I feel guilty writing this, I had a good childhood and a very loving family. I know others have had terrible childhoods and far more understandable reasons for falling into addiction. I have no one to blame for my drinking, it is an attitude and a habit I got into myself. This isn’t about blame, it is about where my attitude to drink was formed and my habit began.
My parents were young when they had me and soon after my birth my brother and sister came along too. From early on I remember spending all of my time with my grandparents, so much so that when I would go home at night to sleep or go on a family trip I felt like an outsider. I remember my gran telling me that they she had agreed with my mum that she would bring me up so that my parents could give their time and attention to my younger brother and sister. I think this planted a seed of not really being good enough or wanted.
I was and still am incredibly shy and I found meeting people and making friends incredibly hard-I still struggle. The friends I made would mean everything to me and often I became too attached and the friendships ended, leaving me devastated and lonely. Alcohol has always played a big part in my family and as we became teenagers we were allowed to drink at parties and holidays. As we got older and could have friends stay over, alcohol played a big part-like most teenagers.
When friends let me down I developed a ‘I don’t need you anyway’ attitude and I would go off and do something on my own. When friends were meant to come over for a drink and then cancelled at the last minute I would stick the proverbial two fingers up at them and drink anyway. It was then I guess that subconsciously I began to think of alcohol as a friend and more importantly one that wouldn’t let me down.
Throughout my life alcohol has been there, in social settings and on my own. I’d never considered it a problem, even though I would drink most nights. So long as I was able to get up and go to work the next day I felt that was fine. It wasn’t until my last relationship collapsed and I began to drink more and more that I realised I had a problem.
I met Jenny through work. I was immediately attracted to her but she was out of my league. She’d had a hard life and had used drugs in the past and got into a lot of trouble. At first I was just friendly and supportive but things developed and for the first time in my life I felt really wanted. She said I was her soul mate and wanted no one else. For a time we were happy but slowly her personality changed, I found out she’d been having an affair with a drug dealer, she started smoking crack, stealing from the house, getting into debt. I drank as consolation.
There were lots of tears and promises to change; and having bailed her out of thousands of pounds of debt she started attending to a 12 step programme and we tried again. This became the pattern for the last five years. For me the trust had gone and the deep hurt remained and I sought the comfort of drink-which had now become whiskey. A year ago she had broken into a friend’s house and stole some valuables. I ended the relationship and helped her get into a rehab. I have continued the drinking as a way of dealing with the pain and loss.
It has started to damage my health and it’s time to stop. After a few false starts I’m three weeks abstinent. The loneliness remains but I am recognising what it is and finding ways to fill it. Go Get Sober has been a real support; just knowing that they are there makes me feel less alone.
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