Hola Sober April 2024

Although I had experienced the floaty feeling of being tipsy on cider, it was here that I started to experiment with other types of alcohol. I can’t recall if I was 13 or 14, but I was too young. It wasn’t gradual either – a bit of this and a bit of that - my ‘round the worlds’ as they were called were guaranteed to get me where I wanted to go and fast. Of course, my parents didn’t know any of this because I’d mix and scull my drink – I didn’t care about the taste - then make a swift exit from the house usually as they were entering. The effects would hit as I walked down the street to wherever I was going. It gave me a sense of freedom – I didn’t have a care in the world. I was able to create an artificial world inside my head for my own private viewing – my ‘sweet spot’. This was why I drank, and I loved it. It was when I started work at age 16 that my drinking began in earnest – it became part of my weekend life. I would live at home with mum and dad during the week, but come Friday night I would drink at the pub, often to oblivion. I’d made a few friends at work who were older than me so I didn’t get asked my age, and they weren’t as strict about those things back then. I would stay at a friend’s place – boy did she have a drinking problem!! When I look back on my late teen years, I can honestly say that every Friday and Saturday night I drank until I was drunk. I do remember one occasion though - I met a guy at a party who didn’t drink. Obviously, I was still compos mentis because I spoke to him, and he fascinated me. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but he had something that I wanted – the self-respect that comes with sobriety I was first married at 20 because that’s what I thought you did. You left school, got a job, got married, had a child and lived happily ever after. Well, that was a bunch a crap.

Yes, I did those things in that order, but there was never any sign it was going to have a happy ending. My binge drinking continued through my 20s but as everyone else in my social circle drank the same way, I didn’t question it. When I fell pregnant however, I stopped. My husband was the kind of person who shied away from difficulty, so when our son was born – an event that he fainted at - that left two people with no knowledge of what to do. I suffered from severe post-natal depression which wasn’t diagnosed, so I just thought I was crazy. My mother-in-law even looked after our son for a week or so because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I thought having a baby was going to be as easy as caring for a doll. Wrong! I did manage to pull it together, but my marriage fell apart and after three years we separated. Then came a period of time when I was a single mother. I partied hard and quite often alone. In fact, I actually found comfort in drinking alone because when I was with others, I sometimes found myself in risky situations. Enter husband number two – he was fun, he made me laugh and loved to have in-depth discussions and solve my problems. Best of all, he loved to drink like I did. I don’t mention falling in love because honestly, I didn’t know if either of us knew what love was. I was disillusioned by first marriage but I just knew we felt good together, and he was prepared to take on the responsibility of another man’s child. We lived together for a while and then got married in a simple garden ceremony and partied until late. We were so drunk if we did have sex, it wasn’t memorable! Oh, and I was pregnant at the time but didn’t know, but stopped drinking when I found out. Nine months later our son was literally dragged into the world – 10 and half pounds of battered and bruised baby – he was the biggest in the nursery. We did count our blessings that he hadn’t suffered any ill-effects from my drinking.


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