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Being an alcoholic
by TeenHelp June 2nd 2015, 07:22 PM

Being an alcoholic
By Jessie (Palmolive)

My Story

Nothing could have prepared me for the world I was about to enter when I picked up my first bottle of vodka. I was about 17 and had suffered with mental health problems since I was 11. I struggled with depression and anxiety which turned into BPD, PTSD, depressive episodes, psychotic episodes, and eating disorders. They all added to my stress levels and I didnít think I was going to become addicted to alcohol too. I had never drunk much alcohol, so why did this happen to me?

It was one bottle. Just the one, but I found it helped me. It knocked me out and therefore I didnít have to deal with any of the issues I was facing at the time. But one bottle led to two, then three, then four, and before I knew it I was drinking over £140/£150 worth of alcohol on my own a week. My benefits got me nothing else. I became addicted. I hid it so no one else knew; it had to be a secret. I would hide it in cans of drinks around my family. Then I started seeing the local crisis team. The person I saw now tells me that she always knew how much I had drunk by looking at me through the window, walking through the car park, because Iíd either be walking wonky or falling over. Sheíd drop me off at home because she was terrified I would end up getting run over on the way back and I remember once she had to literally drag me up the stairs.

But then it got worse. I started self-harming because the alcohol numbed the pain so I didnít feel anything. I started self-harming even worse in hope Iíd feel more pain. Then my mum found me passed out one night because I had been drinking a lot of vodka and had to take me to A&E. I scared the life out of her. She thought I was dead and I will always regret doing that to her and many other things. Truth is, my family didn't know how to respond to me. It was hard and tough and I know it hurt them and I wish I could take it all back.

One day, I agreed to have my mum involved and we both saw the crisis team together. It was planned with me, my mum and the crisis team, for me to start cutting down, but it was impossible because I was withdrawing on just one bottle of vodka a day. The shakes got so bad especially, so I started to secretly buy more on top of what my mum gave me. My mum tried so hard to help me through it and was so incredibly supportive. I would have done anything for alcohol. I drank it from when I woke to when I fell asleep to help dull the pain of my depression. I just needed something to make it stop and thatís what alcohol did for me. But then I was told that every day, when I went to the day programme, I would be breathalysed and if I had alcohol in my system I would be sent home. I got sent home a lot. Sometimes I didnít but I would sneak a bottle of juice with vodka and start drinking after I had been breathalysed but sometimes got sent home due to drinking the night before.

Once I left the house and went to a park with vodka. I got drunk and self-harmed badly and was found by a member of the public. They dialled 999. Paramedics and police turned up and I was handcuffed and restrained because I was so intent on running away (I was also hallucinating) and when I got to hospital, I was held down by 10 police men/women until I was given an IM and I settled down. I put my family through hell that day and I hope never to go back to a situation like it.

When I was admitted to hospital for detox for the first time, my sister completely understood me and didnít judge me in anyway at all. I remember walking in the house with the crisis team outside and I had the shakes and the sweats and I told her and she just hugged me tight. My family visited me a lot in hospital and were supportive of my detox and my mental health problems. My mum especially. She kept me going through the whole of it. Actually, I only just discharged myself from hospital after two years and I couldnít have gotten through what I have done without her. Sheís been such a great source of support to me and I am so thankful to have had her throughout it all.

Overcoming it

I started talking to my CPN about it as well as seeing a service that specializes in drug and alcohol addictions. I also had to be admitted to an acute psychiatric ward and went on detox twice and now I've been alcohol free for about a year and a half. I attend AA meetings every week for an hour and a half which I find scary but I am going to keep going to them because I find it helpful at the same time; to be around people who understand me. Itís a good feeling. I've had to put a lot of work in myself too though. Itís been one difficult ride but this is one that I have done.

How to start beating your addiction

I definitely think the first thing that needs to happen is that YOU need to recognize you have a problem with alcohol. That you are an alcoholic. Without recognizing it and understanding that you are an alcoholic or have an issue around alcohol, you wonít get anywhere. When you have done that, itís time to reach out for help. Now this can vary depending on how bad your situation is because as you all probably know, everyone varies. Some people might need to go inpatient like myself, to go on detox. Some might be referred to a specialist clinic like I also was, who can provide outpatient detox care. Or you might not need detox but help on finding out why you have a problem with alcohol and how to start changing your habits surrounding alcohol. If you have a therapist or CPN, discuss it with them and they should be able to help you and make any referrals needed. If you donít have a therapist or a CPN, speak to your GP/Doctor about whatís going on for you and ask them for help.

Just donít give up the fight; itís a hard one but one that is also very worth it.
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