling, acupuncture, even writing a letter to myself – but I just could not stop. I did manage to cut it down, but I hated it. Three weeks after the birth of my son, I was back drinking worse than ever.  I came to realise that I just couldn’t have a couple. I was desperate now, but couldn’t see a way out at all.

My last binge was a year ago today. How could this amazing result happen to a hopeless case like me?

I was crawling around my flat on my hands and knees, ill and fearful to the bone. Later I bumped into a girl I knew; she could see my anxiety and asked if I was okay. I confessed that I had a drink problem thank God! I believe that he intervened that day. Her husband was the founder of my now home group, a recovered alcoholic. That same night I was at a meeting, I heard people share and couldn’t quite believe my ears. They felt like me and drank like me – I felt at home. I heard about the disease of alcoholism and was overwhelmed with relief. I had spent years thinking that there was something wrong with me other than drink. I used to search my past, thinking about my problems and feeling special and different. Maybe something had happened in my youth, or I had depression, or perhaps I was very super intelligent! It was of course, that feeling of difference. I had achieved nothing and I sure couldn’t stay sober.

I got myself a sponsor, a Big Book and worked through the 12 Steps. My sponsor asked me if I was willing to go to any lengths. I was, for I was beaten. I doubted whether I could let go of craving alcohol, but I was told I would. I was told to follow suggestions and to be completely honest. If I did these things, then I would be sober and happy. Life would take on a new meaning. I did what I was told even though I still doubted that it would work.

It has worked and I am sober, happy, and content. I feel whole and that empty feeling inside has disappeared. My life today is wonderful. I never anticipated that life would feel so different. It is more than sobriety – I have peace of mind.

If you are like me, I strongly suggest that you do as I did. I hear it works if you work it. Today I know that there is nothing truer than that.

Nov 2007