I hate the phrase ‘trigger warning’ but I think that I need to put a little warning here as I want to write about the horrible thought processes that I used to slip into when I was drinking (and I still do fall into these patterns, even now).
I remember when I was coming to the end of my drinking career, I could feel that my liver was starting to hurt and I was really worried that I was going to die. But I couldn’t stop so I just prayed each day that I could live until my son got married.
After that point, I didn’t care. As long as I got to see Noah paired off with somebody lovely, I was quite happy to then go and drink myself to death.
Although I don’t ever want to drink myself to death anymore, I can sometimes run the risk of falling into the same pattern of thinking. It’s when I get stressed or upset of tired, I find I can spiral.
The last few months have been really hard with my mum kicking dad out and then turning on Noah and I. I feel like I’m bereaved as she has cut off all contact with me. And so, I have found myself occasionally thinking that I’ll just hold on until Noah turns eighteen and then I can take my own life.
I promise that I won’t do it, but it just goes to show how a few knocks can put us in a really vulnerable place. I know that there are a lot of people who are going to feel stressed over the coming months and I want you to stay strong if you feel yourself wobbling. I’m not telling you I struggle for sympathy, but to show you that we all like that from time to time.
Stay safe and talk to somebody if you’re not feeling good.
I have found since I stopped drinking that I’ve begun to watch a tonne of reality shows. I find that I’m absolutely fascinated by them and I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. I almost felt a bit embarrassed about the fact that I adored Love Island.
However, I think I now know what it is that keeps me hooked. I think that it’s because I’ve been drinking heavily for my entire adult life and now that I’m only three years out of it, I’m still trying to learn all of the things that everyone else learnt during their twenties.
Romantic relationships are completely beyond me because I’m emotionally about fifteen years old. So Love Island is a treasure trove of ‘information’ for me. I get to see all these people fall in love and break up all in fast forward.
You may all be laughing at me and being all judgey, but I promise, I’m only watching it for scientific purposes.
An overdose on happiness is quite a dangerous thing.
And no more than three days,
She added rather sternly.
Otherwise you could become dependent.
I nodded as I paid, pocketing the pills.
The woman knew me well,
She knew I was addicted
And yet she still allowed the sale.
The shame I felt was great, reddening my face.
To struggle to get through a day
Without a bump of chemical
Was almost more than I could bear.
But still I bought and still I swallowed
In the hope that one day I
Would live a life where joy
Was something that I didn’t need to buy.
If you have ever suffered with any form of addiction I think you will be able to identify with the shame that is felt when you have to go into the shop and buy that thing that you are dependent on. I remember going to a different shop each time I had to buy, in the hope that the shop assistants wouldn’t recognise me. My worst fear was that they would eventually start to refuse selling to me.
The shame becomes so great that you are sure they are looking at you in disgust. You are sure that any health warnings they are giving you are a dig rather than just being something they have to say as part of their job. You become paranoid.
It is horrible, but as I was writing this, I realised that everybody has these addictions that make us feel better even though we wish they didn’t. For some it might be something as simple as a love of expensive makeup. It may feel harmless, but wouldn’t it be nice to live a life where happiness came from within and didn’t need to be bought?
If you are struggling with addiction, please do reach out for help. It can be deadly and there is so much support out there. And if you are just struggling to find some happiness in life, don’t think that buying something is going to fix it. You need to start loving yourself because no amount of makeup or clothes or cars or furniture will fill the hole that is causing you so much pain.
The curse of no boundaries isn’t fixed by such notions.
A kiss or a pill or a magical potion
Won’t help her to grow a skin that is thick.
The rope that you throw her
Will find its way round her beautiful neck,
Because this dear damsel is really just sick.
I’ve pushed it too far and now I am suffering. I know that I’ have trouble saying no because I think that people will hate me if I do. I think it comes from my days as a child where I was told by my mother that if I didn’t live up to expectations then she would stop talking to me. When I was a teenager she once stopped talking to me for a month. I had blocked a lot of these memories out but during therapy I was told that this is neglect and is most definitely behind some of my weird behaviours as an adult.
This week I said yes to overtime when I knew that it was too much and now I have crumbled and let everyone down. It’s a familiar cycle that I want to break and I feel a bit pathetic in not being able to do so. I have turned off my phone so that the world can’t reach me and all I want to do is hide in my flat.
I empathise with you if you are struggling to say no. Don’t be an idiot like me because now I’m in a bit of hot water. Look after yourself and set boundaries that will protect you from going through this. It’s something that I’m going to have to work on, but at least I have an awareness now. I just have to grow a pair and do the painful bit of the process.
She watched intently as he potted plants and cut the grass.
It looked like quite the idyllic Sunday afternoon,
With golden rays of shimmery light
Bathing every plant and every tree in warmth.
It should be framed inside a watercolour painting,
For everyone to see and to enjoy.
But underneath that technicolor surface,
The tranquil peace is far from being still.
A pebble has been thrown with force
And now the chaos ripples out with devastating ease.
She turns away in pain and love, a complicated mix,
And tells herself that nothing’s ever perfect.
Marriage never can be smooth, once the doors are closed.
It’s messy and it’s nothing but a tricky balancing act.
She’s sure he’s seething as he slices through the lawn,
She’ll give them time to both cool off,
And when the stillness is restored,
They can try this all again.
I was watching a programme today and one of the characters asked “Are all families like this?” and the other nodded sadly. I think that realisation can be both a heavy one to bear and quite liberating at the same time.
It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that nothing is ever going to be perfect. When we are kids we have this fantasies about marrying the love of our lives and living happily ever after in our beautiful houses and never arguing or losing a job or getting divorced.
And then we become an adult and realise that none of that is true. I drank a lot to suppress this because I still wanted to live in my fantasy world. Getting sober has meant that I have had to face these disappointments head on and it’s been hard.
I guess that what I wanted to say in this poem is that relationships and whole lives can look perfect on the outside, but normally there are little disturbances always rumbling away underneath, away from sight.
But don’t give up just because something has gone wrong. You can have an argument or a mishap at work and come back from it. This was something that I didn’t understand when I was drinking. I thought that I just had to throw the towel in as soon as something went wrong.
I hope that if you are going through a tough time with something, that you find the strength to fight through it and save the situation. Never make yourself miserable, but remember that some things are worth saving and pain does fade.
I have such a problem with acceptance and it’s taken three years of recovery and working on myself to realise this. While I was drinking I struggled to come to terms with the fact that I can’t make people like me. I can’t make them be nice. People are who they are and I may just have to disagree with them. And quietly, without an argument.
It’s still something that is hard because I am going through a difficult time with my mum and all I want to do is force her to like me. But I can’t and that really hurts in a deep way. But I will sit on my hands and keep my mouth shut. All I can do is be ready for her if she changes her mind, be ready to accept her and love her.
I hope that if you are struggling in a relationship that you can find the strength to be accepting and loving and patient. Just let go and Let God, because everything happens in his perfect timing.
Just sitting with pain has been one of the hardest things to do n recovery. I would always have vodka on hand to anaesthetise the feelings that gripped me and frightened me. Now, I have to sit here, feeling the pain and the darkness and it’s really hard. It seems counter intuitive to sit still when you’re scared; why not run?
However, I do it because I know I have to and each day I see that I’ve made it through and it’s a cause for celebration. I won’t say it gets easier because that’s a lie. It never does. It’s always hard. But as yet I haven’t died and you won’t either.