Asking for help

Last night I watched a documentary about alcoholism. Did you see it? It was by Louis Theroux. He followed four alcoholics as they struggled to get well in the liver unit at King’s College Hospital in London. The courage of the people he talked to was incredible. What also struck me was their sorrow, and the way they tried to cope with sad and difficult things in their lives by drinking. And the drink was slowly killing them.

I may not be there – yet – but it will come if I carry on as I am. And I felt so aware of my own sadnesses, and thought about my ‘coping mechanism’, which basically involves trying to stop drinking on waking and by 4pm drinking again, smothering any uncomfortable or sad feelings with wine, or worse.

It’s another day one for me. I have texted the addiction counsellor asking if he will see me again. I know I need help and that I can’t do this on my own. There are lots of things in my life which I can do alone, and I am grateful for that; but drinking is crushing me.

31 thoughts on “Asking for help”

  1. Good that you’ve contacted the counsellor. If this one is too busy, there will be others. What about some short term meds to help with the physical side?

    But as you say, your problem is emotionally driven. You need to sort that. In my experience of four years of psychodynamic psychotherapy, it was very tough and painful if ultimately worthwhile. That may well be in your near future.

    You seem to be realising that this is going to be a huge and complex task. It can never be just about cutting out the booze and otherwise life goes on as normal. Just remember how much you have to lose if you can’t stop drinking. Your children, your husband, your job, but most of all, your life. You have so much to hold on to.

    There’s no shame in getting all the help you need. And all these “back to day 1’s” will have taught you something. A large part of you wants to stop. It’s a foundation to build on.

    LIft the phone and see your GP. Tell them it’s urgent. Because it is.

    Big hug. X

  2. I didn’t see the show but I did read about it and wrote a post about it. Several things struck me. One was the fact that unless someone is truly committed and determined it won’t happen.
    Another was that they adressed the fact that underlying issues and past traumas need to be addressed. I know this can be painful, but it’s also another form of detoxing. I think it’s crucial.
    Another thing that really made me think was about how the doctors have to come to terms with trying to treat a person that is not on board and then have to find the means to walk away. So many are effected.
    You have got to take the steps and do the work- no matter how hard it is. You will feel so much better and stronger on the other side.
    You are so uncomfortable with your life. Please don’t let that discomfort grow and take you to a place of no return!

  3. Anne… I do not know if you are on Mumsnet but there is a great thread in the Relationships section called DRY. All of us are dealing with alcohol issues, and we have top tips galore, plus solid support. Drop by. 🙂 Our aim is to abstain. We have some on the thread who have been sober for years, others for months, others for days. All are welcome and all are given support. Some of us go to AA, some of us are using other methods.

  4. Yay, Annie! I am excited for you. I was REALLY helped by meds in the past, and had no trouble relinquishing them when my brain healed a bit. Another thing that really helped me with my moods are some of the supplements listed on the SevenWeeks to Sobriety website. I took Glutamine (for drinking urges) like it was going out of style. By asking for help. you are getting farther along in sobriety than I ever did.
    Praying for you. — S

  5. Good for you Annie. Asking for help doesn’t take away your power, it makes you stronger. I saw the programme too but whilst I thought it was sensitively done and commend those brave enough to take part in it, i felt it reinforced the stereotypes that serious/dangerous drinkers drink bottles of vodka or strong cider, have lost everything and cant get up in the morning without a drink. Im sure a whole bunch of middle class mums patted themselves on the back, congratulated themselves for not being in ‘that state’ and took another gulp of wine from a bucket sized glass before planning their next days work and sorting their kids out. Scary.

    1. I agree with SWMum, so I’m glad that you viewed the show (rightly) with the sense that none of us are ‘immune” from this outcome. I think you made the best decision possible today. One very positive step forward. Great job xxx

    2. Yes, I’m sure many mums (and dads) didn’t relate their own drinking to the vodka bottles. But I saw many similarities with my own drinking. Annie x

  6. hi annie!

    i am so sorry you are in the pit! what you describe, of waking up every morning so determined not to drink, then drinking by 4, that is what alcoholism looks like for so many people!

    our paths to sobriety are all so different and unique, but i worry for you because i don’t get a sense of desperation from you, and i don’t know many people who go into sobriety kicking and screaming without first doing it the really hard way. it seems like so many bloggers get to like day 14 and are living in the land of pink clouds! i can only imagine that people are beginning to blog just as they are reaching or have just reached their personal bottoms. i feel that you have so many hearts reaching out to you because you are writing about the struggle that those who are sober went through on the way down.

    i am sending you good energy today. it is SO beautiful over here! try something different. something that feels crazy and dramatic. i feel like you want to slip quietly into sobriety the way one might a sassy new dress and then one day slink out of the bedroom wearing it shyly asking your husband, “notice anything different about me?” and i don’t think it works that way for those of us who are stubborn. make waves, woman!

    i say this all with love. being sober is the BEST but it definitely takes hearts AND hands to get there.

  7. Do you remember what I said about changing every time you try, I can see a changed you in this post. You became strong enough to call the addiction counselor again. Is it the final change you need to quit, i don’t know and you don’t know, but you have this opportunity to explore whether it is or not and you’re taking it. I’m proud of you. Here is what I believe, Annie, and I know others will disagree and that’s okay, we’re all different. As you know, I am very involved on the Moderation Management (No, I’m not going to try and talk you into trying moderation again, I’m not going to try and talk you into anything, you know the choices.) and very often we have new people that come who have abstained from drinking for years through other programs, but they’ve never been completely comfortable with it. They joined their programs and quit drinking at an early age before they were mature enough to make the decision for a lifetime or they joined because someone told them they had to, or, at the time, quitting drinking solved the problems they were facing. But, they never felt like they made the right choice for them. You are finding out, through all these trials, what is right for you. I believe that people who actively struggle, try and try again, ultimately dispel any doubts they have about the choice they make and when they finally make the choice to quit for good, they are at peace and even enthusiastic about their decision. They embrace their future. Is this a dangerous method, this over and over trial and error? Yes, there are risks. Relationships and people, including you, suffer more damage and that is something that you have to keep in mind. Because avoiding more damage in the future is the primary reason we all have for quitting drinking. Take an assessment of all the damage that is done every time you drink, sometimes there will be none, sometimes it will be devastating, it’s part of the lesson. Don’t shy away from it or bury it, because then you don’t learn and you don’t become strong enough or committed enough or inspired enough to change.

  8. Annie, Hi there. I am just starting over again on day 1 myself. I have been in this vicious cycle for so long it is scary and I’m not even 100% I can do this. Your blog is helping as I can see that you too have struggled for a long time and I’m not alone in this terrible addiction. I really hope your addiction councilor helps and you can begin the sober journey again. I am going to try and start my own blog…which I am already failing at I think it may help as it seems that it helped you to make it several days in a row, having support and encouragement! I’m sending you hugs and maybe this can be both of our last Day 1’s. They are terrible and so damn hard! Love, Cleo

  9. Yay. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that just because we can do something alone doesn’t mean we must.
    The goal shou do be to make life easier, not harder.
    Hugs. You will get there.


  10. I’ve just watched that programme, and all I could think of, for Orrily (spelling?) and Joe, was that without alcohol, they would be free. Also, by looking in from the outside at the lives of those people, it seemed really clear that alcohol was their (ineffective) coping mechanism. So to sustain sobriety, they would need to develop a way to cope with the things they numbed themselves against by drinking.
    So great that you’ve reached out to the addictions counsellor again, I wish you the best of luck xx

  11. Annie! I’m still here and think of you often. I’m really glad you are trying again. Alcohol’s a buggar for chaining one down and keeping life’s good stuff out of reach. Cut the chains loose Annie! You can do it. Love to you as always.

  12. This is a beautifully honest post Annie. I so know that cycle of completely believing that I can quit in the morning then changing my mind in the afternoon. What is it about us that so many of us do that?? You stay strong and keep going. There will come a time where you get past that 4pm thing. My cycle got so intense toward the end that by the time I was drinking in the evening, I would decide again that I would quit the next day so I drank too much since it would be my ‘last time.’

Leave a Reply

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

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s