I had always thought what it might be like to under go treatment for addiction, or in my case alcohol addiction because I had a strong fondness for beer. I would always drink my alcohol of choice way too quick ergo I would want more and then I would be well away getting completely off my face. The curiosity came about when I would try to kid myself that if I ever had a problem that I would be able to handle it by myself or be able to catch it in time and stop it becoming a real problem, then I would often think about people who needed the help who had to turn to their local substance misuse services and arrogantly thinking to myself that I would never let myself get like that or ever develop an addiction.
The punchline is that I did develop an addiction to alcohol, a fairly serious one with the added complication of being a type 1 diabetic on top of that. As you can imagine the implications of what an alcohol condition combined with diabetes is unpleasant, but its something you never contemplate when you’re in the throes of addiction. As if you thought about it you would be forced to think about the side effects, but then when you do that you think you may have to quit which is something you absolutely don’t want to do when all you think about is where you can get your next drink.
I was fairly lucky in retrospect that I managed to get help and stop drinking fairly early 27/28 years of age, before any damage that had been done to myself would become permanent or seriously damaging. It still scares me to think back from 5 years ago when it all started up, to now and thinking about all that alcohol I consumed, and possibly what state would I have been in 15-20 years down the line, it’s absolutely terrifying.
Everything came to a head where even I could see that I wasn’t even drinking for the taste anymore, I was drinking because I felt I had to, I felt that it treated my anxiety, when I was drinking I didn’t feel lonely anymore and so on and so forth. That was the time that I realised I needed help and was ready and accepting of help because if you don’t really want to quit then no one can really help until you ‘accept’ it yourself. I went through that as well, I had attended an appointment at the local substance misuse service centre and said my ultimate goal was to ‘cut down’ on my drinking to a sensible level, which was a challenge I accepted, full of energy that I was going to make a change in my life.
The problem here is that I never attended another appointment and spiralled even deeper into myself, isolating myself even more because when you have alcohol what else do you need? It seems silly now having taken myself out of that, but at the time when your that desperate for relief, the want to forget about the world around you?
It seems like the most important thing in the world.
Which makes me proud that I got help and that I managed to quit and have that personal life goal of maintaining my abstinence from beer permanently, there’s no cutting down or drinking on certain days because that just won’t work with me, recognising that and even sometimes when you think id like to have a beer I don’t, as you have made a commitment to yourself. The next step in my journey is to get to know myself again, to reacquaint with the person I once knew, which is scary as it’s the unknown but at the same time its turning that unknown into something positive because you can finally be who you want to be.
Being able to talk about it and own it is something that I’ve worked very hard on and it is the reason that I decided to write about my problems today, to have that mental release and to maybe give you the lovely readers a glimpse into the mind of a recovering alcoholic.
*Forgot to mention that The workers at my substance misuse service have been absolutely brilliant and that I would have been lost without them
Thank you for reading