My name’s Abi and I’m an alcoholic.
Some people don’t tell others that they are an alcoholic but for me it has been easier to speak out. I work at a pub; I know what a job for an alcoholic but this is the industry I have always worked in. Thankfully I never drank at work. I always managed to wait until till I had finished. I moment I clocked off it would begin; how much and how quickly can I get some alcohol into my system.
In my pub like many others the way locals like to show their gratitude towards you for serving them their drinks they would buy you one. This was always an added plus to the job. Helped saved me money as I’d save them all up for a night off. But now I have stop drinking I have been met with shock and confusion. Many locals who I once enjoyed sharing a drink with me now can’t comprehend that I wasn’t accepting their offer of an after-work drink. I was met with many questions, so I decided to explain. That actually the Abi they knew behind the bar wasn’t real. She was the master of the mask. Hiding her inner turmoil and emotions. They never saw the struggle I battled every day. They saw a happy upbeat girl who didn’t have a care in the world.
In this sense I was very lucky compared to some alcoholics. People at work never saw the consequences or devastation I caused by picking up that first drink. They could have never guessed that I’d be lying through my teeth to get them to finish their last pint so I could rush through the clean down and have time for myself to have a pint and then go to another pub on the way home, and then to the shop the second before it closed to get my stash for the night. I needed that drink to stop my head. To stop it thinking and thinking. I was obsessed with that feeling of having those first couple of drinks. The calm wave that took over my body and I could be the person I wanted to be. But it was never enough. No matter how much I bought I never had enough. I don’t know what would have been enough. I was trying to reach something that was unreachable because the more I drank the more insane my head became. I would have arguments with myself about things that happened during the day. I would go around and around sending myself further and further into despair. And still no one at work knew this because in the morning I would put my mask back on and hide all my feelings away.
Now my life is so different in all the good ways. I now know that I was sick, and I needed help. I know that I am an average alcoholic who was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I found the road to recovery and a solution. I realised that other people had suffered the same way that I had. That they too could not stop after that first drink. That they too drank to black out and to silence their emotions and feelings. These fellow alcoholics showed me the way to live free from the obsession of alcohol and to be happy.
I still work in a pub. The obsessed has been removed and I am happy. I love my job more than ever because I can enjoy it as me again rather than someone wearing a mask all day. I know that I don’t have to be happy and smiley 24/7 because I’m an average person who has ups and downs. But like I’ve been told every day is a good day when you’re not drinking the rest of them are great days. Which couldn’t be truer.
I am a grateful alcoholic something I never thought I would say. It’s something I’m proud to share. It’s not a secret or a taboo because its what’s helped me be the person I am today.
Abi. Road to Recovery Group, Plymouth