‘’Life can be a funny thing’’. Those were the words of my auntie Gail who’s visiting from Australia.
She was one of the many family members who were forced to watch from afar as I ripped my immediate family to pieces with my destructive alcoholic behaviour.
Those words escaped her mouth as she watched a special news programme on TV that I helped to create.
I still pinch myself every now and again. I’ve been so lucky to come out of the other side of alcoholism. And even luckier to end up with a career I love. A career which blossomed from this blog about recovery from addiction.
So yeah…life can certainly be a funny thing.
It’s not just my auntie who’s visiting. I’ve got my cousin from Australia and relatives from Norway here too.
They’ve all come over for my sister’s beautiful wedding which took place last week.
My little sister is amazing. She is kind-hearted, caring, and supportive.
I’m lucky she even talks to me considering the stress I must have put on her when she was growing up.
My addiction to alcohol began to impact upon my family when I was about 20. At that point, my little sister Charlie would have been 14.
I made her teenage years hell. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for her. I was a constant black cloud over the whole family.
If my parents weren’t at home worrying about whether I was drinking, they would be at my bedside in a hospital somewhere as I promised for the hundredth time that I would stop drinking.
Meanwhile, my 14-year-old sister was trying to figure out her own life.
Her whole teenage experience was followed by this depressing cloud caused by my addiction.
That’s what alcoholism does. It doesn’t just tear apart the addict’s life – its reach is far greater than that.
Anyone who’s emotionally connected to the addict absorbs some of the pain in one way or another.
It was the same for my older brother. Maybe not in the same way, but it still ate away at his life.
Yet, both my brother and sister, hold no resentments towards me. They are super supportive, and I think we’re all closer now than we’ve ever been.
I think that says a lot about them. I’m certain that if I was in their shoes, I wouldn’t have been so forgiving.
But what it proves is that no matter how much damage your addiction has done to those you love, there is always a way back.
I’ve now attended both my brothers and my sisters’ weddings since I got sober. Those are huge family moments I would have missed out on if I wasn’t in recovery.
It’s easy to let the damage your drinking has done be an excuse to keep drinking. I’ve been there. You think relationships are irreparable, so ‘’what’s the point?’’.
My story is living proof that you can claw back those relationships. Maybe not all of them – but it is possible. You can make amends.
It won’t be quick, but I’ve seen first-hand how even the deepest wounds can heal over time.
And that process ALWAYS starts with you putting down the bottle and reaching out for help.