I am 50 and had been drinking since I was 16. I was always able to hold my drink, but made sure that all my boyfriends and other friends seemed to be drunker than me. It made me feel better than them. Back in my teens and twenties I drank because I was shy, and of course I lost my inhibitions with drink, wine mainly, because I could always find some and my parents enjoyed it, so it was plentiful at home.
Over the last 10 years my drinking steadily increased. I worked from home, so sometimes I would treat myself to a ‘working lunch’. I was horribly secretive drinker. Hidden bottles, drinking out of a mug pretending it was tea. My poor husband didn’t really know how much I was drinking, he was often bewildered by how drunk I could get on 2 glasses of wine – that is the 2 he knew about.
I knew that I drank too much, I knew I was unhealthy, and I tried at various points over the last 10 years to cut down. But always the excuses were there, and the elaborate bargaining (only white wine, only at the weekend, only from a special glass) I was holding on to a slippery slope made of polished ice, and I was wearing slippers. Of course, I slipped back into my comfortable habit. I would have called myself a ‘high functioning alcoholic’ – I worked, earned, lived in a nice house, didn’t beat my children etc. But I look back now and I see how poorly I was functioning – always close to missing deadlines, being a pain in the bottom at social functions, driving when I shouldn’t have.
I was scared to go to the GP, or any strange group. I owned up to a good friend who told me about Harrogate Sanctuary and Sarah, who was just like us except sober.
And she is. I could immediately relate to her and of course she to me, there was no judgement, just a deep desire to help me get my life back. She never told me to stop drinking, but showed me how progressive this was and where it might end up. It was an education and she gave me the support I needed without rules or deadlines.
Thank you, dearest Sarah, my rock, my lifeline, my friend.