This post is something a little different. When a few people had contacted me to say thank you for writing Alcohol Explained I added the ‘Personal Stories’ page to the website sand started asking people who emailed me if I could add their stories there.
Vicky is someone who contacted me quite early on (for regular readers of my blog you will have seen her comments) and I have been in regular contact with her for some time. I asked her if she would like to send me her story to be included in the ‘Personal Stories’ page, but when she sent it to me I thought it was worth circulating.
Vicky has an Instagram account, @sobersimply, that is well worth checking out.
If anyone else is interested in sharing their story please feel free to get into contact. It doesn’t need to mention Alcohol Explained, the point is to inspire rather than advertise!
California 1983 … The first time I got black out drunk was two days after my 14th birthday. I was with a boy older than me who plied me with Olde English beer and peppermint schnapps. I came to in a terrible state… and covered in vomit, room spinning, I didn’t remember anything.
I am originally from Belfast… family parties in the 70’s… smoke filled room and whiskey, fishing, shooting and bombing stories way into the wee hours. With the troubles going on around us and drinking in the house there was always the threat of violence outside and in. Drama ruled OK
I carried this theme through my teens after we arrived in America. I always drank more than the boys. I would organise the drink for every party and they were plenty and usually dangerous. I was loud, aggressive. Fought boys. Climbed onto roofs, etc etc Drinking helped me keep up this persona. I progressed quickly to selling soft drugs to college softies at parties and then hard drugs to harder people and of course I got these from even harder people to begin with… got in well over my head. I became sick, depressed, addicted to crystal (now called crystal meth) all before I turned 16.
I was encouraged to meet my estranged father back in the UK and skipped off on my adventure there where I met a boy and settled down to raise our family… our firstborn came when I was 18.
We were a good fun couple and drank and were always the last to leave any parties and so it made sense to have more at home so we didn’t have to leave them at all.
When we parted ways I took the boys to London and my drinking career took a solitary turn. I had the look of a rabbit in the head lights constantly but I kept a decent full time job going and better jobs came along and the boys got bigger and my drinking terrified me. I couldn’t stop for a day . Every few months I would do just that to prove to myself that I wasn’t an alcoholic but I just shook my way through to the next day when I could drink again and be proud of myself that I hadn’t needed it the day before… I was in my early thirties.
Time flies and I graduated to passing out on buses, in parks, on trains, any bench on my way home from the office…I’d always find my way home eventually so I didn’t look that bad! my boys would pull a cover over me and pop my spilled glass in the sink practically every night. They never shamed me but they must have been as lonely as I was.
I Sabotaged each and every relationship I embarked on. Created drama so I could storm off and drink and blame the other person sufficiently with my pride intact. I was reckless and cruel and so very very frightened. All of the time. In true form I covered all fear by being loud and aggressive. I would by then attend AA meetings in a panic, often drunk. I was desperate to stop, to cut down. All of the usual… change what I drank, where, who with, when…
I read Alan Carr’s Easyway to quit smoking and found his alcohol version. I didn’t realise that books like this existed. Craig Beck, Wine O’clock, Soberistas, I totally devoured them and felt so good each time I quit for a week or so. I had this taste of what life could be like. Then I’d try and moderate again and my heart would sink and I’d drink the drink… but once you’ve tasted freedom it doesn’t leave you.
Last year I was fortunate enough to become ill with just an ear infection… god only knows how I have stayed physically well. At this point I was living abroad with my partner who I tried to behave well with and hide my ‘problem’ from but still managed to be very hard to live with I’m sure.
I found William Porter’s book by googling ‘alcohol’. When I saw the title ‘Alcohol Explained’ I felt this rush of excitement and a huge feeling of security… a feeling I don’t believe I’ve ever had. It was that strong. Someone was going to explain it to me! I figured that if I knew what the hell was going on I might be able to figure out how to stop it from happening. Hopefully this Mr Porter could shine some light on all of this.
I read it in two days and then again… and again and quit drinking and read ‘this naked mind’ and William’s book again… I soaked myself in his facts and it all clicked … my body would behave like this because of that. Always seeking homeostasis. William gave me answers to questions I hadn’t realised I was asking.
I tried a couple of times over the following few months to moderate but quickly realised the dangerous road I was trekking back down… that I’d need to carry on sober and make a new little bumpy road to sanity in my tender brain. I’ve been sober now for 7 solid months and every day is a total revelation and a blessing. My life is full now and not with drama but with peace and fun and getting to know who I actually am. Thank you William Porter. You saved my life.