My names Katie and I’m an alcoholic, this is a sentence I say twice a week and will do for the rest of my life. I am living a life in recovery and have been doing so since 24.5.2016 and I love it.
I’ve had a few reactions when I tell people the reasons why I don’t drink, the most common being;
“You don’t look like an alcoholic”.
I’m not offended, I used to think that alcoholics sat on park benches drinking out of huge plastic bottles swearing at passers-by, but not all do (although I was one of those park bench – drinkers). We look like everyone else, we just suffer from an illness many don’t understand. I’m hoping this blog starts to change that and allows people to see that addiction isn’t anything to be ashamed of, or hide from. It’s something to be learnt from and lived with.
So my story goes something like this (although massively condensed for blog purposes and the attention spans of millennial’s)…
I was a ‘normal’ teenager; going out at weekends, only drinking with friends, although I always drank to excess – but so did everyone else – didn’t they? As time went on, life happened. Life for me included a great family, a couple of stressful but well-paid jobs, a few relationships, some great friends, some not so great friends; I faced the ups and downs of general life. But this life got in the way of me seeing how quickly my illness progressed. My late 20’s are somewhat of a blur, and by the age of 30, I had graduated with honours in alcoholism.
Towards the end of my boozing days, I would only drink alone (sometimes on those park benches I judged so much previously). I was ashamed and knew I had a problem, but I couldn’t stop. I would constantly black out and often woke up not knowing what day it was, let alone the time. I didn’t look after myself, or care about my appearance. My anxiety had grown so much, I couldn’t talk to my friends without having had a drink, I couldn’t talk to anyone without having had a drink.
In the last few months of my drinking, my physicality had deteriorated. I couldn’t feel my left arm and I shook dramatically if I didn’t have a drink when I woke up, I covered this up by sitting on my hands. I also lost the ability to string a sentence together, I couldn’t remember the most basic of words. Then there was the bleeding, this came out of every orifice you could imagine, regularly (sorry –graphic I know but I am trying to make a point).
One day I was offered the chance to go to a rehab facility, I went into a 28 day programme, to which I owe my life.
I have been sober since the day after I went in (I was drunk the day I went in there and don’t remember arriving) and I have never been happier. I’m no longer controlled by my illness, I’ve done things I couldn’t have imagined doing before, and I owe it all to sobriety. I have rekindled my love for all things fashion and have a passion for health and well-being.
I was one of the lucky ones, the support of my wonderful friends and family got me through and into rehab, but the unfortunate truth is that others aren’t so lucky. Writing this was difficult but I want to do anything I can to bring awareness to this killer illness, it can happen to anyone, anyone can end up on that bench.