I first started drinking as a shy, quiet 16 year old, and immediately found alcohol to be a great way to gain confidence. My first drunken memory was from a 6th form party at a local nightclub, where I drank cheap cider plus whatever else I could get my hands on. My next memory from that night is waking up in the club car park, next to a drunk girl, lying in a pool of vomit.
Unfortunately, there have been many more experiences like this in my life. As a teenager, most of my friends were doing the same as me; drinking under age and trying to get in pubs/ clubs, and therefore it didn't feel too unusual. Even at this early stage however, I was always the drunkest person in the room. I clearly remember waking up one morning after a night of solid drinking and was horrified to find I had wet the bed. Although it did worry me, I believed it was an isolated incident and brushed it off. How wrong was I?!
In my late teens, I went to university. The main reason I wanted to go was because the drinking culture appealed to me. On the first night, I was found passed out on some stairs near to my flat and was kindly taken to a stranger's home where, to my horror, I eventually woke up disorientated on the kitchen floor! Another drunken highlight was cooking while drunk then falling asleep, only to be told the next day that the fire brigade had attended. I had no recollection of this. I denied any involvement but my flatmates suspected me. Eventually, after a few months, I ended up leaving university as I'd spent my entire student grant and loan on alcohol.
Over the next few years, I drifted from one dead end job to another, whilst continuing to drink to oblivion every weekend. The awful, shameful memories from this time are too numerous to mention so I will list the top ten:
1) Crashing my car into a lamp post following all day/night drinking binge. I remember my mum crying, asking me how I had ended up like this and my whole family being ashamed of me.
2) Wetting myself both in bed and in public on a regular basis
3) Waking up freezing cold one December in a field in the countryside and not having a clue to this day how I got there.
4) Going to a work Christmas party where I fell onto a glass, cut my arm, and proceeded to insult the boss's new girlfriend when she suggested that perhaps I'd had too much to drink. I had no recollection of this and only found out the next day, when I was also told that they'd had to put me to bed in the hotel we were staying at. To top it all off, I was mortified to find I'd wet the bed again.
5) Going on holiday to Ibiza with my drinking mates and being thrown out of a karaoke bar for urinating in the public area whilst in black out.
6) Losing my job - following an extremely late night of drinking, and driving for 1.5 hours to get to work, my dad had called my employer to check I was ok. Needless to say, it didn't go down well and I was asked to leave.
7) Coming home in an ambulance after being found in unconscious in someone's garden in another town.
8) Sleeping with girls I couldn't remember going home with and subsequently wetting the bed.
9) Regularly phoning in sick to various jobs due to horrific hangovers and not really having any conscience about doing so.
10) Going to Blackpool on a night out and getting thrown out of a club. I didn't know which hotel I was staying in and got lost, only to be found later by my friends wandering the streets. As I'd also lost my car keys, my mum had to come to get me as I couldn't get home.
Eventually, I met my wife, had children, got a decent job and house and settled down. This should be the happy end to the story but sadly it hasn't quite worked out like that.
Due to working shifts at the weekend and having parental responsibilities, I didn't drink as much as when I was younger, however when I did, it ended in the same way every time; blackouts, wetting myself, crying in public, being told by others how drunk I was and what I had done.
My wife and daughters mean everything to me and should've been the only motivation I needed to stop drinking. I'd always been a social drinker but was slowly starting to understand I couldn't just have a couple. I always drank too fast, racing to the bar for the next round. All of my memories of special occasions are blurred by alcohol, including my own wedding.
I know that I've always had a problem with alcohol. I used to drive around at work and randomly cry due to depression caused by drinking. I felt trapped and wanted to stop but I just didn't know how or if it was possible. The low moods I suffered following a drinking binge were awful and despite attending regular counselling sessions, I continued to drink.
Last year, I was successfully alcohol free for over 7 months but then stupidly thought I could moderate my drinking going forward. How crazy was that idea?!
I'm now 43 and have decided I will not waste anymore of my life on alcohol. I have now been sober for 47 days. I feel in a really good place both mentally and physically. My future depends on staying sober.
I wanted to share my story as I feel there must be other men or women out there with similar experiences to me who also want to be free of alcohol. I have found reading blogs, books, listening to podcasts and watching webinars, as well as hearing about other people's experiences of being sober has really helped me to understand what I have to do. It has been a huge relief for me to share my story. I can now look forward instead of back. Only I can change my the future. I am just thankful I have been so fortunate to have such great people around me.
For anyone who reads this story, thank you very much.
Edited by Sober Fish