I’m so sorry I’ve been so silent; I’ve been swamped with coursework and then I’ve been a bit unmotivated to do anything- I’ve literally spent the past week watching Netflix and ignoring all of my responsibilities. I’ve also just got a new job which I can’t wait to begin as a Coronavirus tester at the university, I begin that next week and I’m so excited as I’ve missed working so much.
I want to begin this blog post with an apology, to my family and my closest friends many of you didn’t know about what I was going through much less so how I was coping and what I weas using as a vice. This isn’t an easy post for me to write and I know for sure it won’t be easy to read back, but I want to show you all how easy it is to get caught up in something that could potentially ruin your life.
I first drank alcohol outside of my house when I was about 13. To a lot of people that doesn’t seem like a shock and to others it’s mad. I never really saw the hype and I was always terrified I’d get in trouble with my parents if I was to come home drunk. I didn’t really drink through my time at school, it was definitely for the best as I already dealt with that quite badly and having gone through that time suicidal, I don’t think I ever would’ve recovered had I been drinking then.
A month before I turned 18 was the first time, I ever got drunk, I was horrific. I don’t remember anything about that night and only know what I’ve been told by others. I remember hearing that my friend had had to carry me to my car to which my father looked ridiculously disappointed. I remember going into work at 7am the next morning and lasting an hour before the smell of McDonalds breakfast led me to throwing up my insides and having to leave work early. I was so embarrassed and knew I’d get in trouble so rather than going home I trekked to my friend’s house and stayed until what would’ve been the end of my shift before making my way home pretending, I had worked through the pain.
The rest of my final year in school I realised my full potential as a lightweight, I’d go out with my friends and I began finding new alcohols I loved. I began drinking more cocktails and realised how much I detested shots. I hated clubbing in London, it was expensive and the nights you got for the cost you paid wasn’t even slightly worth it. When I moved to university, I never thought I’d enjoy clubbing, I never thought I’d enjoy drinking either. Then it began…
When I moved to university in 2017, I was actually in a really good mental state, I’d recovered from a lot and though my bipolar diagnosis was quite new I’d began to understand it and was learning how to control it. In my first week, as a fresher, I didn’t go out too much. My first night out I’d set the tone for the whole week having thrown up on my flatmate after two Jagerbombs. Never again. The rest of the week we had the occasional night out every other day and this turned slowly to a weekly night out. I drank more casually, having some wine occasionally or a malibu and coke whilst I did work in the evening. In the second half of that year, I went out more with a different group of people, and considering that I was just rediagnosed with depression and my PCOS diagnosis had come in I was in a vulnerable state. I shouldn’t have been drinking, especially to the amount I was.
That summer I began working at concerts and festivals, and I truly thought that maybe I’d stop drinking so much because of it but I never did. I remember one night going out after working at British Summertime festival all day and going to one spoons before making our way to another- wearing our work uniforms and smelling of sweat and pints. I was in a bad way that night and so was my bank account as I regretfully looked at it the next morning, I’d been in an utter state. I’m not going to explain the story of that night because I am so embarrassed that I did what I did and if anything, it taught me that tiredness and alcohol doesn’t mix at all. Just a month later I began working at a tourist destination in London and at the start I thought that it was going to be really good for me to not be able to drink, it was in our contract that we’d be tested regularly. This quickly seemed to fade as I was invited for drinks most nights, celebrating people or just erasing the day that had just passed. I’d be in central London over an hour away from home at midnight knowing I was trekking the same journey back to work at 6 the next morning.
When I began second year, I didn’t expect what happened, I’m truly horrified how it played out. A few days into fresher’s week I was spiked on a night out and having spent the following day half spent throwing my guts up and half sleeping I still went out the following night. Granted I did it sober, and for almost a year past that date I refused to drink VKs remembering the state I’d been in that night. I began going for drinks in the evenings more and found myself often on cocktail bar crawls with friends not realising I’d been drinking day in day out for weeks. The night after I’d attempted on my life, I was in pryzm drinking all of the pain away with triple vodka cokes, they were the rough days.
Then my 20th birthday came, and I spent the day drinking around family and friends, quickly followed by my trip to Amsterdam another trip I drank my way through. Then I returned to Plymouth and not only did I go straight back into going out every night, but I also began drinking through the days. Me and my course mate would go to 9am lectures knowing that at 12 we’d leave and head straight to the bar then drink ourselves blind before I went home ate and carried on drinking for a night out. I did a whole month of continuously drinking, and then March hit and I was vulnerable again. I’d had my heart broken and I was trying not to completely lose myself, so I did just that. I should’ve noticed myself hitting rock bottom when I got so drunk, I may as well have not gone to the Post Malone concert I’d been buzzing to go to for the past 5 months.
I had complete FOMO though, and it was obvious by the number of times I’d planned to skip a night out and ended up out instead. I had severe attachment issues which led to high anxiety thinking if I missed out, I’d be left behind. It was silly, but I couldn’t afford for it to happen like that. Summer 2019 I drank a lot again, I was dealing with a lot of pain and couldn’t deal with it alone like I was having to. I tried to stop drinking, but the feelings of loneliness were only growing and therefore drinking was really the only option I had.
Freshers 2019 I went in with a new mindset, I knew that I had begun to use alcohol in the wrong way and was determined to change things. I didn’t realise that I wouldn’t be able to and I think that was one of the hardest things. I continued drinking a lot and made some terrible decisions, many of which I’m not ready to talk about yet. I hope one day I’ll be stable enough to explore them and let them be part of my history, but they are still part of my present state and I can’t change that. I was drinking a lot again; I’d often go out one night and without even recovering make my way to the pub for the following night. I began to plan my schedule around night outs and pub trips, around drinking and being hungover. It was disgusting how I’d began to live my life, but I couldn’t stop it and I also didn’t want to.
Being drunk was a way of releasing myself from the pain I was feeling. I felt untouchable like nothing could ruin me as long as I was drunk. It was so toxic. Over the course of lockdown, I began to see how I’d let alcohol influence me, I felt like I needed a drink every day. It wasn’t a want anymore it had become a need and it was draining to keep fighting my head when it was tempted by a gin or cider. My family noticed and tried to ban me from drinking every night but that only spurred me on more, it was as if drinking it would annoy people and that was what I wanted to happen. It became so toxic.
When I moved to Carlisle, I began by drinking wine once a week as a treat, having the occasional malibu as well. Then things got difficult and I was more tempted leading me to drinking bottles of wine regularly in large masses, I was escaping a dark place and didn’t know any other route. My sleeping pattern was ruined and my 9pm bedtimes and 5am wakeups stopped me from being able to socialise, I’d stopped watching Netflix and spent my days doing work before drinking myself to sleep. There was nothing to look forward to when I woke up.
Stepping into 2021 I knew things had to change. Alcohol wasn’t just a treat anymore but a vice. Ahead of my birthday I’d been sober for a week and since the 15th of January I’ve had one gin and lemonade after a stressful day to settle my nerves. Tomorrow I am 3 weeks sober, the longest I’ve been since I began university. I can’t lie to you all and tell you I haven’t craved it. I’ve sat and stared at my bottle of malibu and contemplated how risky having just one would be but each time I’ve managed to talk myself out of it. Something I never thought I’d be able to do.
The hardest part about facing your demons is you realise what your vices are, I spent years thinking I was drinking because of university culture but the truth is it was a form of escape. It was the only way I could be happy, and I didn’t know anything different, so I let it continue till now.
I’ve been dreading writing this post, not only because I knew it’d be long, but also because this is me admitting my deepest shame. I hope if you read this far you don’t sit and think how someone could let it get out of control like that but notice how easy it is for it to get out of control. To my friends and family, I’m on the road to being healthier and I won’t be having a drink until I feel strong enough to only have one without slipping again. I’m sorry it took me so long to notice, you’ve all been telling me something I didn’t want to hear for years.
If you feel like you need help or are on a similar journey yourself, please message me. We are stronger together always.