I have mentioned often that I have suffered substance abuse in my past, however there is a lot that I leave out, I don’t talk about it in detail and even my family and friends who witnessed my addiction, only knew half of the story.
This is incredibly hard for me to talk about because I know how much of a stigma there is against substance abuse but for me, it was my only coping mechanism and outlet to a difficult life.
I had nowhere to turn so I just drank to feel numb, as I have insomnia and it was the easiest way to fall asleep fast.
With what started with one innocent bottle of cheap booze, at age 14, came a battle I fought behind the scenes. I didn’t often drink with my friends as they certainly didn’t seem to see alcohol as something they needed, just something they enjoyed once in a while.
I would steal my mothers spirits but this wasn’t a long-term solution and it got harder over time to cover up my tracks. That was until one of my friends offered to buy me alcohol, he didn’t know I had a problem, he just thought I wanted to chill out once in a while.
I was drinking every single morning and night, I was always tipsy or drunk but never enough to forget it all, as I still didn’t want my parents to find out and I needed to act sober now and again to avoid the impending punishment.
One day, I got a phone call to come home immediately, my parents had gone through my room and found the booze. Of course I was mad at them for invading my privacy but they may have just saved my life.
It was cold turkey from then on for the next few years, I still went to house and field parties but I was not drinking everyday, more like once or twice a month, sometimes even less and it was certainly a healthier living than I was at 14, when I was barely out of childhood.
Then at 18, my dad died, I wasn’t allowed to grieve because I was too busy looking after everyone else and trying to sort our lives out, I was trying to be so strong but I couldn’t cope so I started drinking again.
I met my husband when I was 19 and his unconditional love, respect and support made me forget about booze. I just slowly became less dependant and interested in it.
Nowadays I can barely finish a small glass of booze because I just don’t enjoy it and I can’t get drunk now due to my history leaving me with a high tolerance. It a real sign I only drank from the stress and pain.
So what made me become an alcoholic?
For me, it was because I was bullied at school, I was ashamed of myself. I couldn’t talk to my family or friends and truth be told, due to being unpopular all my life, I felt like I had to do anything to keep this popularity I had recently found and I loved the drama, it made me feel like I mattered, like they cared and like I wasn’t invisible for once.
If I have had an outlet, If I understood more about my mental health and I was listened to, I am certain I would not have been an alcoholic.
It’s a shocking and uncomfortable thing to admit that at 14 I was an alcoholic, as that is such a young age but it is not something I intended to make a habit and I certainly had no aims to hurt others or myself, I just wanted to feel normal. I was not ‘acting out’ or ‘just being a teenager‘ and I wasn’t a bad person, we need to stop assuming the worse of all alcoholics, there is often a cause, stigma kills so don’t feed it.
If this blog post can tell you anything it is that, substance abuse can start at any age and it really is very easy in the modern world to get your hands on any harmful substance, so it is important to talk to your children and keep and eye on them, try to listen to them and work on the route cause; if they are abusing or harming themselves a punishment can push them away and make it work.
This blog post also is a reminder that you can be so reliant on alcohol or any substance, so much so that it becomes your life, and it often destroys your life, but you can still come out of it and live the life you dream of, a good one free of harmful substances.
I believed my life would only be smoking, drinking and toxic relationships, but after a lot of work on my mental health and with a lot of support from my husband and dog. I now don’t smoke, I barely drink and have married the kindest man, my soul mate, things can change.
I really hope this post comes across in a positive light, that can give a reader some hope and support. I kind of feel so vulnerable talking about this, so I guess I’m a little scared of all your responses but if it helps one person, that’s all that matters.