‘It’s 5:30am on a Wednesday morning as I wake. I have an indescribable feeling of sickness in my stomach and my hands and legs tremble as I struggle to raise myself to a seated position. You can’t see the bloodshot in my eyes as the whites are now a dark yellow. The withdrawals are already well and truly kicking in and my heart keeps ‘dropping’ as it does before I have a withdrawal seizure. The taste of bile in my mouth is overwhelming but I only have one thought in my mind, a complete tunnel vision to get alcohol in my system as soon as possible. Next too my bed is a 35cl bottle of vodka I have made sure is there for me the evening before. The shakes get worse with every movement. The first thing I do is make myself sick to create a 2-minute window where I can neck the vodka and hold it down so it can get in my system. There’s only bile in my stomach so it’s more like retching but it’s the only way to give me that window. After this I try to steady my hands, so I can grasp the bottle of vodka in one and a can of mixer in the other, and start taking alternate mouthfuls until the vodka is empty. Then I simply sit as still as possible to avoid bringing anything back up whilst I wait for the alcohol to ease the withdrawals and the sickness in my stomach. My arms begin to stop shaking, my heart begins to seem content and the vodka burns away the sickness in my stomach. I’m now just about functional, well at least until lunch time when my next bottle will be consumed. I throw on some clothes to try and make myself look half presentable, and then off I go to do whatever I can to make sure I have that bottle for a few hours time when the shakes return….and then one or two more for the rest of the day and of course to make sure I have a bottle by my bed for around 5:30 the next morning.’
Hello all you lovely people who are taking the time to read this. My name’s Toby, I’m 28 years old and I’m a recovering alcoholic. The above is a grim description of what my daily morning routine involved during the darkest months of my journey to sobriety. I have spent my entire adult life battling my addiction to alcohol, a journey which has involved 7 months in rehab, breaking the hearts of my family over and over again, countless stints in hospital and eventually liver disease at 25 which almost killed me. (the split photo at the top of my blog is me now and me with liver disease outside hospital in 2015, hopefully you can guess which is which!)
I am ridiculously proud and pleased to say I have now been sober for almost two and a half years. And I could not be more content with my sober life! Obviously, I still have my bad days, but I’m now strong enough and well equipped to deal with them without reaching for the bottle. I have come from a place far deeper than rock bottom in less than 3 years to where I am today and now I feel the time is right for me to try and help others who are well and truly in amongst it, because I am living proof that there is a way back no matter how much of a chokehold you feel alcohol has on you. Hopefully this blog can help someone out there, whether they are completely dependant or feel they may be starting to rely on alcohol to get through life.
About 8 years ago I couldn’t imagine an evening without a bottle of vodka and the thought of not getting hold of a bottle would bring on a panic attack. This was the point when I desperately needed help. This is the point when I needed to tell someone I had a problem. This is the point where things could have been so different if I had accepted I had a problem. If someone is reading this, and the above is you….please talk to someone about it and get help. It’s the beginning of what could be the end. I have been so lucky to come out of it alive. I would not wish the life of an alcoholic on anyone, so please talk to someone and get help whether it be a friend, family member or alcohol addiction service such as AA. Believe me, if this is you, I can almost guarantee it’s only going to get worse and it will destroy your life and the lives of everyone who loves you, unless you get some help. Its not going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination but you are strong enough to beat it.
Life can be a wonderful thing, don’t let alcohol rob you of it. Be strong, use the love of your friends and family to make you stronger and don’t be silent if you think you have a drink problem, TALK TO SOMEONE about it and get help.
Thank you so much for reading and good luck, Toby.