Realizing you can’t drink anymore can be devastating or freeing. Read Mandy’s Naked Life Story and see how she handles the realization.

can't drink anymore

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.

Punishing Myself

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.

The Spiral

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.

Read it

Starting to think you can’t drink anymore? Start reading This Naked Mind today to find out how to stop without feeling deprived! 

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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.

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