So in this post, I wanted to talk about my history with drinking.
The Younger Years:
Like a lot of people, I’d started to drink on a regular basis when I was about 16. I met with friends in the park or we found that pub which didn’t care too much about ID. As long as you looked old enough!!
Back then, drinking was just good fun. It was all about meeting with your mates and plucking up the courage to talk the to that person you fancied!
The Working Years:
It wasn’t until I’d met someone and started working in the real world that alcohol became an issue. I’d come home from work and reward myself with a beer or two, this then became three or four drinks and you get the picture! I worked in retail so on my days off I was spending the majority of my time drinking because I thought I deserved it. I’d worked hard so why not treat myself.
I would go into work with a hangover, be angry at customers and then at the end of the day buy beer and do the whole cycle again. I started to resent my girlfriend being in the flat, because all I wanted was booze and I felt guilty that I was jeopardizing my relationship. But once that first mouthful had gone down all the emotions and feelings disappeared. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had discovered the very reason why I drink….I can’t deal with my emotions. sitting with those feelings scares me!
Fast forward a few years, I’d had moved around, been diagnosed with “Borderline Personality Disorder”, my girlfriend had stuck by me through it all and we were now both working for Unilever, based in Bedfordshire. In many respects this was a highlight of my life, I had a stable income and medication for my illness. I still wasn’t able to quit the beer though. I kept pushing my relationship further to the breaking point, through various bad choices, and eventually it all came to a head. After seven years, we were finished.
In some respects I was glad, I didn’t have this person telling me that I shouldn’t be drinking or forcing me to go out when I wanted to do was hit the bottle. On another level, I had lost my best friend and that one person who was trying to stop me to drink so that I could fulfill my potential and be the person she knew I could be.
So after lots of tears, I moved out.
I subsequently spent the time living on my own trying to balance work and drink but, as is my way, the drink won. It all came to a head, again, when I was supposed to go on a work trip to Hamburg but had spent the night before getting drunk. I was nervous and doubting how I would perform in the interview so I missed the trip, overdosed, got in trouble with the police and was pepper sprayed/handcuffed which led to me being signed off from work.
Now the fun began, or so I thought. In my world, I was being paid to sit in my flat, watch TV and drink as much as I could. The reality of it was that I was depressed beyond anything I have ever experienced and bored out of my mind. I wasn’t eating, cleaning or generally taking care of myself and the people around me all moved on. Out of sight, out of mind. I spent 6 months in this state and tried to do a return to work on several occasions but with limited success. So, in April 2014, I decided that enough was enough. I couldn’t carry on like this. I quit my job, moved back to my parents house and decided that to have a break I would go cycling in France. That worked well for about a week and then I came back to the UK and hit the bottle again. I was trying to keep the extent of my drinking from my folks so there were days when I didn’t have any alcohol but for the majority of the time, I was wasted.
In Nov 2014, I had another meltdown. I was throwing things around the room and uncontrollably crying/shouting and punching myself in the face. Understandably, I was taken to the John Radcliffe hospital where I was assessed and discharged with a leaflet for something called the Oasis partnership and instructions to call them asap. Which I did. I can honestly say, It was the best thing I’ve ever done.
The “Oasis Partnership” has now become “Turning Point” and the quality of service is amazing. There are groups happening all the time and people who truly understand what your dealing with. I have been with them for 8 months and in that time have made some great friends and most importantly for me, I am learning to sit with thoughts /emotions and not react to them or try to block them out with alcohol. I am a long way from stable but with their support and that of my family have made great strides to becoming a “BeerFreeBloke”!