Realizing you can’t drink anymore can be devastating or freeing. Read Mandy’s Naked Life Story and see how she handles the realization.
Numbing The Pain
I started drinking when I was 14. The first time I abused alcohol was at the age of 22. I had had some traumatic experiences as a teenager, that I hadn’t dealt with and when I ended the secure 2 year relationship I was in, it broke me and everything that had happened in the past overwhelmed me. I would go to the shop and buy a bottle of red and drink it. This was the first moment when I realised that alcohol could be a powerful tool to numb my pain.
All I Knew
A year later I met a man and we fell in love. In January 2005, we did Dry January and it was fantastic, so fantastic we decided to carry on and not drink for a year. I have such fond memories of that time. At that time it wasn’t that I couldn’t drink alcohol, it was that I didn’t want to. We got pregnant, decided to change our lives and move to Europe. I had my second child in 2008 and I started to get depressed. I was alone a lot of the time and a stay at home mum. I was sleep deprived and having not dealt with a lot of my history, consumed with overwhelming fear. Sadly, I hadn’t stopped partying either, mostly it was when I returned to the UK.
I was only in my late 20’s and that lifestyle was all I knew.
I went back to work, and was very successful, but I drank HALT every day (HUNGRY, TIRED, ANGRY and LONELY). I had black outs and accidents. Honestly, I made a fool out of myself and lost my sense of self. I knew I didn’t want to be that party girl anymore, but I didn’t know how to change. Deep down, I wanted to be an adult, but I was terrified of the responsibility. All I wanted to do was be a good parent, but I felt I was doing everything wrong. I felt guilty, ashamed, anxious and depressed all of the time. So I used drinking to punish myself. The last thing I wanted to do was admit that I couldn’t drink anymore.
In September 2013, I had a massive panic attack and I went to the doctor. The diagnosis was clinically in burnout and I was prescribed antidepressants. What I didn’t do was stop drinking. By Xmas 2013, I knew my behaviour was out of control but I couldn’t stop it, I didn’t feel worthy of being well. On Dec 27, 2013, in the middle of the night–as I had constant insomnia, I searched “do I have a problem with alcohol?”. Stumbling across Soberistas, I watched Lucy Rocca’s interview on This Morning On and I knew, this is me… I am borderline, I am a habitual/problem drinker.
Stopping and Starting
So I tried to stop and at the beginning it was extremely hard. I had lots of slip ups. Knowing I needed help I went to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and I wrote a lot. In Feb 2014, I stopped and didn’t drink for a year. Again it was fantastic. This was a time of rebirth, of strength, of positivity and possibility. I lost weight and I quit my job. I was so positive that after a year, I deemed myself fixed and convinced myself that I could drink moderately. Between 2015-2017, I drank on and off, knowing I was better without booze, but wanting to be “normal”. I would drink until I would realise I couldn’t drink anymore. Then I would have three months off and start again, wanting to be a chic drinker with a fine wine, but it didn’t work.
I have no off switch and controlling your drinking is exhausting.
I Can’t Drink Anymore
This summer, I sat on holiday, again exhausted by a summer of drinking. I was on Soberistas and I saw the download for Annie Grace’s This Naked Mind. Reading it made me realise that I was truly done, that being sober is something worthy and strong and inspiring. I can’t drink anymore. I also read Bryony Gordon’s Mad Girl, which gave me the reassurance that my struggles with mental health were nothing to be ashamed of. I realised that if I share my story, it can help. So I’ve engaged with the sober community on Instagram and Facebook. I’m listening to podcasts and going to Club Soda events. Now I realise there is a really wonderful community of sober people. Finally, I don’t regret or feel my sobriety has been forced upon me. I have chosen sobriety for me, my body and my brain. I am sober for the health of it.
Starting to think you can’t drink anymore? Start reading This Naked Mind today to find out how to stop without feeling deprived!
Share Your Story
Now that I can’t drink anymore I realise I don’t want to either. There is strength in numbers so please share your story and we can experience it all together.