Today marks four whole years sober. Four years since I last let a drop of poison pass through my lips. Four years since I willingly indulged on my own kryptonite. Four years in which I’ve been able to rebuild my life. So today is a great day for me personally.
However, I was rudely reminded this morning of the damage that alcohol has done to me. Let me explain.
I may look relatively healthy on the outside, but I am still healing on the inside. My liver may no longer be diseased or enlarged, but it’s not just your liver that alcohol attacks.
Almost every morning for the last four years I have woken up feeling pretty rough. I wake up to a pain and uncomfortable feeling in the upper part of my stomach.
Ironically, today on my four-year sober anniversary, it was worse than usual.
It goes away within an hour or so of waking and doesn’t affect my ability to work etc. It often prevents me from eating breakfast and it’s not a nice start to each day. I’m used to it now and I know that It’s a miracle that I’m alive in the first place.
I’m not writing this to have a moan. To be honest, I’m pinching myself If that’s the only repercussion I’m left with after hammering my body with up to a litre and a half of vodka a day for years.
I’ve had every test imaginable to find out what is causing it and after a number of ‘we think it’s..’, the verdict is that my stomach and oesophagus are still red raw from me stripping them bare, time and time again with high strength alcohol.
FOUR YEARS LATER, my stomach is still red raw!
That is the damage alcohol can do to a person. That is why I am writing this. I know people will be reading this and thinking ‘well I don’t drink a litre and a half of vodka a day’.
That may be true, but again, I’ve been extremely lucky that feeling rough some morning’s is all I’m left with (touch wood). I stopped drinking at 26, you may have been drinking for 10, 20 or 30 years already. It all adds up.
I actually try to look at my stomach situation as a bit of a blessing. It’s a reminder of the dark days of drinking. A constant reminder of how much I hate alcohol. It’s so important for me, and my head, to find positives out of negatives. Sounds cheesy, but it’s true.
Anyway, this is a positive post. I am four years sober today and I’m bloody proud of myself for it. If I can do it, anyone can.
And if I can come out of it four years later with just a slightly broken stomach each morning, then there is hope for anyone.
Your body is an amazing thing and has an incredible capacity to heal. You just need to do your part, sooner rather than later.
Recovery is possible. Change is possible. There is always a way back.
Thank you for reading, Toby.