I’ve had a problem with alcohol for as long as I can remember. My first drink was a sip of the froth from the top of my dad’s Colt 45, aged 6. My parents always drank at home, daily, wine with dinner, liqueur coffees, it was the norm.
My parents were devout yet hypocritical Jehovahs Witnesses, I was brought up with very strict rules like I couldn’t socialise with anyone outside of the religion. We didn’t celebrate Christmas, birthdays, valentines, easter, bonfire night, nothing, zilch, zero. My mum was very ill and I was her carer from a very young age. My dad was a violent man, I was abused in many ways.
Unsurprisingly living in this sort of environment I developed eating disorders as my weight was the only thing I felt able to have any control over. The drinking picked up pace from about age fifteen, mainly to make me feel brave or to make me forget.
I met my knight in shining armour at sixteen through work, I fell deeply in love and doted on him, couldn’t imagine a future without him in it. He would save me from all the madness of my previous existence. We were together for eight years, living together with our 2 ½ year old child who had recently been diagnosed with a very serious form of kidney disease. Then he left me. I had to give up my job and become a full time carer to my son and found myself homeless.
I got some state help and rented a little flat. Because life was tough, my drinking really picked up pace. Once I had got my son to sleep on an evening then I would get my wine. I felt desperate, lonely and suicidal.
This night time drinking became a habit over the years, the amount increased as my tolerance did. Wine was my best friend, my elixir, my medicine, my relief from every and any feeling. After a few years I remarried, had another child but the habit had become an addiction and I found myself trapped in a prison of my own making.
I began to avoid people and isolated myself. This made my self esteem and confidence drop to rock bottom. I was rushed to hospital and diagnosed with duodenitis, gastritis and oesophagitis – chronic inflammation of the entire digestive system caused by the wine.
To cut a long story short I put myself through a detox. I’d do a few days alcohol free and then fall back into the trap again, then a few weeks before falling into the trap, then a few months. I never quit quitting. I have had to learn how to be a normal human being – simple things like what being tired or hungry or sad or angry actually feels like – everything had been so numbed by alcohol for so many years. With the help of Stephanie Chivers and One Year no Beer I have learned tools and techniques to deal with cravings and start to rebuild my life.
I had no intention to become alcohol dependent and screw up my life, I was just doing the best I could with the limited knowledge I had to get through the cards that life had dealt me. I don’t blame myself anymore. Three books really helped me: There is No Magic Button – Stephanie Chivers, This Naked Mind – Annie Grace and The little book of big change – Amy Johnson.
I immersed myself in anything and everything to do with stopping drinking – books, documentaries, movies, podcasts, articles, lectures on you tube, making connections with people online and joining two online support groups. There is no way I could have ever done this on my own without these support groups.
My depression and anxiety has gone, my eating disorders are gone, my pmt has improved hugely, my ibs has gone, I lost 2 ½ stone, the bags under my eyes have gone down. I have better relationships with my husband and children, have built confidence and started to make some friends. Managing to maintain my sobriety made me believe in my own capabilities to achieve my goals so I also stopped smoking (I was a twenty a day girl), moved to a plant based diet, increased my water intake, started a vitamin and supplement routine. I now do daily mindfulness meditation, self hypnosis, iyengar yoga, bootcamps, ballet, swimming, go to the gym, walk for miles on end with my dog, read probably 1-5 books a week. I didn’t used to have the confidence to walk to the end of my drive with the bin but the other week I got a train by myself and went to London! I’ve just started studying for my psychology degree. All this since January 2017.
Ive just recently started to work through the 21 day coaching program by Stephanie and am finding it incredibly helpful, I do it on my phone so it’s like having my own personal life coach in my pocket! I’ve also agreed to be a mentor in the Women Who Dont Drink group as I really do understand what it is like at all stages of this journey, I won’t judge and would like to pay it forward and help others – you guys reading this. Those of you who want to stop, know you need to stop but don’t think it will ever be physically possible and can only see barriers and obstacles in your way – I am here for you! I did it and so can you.
I can finally say that I am living rather than just existing. I have goals and dreams that I believe are achievable and I am excited to work towards. My life has turned a complete 360! I do not feel deprived or like I'm missing out, instead I feel like my eyes have been opened to the truth of reality.
Sophia - Is a mentor in the Women Who Dont Drink
If you are interested in the 21 day coaching programme click the link here.