16

September

Alcohol and me

Thursday September 16, 2021


I come from a family of alcoholics – grandfather, mother and uncle (all blood related) were and my husband has lived with one.

I wondered if my mum had a problem when I came across hidden liqueur bottles at the back of a cupboard – I was looking for a mouse's nest at the time as strange as it sounds. Alcohol was my family's dirty little secret. Grandpa did it to escape from my hideous grandmother (who my mum looked after and it was never appreciated). 10 years my mum was ill, so roughly about from 16 I never saw her completely normal. Her behaviour was deeply erratic. My self esteem took a battering as she turned her venom on me as the two men in my life (father and brother) did their disappearing acts. She made fun of me in front of my friends, constantly rubbished my dress sense and kept on about me being anorexic. Mum started off a size 12 when she was married but crept up to beyond a size 20 (she was only 5 foot) and I never saw her eat loads so thought it strange. For years dad trotted out the bulls**t line that she had an “inner ear imbalance”.

I was told she died of acute liver failure but after he died, we found her death certificate which stated “cirrhosis of the liver”. It turned out later on that Dad was unfaithful throughout the marriage with at least two serious trysts (both when myself and my brother were very young, almost at the same age – 4 years old). He nearly left her. All I could think of was “Please don't leave me with her”.

I have over the years had issues with alcohol and I pat myself on the back for sharing this as it's not easy. I have an issue with alcohol too and felt like at times I was teetering on the brink of something bad. After two (almost consecutive) but not deliberate Saturday nights where I cannot remember the last few hours of the evening and where I have been almost paralytic (but not deliberately), I have decided that enough is enough.

In the past I have had several occasions when I could have been in danger or really hurt myself – my spectacularly bad one was having to go to A and E years ago to get my lip stitched up which is horrific. This thing ruins figures, relationships and god knows what else. I know I cannot be teetotal but I'm thinking of following my husband's thinking. He has a couple of cans of beer a week and that is it. But I'm scared. I have a habit that will be hard to break – what will I replace it with?

I've recently started on HRT and come off anti-depressants for the first time in years and years. I think the hormones are flying around so the fluctuations will not be helped by intake. Wine is my woe. And my tipple of choice. And this time it was bubbles (and constant topping up) that was my ruin – as well as me not saying no. I did say to a friend about having tea instead (it was a 2 pm start) and I don't drink during the day as a rule. I also need to say to people I can't have any. They need to understand that I really mean it and I need to really mean it. I'm determined though. Wish me luck.

Liz
A Moodscope member.

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