For most young people drinking is about going out and getting off your head and then when you sober up the next day you just get on with your business.
From the outside my drinking probably looked the same as this but when others went to get on with their lives I just wanted to keep drinking. I just didn’t seem to have an off-switch, it was either all or nothing, I would just keep going until I couldn’t see or couldn’t walk.
Alcohol made me feel much better and more comfortable with myself.
I was always paranoid about being an alcoholic. I had an idea in my head what an ‘alcoholic’ looked like and it definitely wasn’t a 22 year old.
It was someone who was old and who was drinking every day so I couldn’t be an alcoholic and then when I was drinking every day I moved the goalposts and you had to be drinking on your own to be an alcoholic, so that couldn’t be me — until it was. No-one else was saying anything to me, it was just in my head but there were fewer places to hide from myself.
Towards the end of my drinking I was living a day at a time but in a negative sense. I would wake up every day with a hangover and tell myself I wasn’t drinking again and then consistently failing.
As the day went on something would happen in my brain and it would start building a case as to why drinking was a good idea, it was so insidious and sleekit.
By the time they were calling last orders later that evening it was like it was last orders for the last time, ever. That was my normal.
The idea of being 22 and sober wasn’t much fun. All you see is everyone out and enjoying themselves.
I remember a pal asking me what I wanted to do with my life and I told him I just wanted a job that paid enough so I could get my own flat and drink. I just couldn’t imagine myself beyond 30, I just didn’t expect to be around.
Before I went to AA I was hitting my rock bottom on an almost daily basis. The day of my last drink wasn’t much different to the rest of the nights when I was walking home having a good cry to myself and going to bed hoping I wouldn’t wake up.
The only difference was the next day I didn’t drink, I went to an AA meeting.
After I accepted I couldn’t do it on my own and went to AA I heard others sharing versions of my story. I started to do the things they advised — I went to meetings, joined a group, got a sponsor and did the 12 Steps.
Together this made a difference, it’s the recipe that worked for me.
Did You Know?
Dumbarton Area Council on Alcohol provides 1–1 counselling support, groups and activities to help reach your drinking goal — you set the goal and choose what works for you.
A lot of our clients use the AA fellowship for additional support — and that’s completely fine. There’s no single pathway that works for everyone, so we encourage people to try as many different services as they need until they find the ‘recipe’ that works for them.
Call 01389 731456 or 0141 9520881 or pop into our offices at Westbridgend Lodge, Westbridgend, Dumbarton G82 4AD or 82 Dumbarton Road, Clydebank G81 1UG.