Addiction is Fucking Ugly.
I’ve been drinking again. Heavily. I’ve not been sleeping. Until yesterday I hadn’t brushed my teeth in 4 days. Hadn’t showered in 6. Did it matter when I wasn’t seeing anyone? Except the Deliveroo driver, or the people in Tesco. 2m distance and all. Every morning, for the brief waking ‘sober’ moments I would panic. What did I do the night before? Okay I wasn’t leaving my house, but who did I FaceTime? Who had I messaged? What had I posted on social media? What state was the living room in?
This ‘hangxiety’ isolated me further. Instead of sharing what was happening I buried it. I stayed in bed until the afternoon. I dreaded checking my phone. I skipped breakfast. I skipped lunch. I went to different shops to buy the alcohol. My head said stop but my feet took me, my hands grabbed the booze – whilst I pleaded with myself to stop. I cried a lot. I went to manic highs. Followed again by crashing lows. I put off work that was already delayed. I felt like shit. I buried it. The alcohol numbed the panic I felt because of the alcohol. It was a cycle. Again.
My addict loves my company. It loves my isolation. It loves me keeping secrets. I’m terrified of the damage I’m doing. Every pain I feel I think ‘this is it. I’m dying.’ Yet the next drink silences that thought. My therapist has asked me ‘what are you numbing?’ Everything. The lockdown. The state of the world. The fear. The uncertainty. My grief of Mum and Nan’s death. The fear that I’m dying. The fact I’m earning so little. The house I’m trying to purchase. My constant anxiety. The list goes on.
Breaking up with drinking is terrifying. I’ve said it before, but it’s like that one ex you know is toxic as fuck, yet you keep waking up in their bed again and again. You tell no one. You feel such shame. You fight with yourself. You think this is going to be the time you win them over. You can beat the toxic cycle and have a normal relationship. Your head tells you no; your body takes you there. I’m not perfect. I’m incredibly flawed. I’ve glowed up, and I’ve lost that sparkle. Recovery isn’t linear. Every day I’m hung-over I say ‘not drinking tonight, tomorrow is a new day.’ That lasts until around 4pm at best. Rinse. Repeat.
I so want to be a normal drinker. Have two glasses and put the bottle away. But I can’t. The only times I’ve managed to have 2 and stop is if I’m too sick to drink. Normally from drinking the previous day. I know now not even a bottle of wine is enough. I always buy at least two, maybe a few beers as well. When its running out, I get rising anxiety. What happens if this runs out? To be honest, I always buy enough to get myself blackout. I keep drinking until it’s gone and I pass out on the sofa, or bed if I manage to drag myself upstairs.
I’ve had so many rock bottoms. I’m starting to think it’s not a finite place. It’s simply a time we choose to build on. I know if I continue this way I’ve got further to fall. I’ve had hospitalisations. What happens the time an ambulance isn’t called? What if I ever decide to get behind the wheel to get more alcohol? Thankfully I haven’t done this and Deliveroo has extrapolated many of my English pounds from me.
I need to go food shopping today and I’m scared to see the alcohol aisle. My addict loves telling me ‘do it, no one will know.’ Except I will. I’ll see the state of the house and ignore it for yet another day. I’ll know I haven’t taken care of myself for another day. My life is slipping away; I can’t remember half of it, and I’m not even engaging with the other half. I have so many plans for the future and they’ll just stay as plans unless I actually do something about it. I’ve already lost out on so much in life because I prioritised drinking.
My addict tells me how much I’m going to miss out on by not drinking. All those wonderful social occasions. The friends I’ll lose because they’ll stop asking me to events if I can’t drink. I need to focus on what I have to gain. I can learn to process my trauma. I can actually get out of bed and do the work I want to do. I can begin the mental health campaign I feel so passionately about. I can go surfing of a weekend. I can have the money to do activities I’m normally too broke or hung-over to do.
I have so much shame, so much regret. All from drinking. Drinking silences this shame for a time but it’s waiting for me, ten-fold, the next day. Drinking just pauses everything. It never stops anything. Yet time continues. So I’m in the same place just further along in time.
I went back to AA last night. I heard stories about what could happen to me, about what had happened to me. I looked at faces that were happy to be sober. Faces that seemed so far removed from the stories they shared. My addict tells me I’m not like them. I’m not strong enough to get there. Their addict told them the same, I’m sure. Yet they all found their foundation to build on, and are in a place they never thought they would be.
I’m terrified. I’m terrified to break up with alcohol. My life-long partner. I’ve been in her pocket since I was 14. Where I would do anything to get my hands on that numbing juice. Over half my life I’ve drank, and drank heavily. I’m also terrified to keep drinking. What damage have I already done? What damage will I do if I continue?
I slept for 11hr 31min last night, according to my FitBit. God did I need it. I changed bedrooms in this house. I made up a new bed. I had a bath, and I slept and slept and slept. I’m feeling withdrawal today. Shakes, headaches, cravings, sickness. It’s not new territory to me. I’m going to do AA tonight. I’m going to eat home cooked food. I’m going to do the work that needs doing. Personally and professionally. I might even go for a walk, and not to buy wine. Today is a new day.
One day at a time.
My name’s Meg and I’m an Alcoholic.
Days sober: 1