Lucy Rocca

Lucy is the founder of Soberistas. She launched the website in November 2012 after closing the door on a 20-year-long stint of binge drinking. She is Soberistas’ editor, and has written four books on the subject of women and alcohol (The Sober Revolution, Your 6 Week Plan (co-authored with Sarah Turner), Glass Half Full and How to Lead a Happier, Healthier and Alcohol-Free Life). Lucy lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire.

Posts by Lucy Rocca

I dreaded the thoughts of not drinking

During the years when booze was a constant in my life, I very rarely considered not drinking. Yes, it was always at the root of all the disasters that kept on springing up, hitting me repeatedly, trying to drive the message home.

Coming back for more…? OK, here’s another drunken, messed up relationship with someone who does nothing for you.

Here’s an entire weekend spent lying in bed crying, not daring to face the world.

Take this massive blast of shame, can you believe you REALLY did that??”

 

I did n’t care, drinking would not harm me

And yes, I was fully aware of all the health harms I was subjecting myself to, but really, I didn’t care all that much. I wasn’t in a place where I held myself in especially high esteem and so it was easy to keep on knocking back the wine. Plus, in the name of denial, I think I had a fairly strong hold on the notion that I was somehow not like everyone else.  My liver would be able to withstand the regular battering, and maybe, just maybe, I’d be able to outrun the immense self-abuse and live well into my eighties.

 

When I started not drinking

I stopped drinking because I was scared to death that if I picked up one more glass of the stuff, it could kill me. I wasn’t being melodramatic.  As soon as I had managed to gain some clarity on the situation I found it utterly remarkable that I hadn’t lost my life in and amongst all of my boozing adventures. The nights I had walked home in the early hours – staggered would be more apt   in ill-boding areas of town and as vulnerable as they come. Like a baby bird fallen from the nest; the many, many dramatic falls down staircases and steep driveways, on the ice and in the middle of roads. Countless nights in seedy pubs with seedy people who were capable of dangerous things.

 

I dreaded a future without drink

So when I first quit, it was with the hope that in doing so I would save my life. I didn’t expect a lot else. Maybe gritting my teeth, gazing lustfully towards drinkers who appeared so happy and carefree with their alcoholic beverages to hand. Maybe I suppose a feeling of ‘doing the right thing’ – like I was being a good girl now that I was all grown-up and dealing with my little problem.

Beneath all of that, however, I was dreading this new life I’d committed myself to. It stretched out before me like an endless parched landscape of drabness. I expected at that point to be left wanting for the rest of my days.

 

Five years on

Five years on, I’m really quite shocked at all of the goodness that’s emerged from the single act of stopping drinking. I never imagined any of it, couldn’t have seen it coming. I frequently sit back to take stock and ask myself,

“Really? Is this my life? When did it change so massively?”

It’s as though aliens whipped me away one night, did a major overhaul with what I was and then dumped me back down, all new and fixed.

 

I got my confidence and self esteem back

The things that have happened are direct consequences of me no longer drinking. Mostly they’ve arisen because I got my confidence and self-esteem back, which led me to making better choices. I found the nerve to say no sometimes, without being terrified that the person I was saying it to would hate me for it. I challenged myself with new experiences. Things that resulted in me meeting new people and making friends, because instead of only ever wanting to drink, and drink and drink, I needed – and chose – to seek out more from life.

 

I got to know who I am

I found the courage required to take risks. Calculated ones that didn’t wind up in disaster as they always had in the past. I began to believe that people might actually like me. So I stopped being so defensive and paranoid, and I opened up to the world in return. I got to know who I am deep down.  What I need in order to be happy, and then I had the self-belief to go out and get it.

 

I was wrong, not drinking made me happy

I never foresaw any of this when I decided to stop drinking.  All I thought I was doing in making that choice was reducing the risk of dying before my time. It was a knee-jerk reaction. Born entirely out of fear and one that I felt was going to be a hardship. Something that would drag me down and make me miserable forever.

How wrong I was, how unbelievably naïve. I’m so  grateful  that I did it anyway. Not drinking has made me happy.

 

Editor’s Note

Sometimes it can take professional support to get these lovely benefits Lucy describes. Lucy herself got professional help.  If this is you, you might find these posts below helpful

Can an alcohol counsellor help you ?

Key questions to ask on alcohol treatment,

My alcohol drinking was bad for my daughter

There are many parents out there drinking alcohol and  managing their alcohol drinking sufficiently well that it has no detrimental impact upon their children. But I wasn’t one of them.

Although I was never knocking the vodka back at 7am or staggering up to the school gates at home time with bottles clanking in a plastic bag, I certainly prioritised alcohol fairly highly in my life, and it frequently affected my older daughter in a number of ways.

 

I rushed through her bedtime stories

For a start, I used to rush through her bedtime stories in order to speedily tie up the day’s parenting duties. My desire to do so was, of course, due to the bottle of cold, white wine that would inevitably be resting in the fridge downstairs, the beads of condensation that coated the glass inviting me to dive in.

 

I drank where kids could play in the pub beer garden

Secondly, I would frequently plan my spare time around alcohol drinking. This might have meant organising a little dinner party for friends (read, major drinking session), or a get-together in the local pub beer garden – somewhere where the kids could play, obviously, while the adults grew steadily more inebriated and less responsible. Sometimes it meant calling on the help of a babysitter so that I could indulge in my wish to achieve mental obliteration via alcohol consumption.

I snapped at her for no good reason

Thirdly, the after effects of my alcohol drinking were apparent to anyone in my company, including my child. The lethargy and bad moods were almost certainly picked up on regularly by my daughter, although she probably had no idea why I was snapping at her for no good reason or why I had no energy to do anything other than lie around watching TV.

 

Social services were never involved

There were no major catastrophes, thank God. No medical emergencies where I was too out of it to respond quickly and appropriately. No occasions where I didn’t manage to drag myself out of bed to take her to school or collect her in the afternoons. I never lost my job or was threatened with losing my child to the care of the Social Services because I was deemed incapable of looking after her.

 

My alcohol drinking was bad for my daughter

But there was a catalogue of alcohol-induced depressive episodes, unpredictable moods, of silly and irresponsible life choices that affected my daughter’s upbringing, of money spent on fags and booze that could have gone towards things of benefit to the two of us. And there was the relentless display of how a grown woman acts – an example that I set, week in and week out, that revolved around escaping my reality and living recklessly.

 

I no longer embarrass my daughter

Five years ago, I gave my daughter the best gift I could have given her: a mum who is present and engaged with her children; a mum who is fit, healthy and cooks nutritious meals, encouraging an interest in a healthy lifestyle in both her children; a mum who displays a level mood, who doesn’t bite her children’s heads off for no reason; a mum who is up at 6am most days taking care of running the house and providing a secure upbringing for her family; a mum who can be relied upon not to embarrass her children by being out of it; a mum who doesn’t drink alcohol.

 

Editor’s Note

If you’re worried your drinking my be harming your children, you can take our short Janus course to find out all your pros and cons of drinking. Click here to find out more.

Controlling drinking with 3 small actions

Worried about controlling drinking?

Someone asked me “how to make a  towards  controlling drinking”  recently during a conversation  about making the transition from dependent drinker. I believe you only have to make three small changes in the first instance if you want to improve your life by permanently quitting drinking. And these changes are as follows:

 

Tell someone

If you decide to stop drinking but tell nobody, it remains very easy to give into temptation further down the line when you experience a major craving. Because who will pull you up on it? Who is going to remind you of all your good intentions for resolving your booze problem? Making yourself accountable is incredibly effective for keeping you on track – and you can do this by using an app on your phone, by joining an online community like Soberistas or just by telling a couple of close friends and asking them to encourage you to stay sober when you have a wobble.

 

Promise yourself you’ll not drink for one month only

Habits only take a few weeks to break so rather than committing to a lifetime of sobriety, just earmark the next month as an alcohol-free period. By the end of it you will almost certainly feel differently about booze, and you’ll probably have noticed some or all of the many positives that arise from sobriety: weight loss, clearer skin, improved sleep, more money in the bank and a more level mood. Once you have proved to yourself that you can manage to stay sober for four weeks and you have experienced the advantages of sobriety for yourself, you’re much more likely to want to stick with it.

 

Brainwash your thinking

We live in a very boozy society and right from the moment we’re born we are subjected to glamorous, exciting imagery and messages relating to drinking alcohol. By the time we reach adulthood we tend to be hardwired in our thinking about booze, believing that we need it in order to have fun, we need it to celebrate, and that without it life will be dull. One of the best ways to counteract this overwhelming mental conditioning about alcohol is to read, read, and read some more books on becoming sober. There are loads of titles on this subject – if you need some inspiration then have a look at the Books section of Soberistas where you’ll find numerous reviews written by our members on the books that have helped them kick the booze.

 

Editor’s Note

It can be difficult to get started on controlling  drinking but every little action you take will help you towards your goal of getting your drinking under control. Don’t worry if at first you don’t succeed because once you keep trying you will eventually get your drinking under control.

 

I thought I was a social drinker

I was never a bottle-of-vodka-at-7am type of boozer but I loved alcohol.  As I transformed from a child to a teenager, I never imagined I wouldn’t become a social drinker. And I got started early, aged just thirteen.

 

I was a fun drinker

But I (almost) always managed to restrict my consumption to within the realms of social drinking, regular UK-style binge drinking – ‘fun’ drinking.  Of course, there were always the exceptions.  Particularly during the last five years of my boozing life.  I occasionally veered into the dark world of lone, secret drinking. I began seeking a certain level of self-medication via the wine I was buying increasingly more of.

 

The wheels never fell off

But the metaphorical wheels never fell off spectacularly.  I didn’t lose my job, or invite the attention of the social services due to alcohol-related child neglect. I didn’t even look especially booze ravaged, other than on the odd mornings after very heavy, late night drinking sessions.

 

I convinced myself I was a social drinker

In fact, right up until I ended up in A&E one morning as a result of passing out after consuming three bottles of wine, I mostly managed to convince myself that the odd negative consequence of my wine habit was just part and parcel of life as a social drinker.

  • Blackouts? Didn’t everyone suffer alcohol-induced amnesia once in a while?
  • Snogging someone who I didn’t really like (never mind be attracted to)? It was merely evidence of my rock n roll approach to life.
  • Wiping out yet another weekend due to a debilitating hangover?

Ditto the rock n roll lifestyle – I was living life in the fast lane and enjoying myself. Wasn’t I?

 

I failed to recognise the bad consequences

The truth was that there were many bad consequences of my habit but I was so accustomed to them because of the longevity of my alcohol dependency that I failed to recognise them as being the direct outcome of drinking:

  • My snappy, uneven mood that manifested itself in me being an inpatient and unpredictable Mum.
  • The deeply entrenched feelings of self-loathing that arose each and every time I engaged in regrettable behaviour when under the influence, and lingered beyond.
  • The fact that I struggled just to make it through the morning at work without my hangovers being noticed, ultimately meaning I never strived to excel in the workplace.
  • The endless small change that dripped into the tills at Tesco in exchange for the odd bottle of wine and the accompanying packet of fags. This  amounting to roughly £300-£400 per month.
  • The frequent panic attacks that  left  me struggling to breathe and terrified that I was having a heart attack.

I accepted all of these as life just being the way it was, the hand I’d been dealt.

 

I could n’t see the wood for the trees

The thing is that as soon as a few months of sobriety had passed, all of the above were relegated to my history.   I quickly realised  that life wasn’t like that for a person who doesn’t touch alcohol. But as a drinker, I was so immersed in the world of hangovers and boozing and planning to drink, that I couldn’t see the wood for the trees. Or, more accurately, I couldn’t see the clear downsides of excessive drinking from within the alcoholic fog I lived in.

 

You don’t have to reach rock bottom  to improve your life

If the outcomes of alcohol misuse are not catastrophic, this does not mean that life cannot be immeasurably improved upon by becoming a non-drinker. I will be eternally grateful that I tried my hand at not drinking. It turned out to be the best decision I have ever made.

Getting back on the wagon after an alcohol blow out

Lots of people announce their intention to quit drinking.  Then, a few days, weeks, or even months later, they fall off the sober bus with a resounding crash and a major alcohol blow out.  Why does this happen, and how can we resume an alcohol-free life once we’ve caved into temptation?

 

It’s a dead cert for an alcohol blow out

There are lots of reasons why people will pick up a drink again after stoically declaring,

‘No more!’

Peer pressure is a major one, as is being unprepared, not sure what to ask for in a pub round or how to answer questions about why you’re suddenly teetotal. Boredom is another very common reason behind resuming one’s alcohol habit – if the drinking hours are not replaced with alternative and fulfilling activities, it is almost a dead cert that temptation will eventually prove too difficult to resist and you’ll have an alcohol blow out.

 

Is a full on binge inevitable?

And when we do cave in and drink, it’s very probable that it won’t comprise of just a couple of drinks but will be a major blowout, one that will be regretted enormously the next day. If you decided to quit drinking permanently,  it was more than likely down to your inability to control your intake, so after a dry period, a full on binge seems almost inevitable.

 

Can lessons be learnt?

A blowout can be perceived as a good thing if lessons are learnt. Many people will indulge in a drinking session just to test the water – to find out if somehow they’ve been ‘cured’ of their inability to control their drinking as a result of being completely sober for a length of time. Experience would suggest, however, that this will not be the case with exactly the same problems arising from having that initial drink (i.e. a crazed desire to go on drinking until blind drunk) as have always done.

 

You are human

Firstly then, a blowout is a great opportunity to be reminded of the fact that no, you can’t drink in moderation. Secondly, your wretched state the following morning should be noted to remind you of why exactly you hated drinking so much last time you decided to quit. Thirdly, it’s important to remember that you’re human and it takes a while for the brain to rewire itself after years of perpetually drinking heavily. If you’ve been a big boozer for twenty years, (like I was) it will take more than a couple of weeks to rewrite your neurology. I found that the cravings and triggers disappeared fully after about two years of constant sobriety, and now, five years on I never, ever feel compelled to drink.

 

Write down your feelings

Finally, it can be helpful following a blowout to write down your feelings about the incident: why did you decide to drink? What was the trigger? Did you feel good about any of it or was it all just a horrible mistake? How do you feel now – is there anything you can learn from the experience? And keep these notes to go over the next time you feel a wobble coming on. In this way, you are making yourself accountable to yourself, and recording the thought processes surrounding your fall off the wagon so that next time, your urge to drink won’t take you quite so much by surprise.

 

 Don’t feel ashamed

Stopping drinking is for lots of people a two-step-forward-and-one-step-back process, so there’s nothing to feel ashamed off if you don’t succeed in becoming sober straightaway. Be kind to yourself and use the experience positively. You will get there in the end!

 

 Editor’s Note

If you’re suffering from the effects of an alcohol blow out  and  trying to decide whether to just reduce your drinking or stay off drink all together you might find  our  short online course  makes your decision easier. Click here for details.

 

 

 

Top 4 reasons people fail to stay sober

It’s relatively easy to decide to quit drinking – not so easy to stay sober and stick with it. We’ve all been there. The morning after a heavy night, feeling dreadful and absolutely determined that this will be the last time we’ll ever drink alcohol.  Only to return to the demon drink a few days or weeks later, rose-tinted glasses disguising exactly how bad we felt after our last boozy session.

There are several common reasons for this tendency to resume a drinking habit after a short break. The pitfalls I see most frequently on Soberistas.com are outlined below – but remember, once you’re aware of them, it becomes easier to avoid them!

 

1.Boredom

If you don’t find something else to do to fill up all those boozing hours, you will get bored. And when you’re bored, the desire to drink is likely to be very difficult to resist. The key to overcoming this obstacle is to get busy – find a new hobby, clear out your wardrobe, paint the spare bedroom, start running, learn a language…whatever it is, just make sure you’re not sitting there twiddling those thumbs!

 

2.Loss of self

Lots of people use alcohol to help lift them out of the humdrum. Drinking can inject excitement into your life. It can  also become an integral part of your identity – once it’s gone, it’s easy to feel a little lost. Self-esteem is key here.  If you think you are using booze to help you feel confident/sexy/funny/sociable perhaps you need to consider building your self-esteem in other ways (counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, exercise and mindfulness are all good methods of achieving this).

 

3.Impatience

It’s very common to expect the tricky phase of adjusting to staying sober to be over and done with really quickly. This, however, tends not to be the case. When people expect that within a month of quitting the booze they’ll have shed all their excess weight, be sleeping like a log and have battled all their internal demons, they are bound to be hugely disappointed when reality hits. Things may take quite a long time to settle down. I estimate that it took me about 18 months before I felt properly adjusted to my new alcohol-free life. The weight didn’t come off until I wrapped my head around my unhealthy eating habits (a good 3-4 years after quitting drinking!).  My self-confidence was only restored after a couple of years. So, patience and realistic expectations are vital. The magic won’t happen overnight…but it WILL happen!

 

4.Alternative strategies

Many people use alcohol as a way to combat stress together with a whole host of other emotions they don’t want to feel: anger, jealousy, sadness, and bereavement. When you stop drinking, you MUST seek out alternative strategies for coping with emotional struggles – exercise works wonders, and having a warm bubble bath in candlelight can be an effective solution for stress management. Talking to friends and sharing the weight of your anxieties or keeping a journal and getting everything off your chest via writing are both helpful in this respect.  Whatever works for you, be sure to turn to that as a strategy instead of hitting the bottle.

 

Believe in yourself and stay sober

It is doable to stop drinking permanently and stay sober. However  once the initial excitement of embarking on this new chapter of your life has faded, it’s essential to put in place practical solutions to stay sober. Look at it as a long-term plan and have realistic expectations in terms of time scales.  Don’t forget to believe in yourself. You can do this!

 

Editor’s note

If you’re finding it difficult not to drink too much, you might find our course on deciding whether to stop drinking altogether or reduce your  drinking useful. Click here to find out more

It’s never too late to stop drinking alcohol

 

I love not drinking alcohol. Quitting alcohol was the best decision I ever made and the benefits to both my mental and physical health have been endless. One of the things I didn’t expect to gain from being teetotal – or rather, something I just never really thought about – is clarity. I didn’t quite appreciate how fogged my mind was from regular and heavy drinking until I put down the bottle for good.

 

I began to see the world in technicolour

Once I’d embarked upon sober living, and stopped drinking alcohol my brain seemed to come back to life and I began to see the world in Technicolour – or that’s how it felt!

For this reason alone, I believe it’s never too late to stop drinking. Even if you’ve been knocking back the booze for decades and feel as if you’re too old in the tooth to make such dramatic changes to your life…my advice would be to just try it.

 

Alcohol prevents us from feeling pure joy

The numbing properties of alcohol can be alluring when things are not going our way and we want to block out pain. But alcohol also then prevents us from feeling true joy – the kind of joy that envelops your whole being and makes you feel like singing at the top of your voice and shouting from the rooftops. That joy doesn’t happen immediately after you quit the booze; it can take several months of adjustment before you are emotionally open to experiencing such unfettered happiness.But it’s really worth the wait.

 

A natural high

People call this type of happiness ‘a natural high’, and for me, these rare moments of über pleasure are better than any ‘high’ I ever achieved artificially from booze or other drugs. I have felt as though I’m walking on air on so many occasions since being sober – running though the park, sitting in my garden, being with my partner and feeling fully connected, watching my youngest daughter sleeping, laughing at a stupid joke with my eldest child…the list goes on. The common factors in all of these experiences are: my mind is totally clear, I have no shame or self-loathing weighing me down, I’m living a life that I love instead of one that brings me misery on a frequent basis, and my appreciation for the ‘small stuff’ went through the roof once I kicked booze out of my life.

 

It’s never too late to stop drinking alcohol

It’s never too late to treat yourself to these natural and beautiful moments, when you are able to see the world for the amazing place it really is. You’re never too old to know what it feels like to be truly happy, or to experience full gratitude for all that you have at your fingertips. For me, it would never have been possible to feel such joy with alcohol poisoning my mind and body on such a regular basis. And while there are countless other benefits to be had from leading an alcohol-free existence, this one, for me, comes top of the list every time.

 

Editor’s Note.

You can find out whether to stop drinking alcohol or simply reduce your alcohol intake here.

Do health care professionals downplay alcohol misuse?

In my last post, I described the night when I said my final goodbye to alcohol. A night which concluded with me waking up in a hospital bed. I was an adult- thirty-five  but had  no memory of having got there. The duty nurse  checked me over before sending me off home with my tail between my legs. She  asked me nothing about my  circumstances. Why had  l consumed so much booze that I’d collapsed and vomited all over myself repeatedly. Nor did she ask why someone, ostensibly of reasonable intelligence, could find herself drinking such vast quantities. So much  that she would be brought into A&E via ambulance on a Wednesday night, after drinking alone.

 

No alarm bells were ringing

Surely, alarm bells would have been ringing out? Surely the nurse might have pondered the fact that perhaps, possibly, just maybe…I had a drink problem? But no, I was asked nothing.  Given no information about alcohol dependency. Neither was I signposted in the direction of any help.

As it turned out, I received a great big kick up the backside that night with regards to how I couldn’t moderate my drinking. So I decided to quit there and then – without any support. But once the dust had settled, I was struck by how I’d been allowed to wander so easily, so unquestioningly, from that hospital ward; potentially straight out of the A&E unit and back on the booze.

 

If I’d overdosed on heroin…

If I hadn’t frightened myself so much by drinking my way into a hospital bed, the message I received from the duty nurse that night could well have been sufficient in reassuring me that what I’d done was entirely normal – virtually acceptable behaviour. If I’d overdosed on heroin, I wondered, would I have been offered more assistance? Would more concern have been shown? Is it that we are so accustomed to excessive drinking in the UK that even those working in the health profession no longer bat an eyelid at the awful impact alcohol has upon public wellbeing?

 

Health Care Professionals downplay alcohol misuse

I appreciate that the emergency services are stretched to the maximum, and no doubt this played a part in the nurse’s reaction to my situation. But via the comments I read regularly on Soberistas.com with regards to GP’s and their collective reaction to heavy drinking, I am aware of a tendency to downplay alcohol misuse amongst health professionals. The very people who are incredibly well placed to spot (and thus help to curtail) alcohol dependency issues.

 

I believe it’s time to reassess our relationship with booze on a national level  and  look at  the downplay of alcohol misuse as follows :

  1. Don’t just focus on how the alcohol industry markets its products
  2. Examine how  teachers speak about booze in schools,
  3. How do health professionals react to admissions or indicators of alcohol misuse in their patients?
  4. How the government responds to calls for tighter regulation on alcohol sales
  5. How the government responds to calls for  the introduction of minimum unit pricing?

A common approach across all of these institutions is badly needed.  One that clearly highlights the dangers of alcohol when consumed to excess. if these organisations work together we may well begin to notice the beginnings of a sea change. This sea change is badly needed when it  comes to the general population’s relationship with alcohol.

 

Editor’s Note

In Ireland the situation is not much better. Many Health Care professionals downplay alcohol misuse  and we’ll cover  this  in a future post. Yet,  over 1,500 of our 11,000 hospital beds are occupied every single night by people with an alcohol related illnesses. You can see what these illnesses are in this short video.

Fatal alcohol poisoning- a close encounter

I felt bad and opened  a bottle of wine.

One night in April 2011, was my last night of drinking.  I was to have a close encounter  with fatal alcohol poisoning.  I felt bad and opened a bottle of wine- not an uncommon thing for me to do. I’d had a rubbish day in a job I hated, and was feeling sorry for myself; I’d been unable to utilise the law degree I’d recently obtained as a mature student due to training contracts being scarce in the recession-hit job market. So, as I always did back then when I was experiencing an unpleasant emotion, I opened the fridge and pulled out a cold bottle of white wine. I drank it within an hour and made the unwise choice to walk up to the local shop for a second bottle. Once there, I was lured in to the buy-one-get-one-free offer on wine and so threw a couple of bottles into my basket.

 

I woke up covered in cold vomit

I don’t remember a great deal after this, although I do recall feeling slightly intoxicated as I queued up to buy the additional bottles, hoping that the attendant wouldn’t smell alcohol on me. The next moment of complete clarity came around eight hours later when I woke up in A&E under bright white lights and covered in my own cold vomit.

 

A close encounter with fatal alcohol poisoning

As it transpired, I had drunk all the wine plus a litre of cider that had been lurking in my fridge for several weeks (I hated cider), wandered up the drive with the dog so that she could have a wee and I could have a smoke, and had collapsed, throwing up as I lay on the pavement unconscious.

A friend had, luckily, driven past at that point and seen me on the darkened path. He called an ambulance, and I came round several hours later in the hospital bed.

I haven’t written that down for ages. It happened five years ago and I am now so happily secure in my alcohol-free life that when I do contemplate the events of that night, it’s as if they happened to someone else.

 

I saw I could not drink in moderation

That night in April 2011 was definitely a good thing for me. I needed to be shown without any doubt that I could not drink in moderation. I needed to see how destructive my relationship with alcohol had become. And I needed a massive shock to frighten me into stopping drinking permanently. Obviously it would have been nice if I could have arrived at these conclusions without a night in A&E but as it turns out, the experience helped me become the person I always wanted to be.

 

Not every body needs a rock bottom moment

Not everyone has a rock bottom moment, but I am so pleased I had mine. If I hadn’t, I think I might well have convinced myself that my drinking wasn’t all that different to everyone else’s and that I didn’t really need to quit. When I woke up and had to converse with the nurse (she checked my vital signs and made sure I was safe to go home, although interestingly she did not question me at all about the fact that I’d consumed so much booze I’d wound up arriving at hospital in an ambulance at 3am one week night) I was filled with an immense sense of shame. I was also extremely frightened because I knew I could have killed myself.
I emerged from that night with a gratitude for my life that I would never have otherwise found, and for that reason alone I am very pleased that it all took place.

 

Editor’s note

Fatal Alcohol poisoning claims one life a week in Ireland according to the Health Research Board. If you’d like to know more about the symptoms leading up to  fatal alcohol poisoning please click here