Where I Once Was…

My journey began two and a half years ago in the most scandalous place; a curtained-off corner of a hospital ward in Accident and Emergency. My clothes were drenched with congealed vomit, my memory was utterly ineffective in recalling how I had landed myself in that detestable, shameful bed.

The person who had taken me to the hospital was sitting on a plastic chair next to me. He had been driving past my house at 10:30pm the previous night. I was lying on the pavement, throwing up, unconscious, drunk out of my mind. He did what any responsible person would have done, so he informed me – he called an ambulance and then travelled in it with me to the hospital.

I can still feel the sense of shame now if I transport myself to that bed, concealed by the flimsy green curtain. A grown woman, a mother, so inebriated that she had been taken to hospital in an ambulance where she proceeded to lie unconscious for hours on end, before finally coming to and facing the truth; alcohol controlled me and I had to escape its grasp before it killed me.

And so my journey of sobriety began. Baby steps; avoid pubs, off licences, friends who drink (ok, all friends), stop smoking – the two things were always inextricably linked – and be kind to yourself. Pamper yourself with beauty products, have a manicure, read books, have restful nights, watch films, spend time being sober with your family.

And then the internal scrutiny, my behaviour and all of those demons. Twenty years’ worth of binge drinking to unravel takes time and patience. Weeks become months, moments of panic are slowly lost to the past, downing wine is replaced by other coping strategies; running, yoga, a warm bath, self-help books (lots of those). Begin to socialise again, but now it is different and more to do with the company than the drinking.


The journey is on-going and will last for the remainder of my life, but I know I’ll never drink again. The differences are palpable – no anxiety, no panic attacks, no depression, no mood swings, more energy, creativity abounds, passion for everything – small (jogging in the park early in the morning, just me, the dog and a rising sun) and large (my wonderful family) – and love for other people, a sense of community.

My journey began in April 2011. Taking the first step on a path to happiness was initiated by taking that final step on a road through hell.

15 thoughts on “Where I Once Was…

  1. I want to be there … where you are now. I’m just finding it really hard to stay ‘started’ if you will. I get a few days under my belt and the voice comes calling and then the YUCK sets in again. The vicious cycle that is my life – I want out. I just wonder if I’ll ever be able to get off this hamster wheel because I have that inside voice that still says I should be able to drink like a normal person. I am here with soberistas, I have my blog, I have books, tools and friends who understand yet I still am struggling with STAYING sober. The hardships I’m facing with my teenage girls as a single mother make me want to fade away at times – and so I lose myself in a booze haze. Reading your post makes me long to feel all you’re now feeling. I just have to get there… (sorry for the rant but thanks for listening)…

    • Lel1969 says:

      I got sober 15 months ago , like Lucy says in her wonderful article it is ‘baby steps ‘ at first , avoid friends , especially those who struggle with alcohol themselves and any wet places . Join support groups . the first year Like Lucy , the good stuff has come slowly but surely . I understand myself , fewer mood swings , am off anti depressants for the first time in ten years . What I have gained most though is a relationship with my children again that frees them from anxiety and me from shame and guilt. The obsession with being like other people is one I had too. But I kept playing the tape of what happened when I took one drink , where it took me . The tape never ended happily , it wasn’t glamorous , exciting . I was sick , depressed , bloated , anxious , guilty. Play that tape if you are struggling , I can’t be like other drinkers and am now glad . Sobriety has opened up a world that I always knew existed but could never get to. I am here now and it is a brighter place than the alcoholic world I left behind . Good luck .

  2. Iambizi says:

    you are doing so well on your journey. Wish I had the peace you describe, I just have resentment that I can’t drink like other people….

  3. I am just now forging back into my past–reviving needed work connections, trying to avoid those that might have known that I was fired for being a drunk and NOT laid off. Ugh. It’s hard, and raw. I do think about drinking again, but I NEVER want to be that girl, breaking her arm in a fight with a “lover” (asshole) and then having to stumble to the ER the next day, still blaring drunk, and then, lie about the break, the secret physical therapy sessions, to coworkers and friends; to heal in the privacy of my own home and my own lies. It haunts me, but I can’t figure out a way to reveal it now that wouldn’t bring more things crashing down. This, AND staying sober, AND working, AND trying to keep a family life of sorts going–16 months in and I’m still anxious. BUT, one thing I do know is basic: drinking will NOT help. It is NOT an escape. It is more just a putting me back there, and keeping me there. And I don’t want to be there. And I will keep struggling to get out of there.

  4. This post is so beautiful and just incredibly inspiring. You must be so damn proud of yourself, and what you have accomplished! I know I speak for others when I say thank you so, so much for sharing your story, and giving us these words and this message. It somehow gives me strength, and an overwhelming desire to make it that far down my own path!


  5. Pam says:

    OK. I have been sober for 3 years and 10 months. It isn’t easy. and it’s not easy with a partner who still drinks. He drinks a lot less now, so I have been a good influence. But when he says things like: “I’ve had a really stressful/big/successful/whatever/ day, I’m going to have a glass of wine, I think I deserve one.” I feel – “God don’t I deserve a reward too?” And those are the times I feel really isolated and lost and sad.
    I get very bored around people who drink too much. When they repeat themselves. And I have to say to myself, “This is your karma. You used to do that. You must have been so boring!”
    Drinking used to make me feel I was interesting and witty and confident. But that’s an illusion. I was a bore, at times a tearful, repetitive, embarassing bore.
    So I don’t want to go back to being that person, nor the person who always had to apologize to someone the next day. Or worse, feeling vaguely guilty, but not remembering what I might have said, or to whom.
    I found it helpful to say to myself: “Well when you were a child, you didn’t need alcohol. So go back in your mind and try to recapture the nice child you once were. She loved reading and writing stories, sunsets and walking on beaches and laughing with her friends. Find her again.”
    So, I am still struggling, but it gets easier. I have been very creative, writing plays. I have lost weight. I like and admire myself for what I have done. To regain the respect of my children has been wonderful. But to regain my own self respect has been so empowering.
    I hope this helps you if you need encouragement. You need courage, guys. Be proud of yourself again!

    • sweetie says:

      Thank you for this post, I love it…..I long for the day to be able to have my own self respect back…I lost that a long long time ago and I cry about it, I feel guilty that I did this to myself…that I pushed people away, that I made a complete dick of myself in front of people I was trying to impress…..I have walked the path of shame for too many years. I am really looking forward to being able to look at myself in the mirror and thinking “yeah, your good, great even, well done Sweetie”……

  6. Jane Riches says:

    I love this post. It is truly inspirational. Thanks. I am on Day 10 today and at first was just trying to stop drinking during the week. But now I feel like I want to be sober forever!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s