How my alcohol addiction became the making of me - (published in Metro Feb '18)
- By girly-d
- On 08/05/2020
- 0 comments
Just A Girl for Metro.co.uk
Thursday 22 Feb 2018 7:00 am
Being admitted to detox was never a goal of mine. I didn’t actually aspire to become an alcoholic.
They were the guys on the benches or slumped in doorways clutching their cheap bottles of cider and cans of extra strength lager. Not me. It wasn’t supposed to be me.
It turns out that what I thought was irrelevant. Because I became one anyway.
A horrific year saw me lose everything: My marriage, my pets, my job, and my home.
I couldn’t deal with the fall-out and I struggled to cope.
Depression kicked in, I hit the bottle and went and had myself an epic mental breakdown.
My beautiful beach front flat gradually reduced to a caravan, a floor, several floors, a borrowed sofa.
Thankfully I was rushed into detox before I ended up sleeping on a park bench – a decision which not only saved my life, but actually became the making of me.
Because before I got ill, I was a fixer. I ‘fixed’ things. People mainly.
I was good at it. Award-winningly good. I was a high achiever. A perfectionist, constantly pushing myself, striving to do more.
Ironically I was so busy running around looking after other people that I didn’t notice the cracks in myself – until they became glaring, open wounds and then they were all that I, and everyone else, could see.
Admission to detox was both a wake-up call and a relief.
It was basically the last-chance saloon for me. I was so ill on arrival that it’s a miracle I managed to get there at all.
I was massively under-weight and malnourished, my periods had stopped and my hair was falling out.
My body was attempting to keep me alive by getting rid of everything it didn’t deem absolutely essential.
Going into detox forced me to slow down to a grinding halt.
It gave me the time that I needed to process all of the stuff that had happened to me and gave me the chance to reflect and to grieve for my losses, while the doctors and nurses rallied around me intent on putting my broken head and body back together again.
The whole process took months.
Contact with the outside world was limited and as a result I was shielded from a lot of the worry and insecurities that had caused me to break down in the first place.
My job in detox was solely to start eating again, get plenty of rest and accept that alcohol was not, never had been and never would be my friend.
Once I’d done this to the staffs satisfaction, I could begin to think about moving on.
And I did, taking tentative baby steps out of the door and into my new sober life.
Four months on and I was back in the real world, with a fully functioning body and a completely re-wired head.
Four months after that and I had a job and was able to move out of the hostel I was in.
Accepting that I needed help back then and then taking the necessary steps to help me conquer my addiction has changed my life completely.
I’ve had to go back to basics and completely change the way that I think about alcohol and about myself. About how I choose to live my life.
I’ve basically had to rethink everything.
I’ve had to relearn a lot of things too – like how to stand on my own two feet again.
I’ve had to find a new way to live independently in a world that was alien and completely terrifying to me this time last year, without relying on alcohol.
I’ve had to find new, better ways of managing and channelling my emotions and replacing old, destructive habits with new, healthy ones.
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I started to write as therapy. Putting my thoughts into words helped to make sense of it all.
A year ago I was an emaciated, alcoholic mess. I could barely string a sentence together.
Now my new life revolves around me stringing sentences together.
A year into recovery and I’m a published writer.
My blogs educate others about the dangers of alcohol and the fragility of mental health and also aim to inspire people who may be fighting their own battle with addictions, showing that, with the right support, recovery is possible.
Going into detox was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
But coming out the other side as a brand new version of me has been liberating.
It not only saved my life, it’s given me a brand new one.
One with purpose and meaning. One that I enjoy living