My name is Kay and I’m an alcoholic
Cut Open. July 2020.
Introduction (you can choose to skip this bit if you read it last time?)
I began writing about my life when I was at senior school; I am now 53. Writing down my thoughts was easier than talking about them and helped me to express and make sense of my struggling self. Sadly, in my anger I decided to burn that ‘book’ – Massive regret! However, I haven’t stopped writing and now after many years of personal psychotherapy (yes talking does work with the right therapist!) and training and becoming an integrative psychotherapist myself I feel it’s time to start sharing.
I’ve decided to work backwards (at least for now) and begin with my sober self.
I am sober purely because of my own therapy.
I joined AA when I was 1 year sober and now enjoy the benefits of the 12 step program; a program, in my opinion that works hand in hand with therapy AND without God.
I realise by sharing my life I’m allowing myself to be cut open and I don’t want people to see inside me!! It’s not that I don’t want to give anything away, I’m fucking scared!
Yet I’m honoured when clients allow me to see so much of their lives and I believe by sharing me I can become an even better therapist!
I also realise I won’t grow from a place of comfort and have learned that secrets keep people sick.
Therapy (my therapist) saved my life and I have changed so much, therapy is bloody hard work but so, so, so (I really mean this) rewarding.
I have experience of both sides; as the client and as a qualified therapist so I have a wealth of knowledge and I want to give some of that back.
I’m a better person now, I’m letting others into my heart and I love myself and that ripple is getting bigger.
I recently re read the first pages of my second ‘book’ (started writing this one in 1988) and I’m surprised at how much my language has changed and how I have grown.
I tend to own what I’m saying now by using the word ‘I’ rather than ‘you’. And I try not to objectify people by using the word ‘it’. The ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ went long ago! (Mmm! There’s possibly the odd ‘should’ still lurking about!)
I now realise I can’t make anyone do things; I can’t make someone laugh or swear or eat an apple, just like no one can make me cry. I can choose to cry if I feel upset.
I’ve also been shown how to hug and to know the difference between love and being in love.
So my intention is to share excerpts from my ‘book’ (that I hope to publish one day); my raw and naked self and I’ll add some extra bits along the way!
The book – Beyond Belief; agnostic musings for 12 step life.
‘If we don’t love ourselves, no one’s love can reach us. If it did we would reject it anyway.’
(Excerpt from my book 2007)
‘Feelings down at the DRI
Sitting here waiting.
Feeling upset, pathetic, frightened and sick.
I’m here through my own stupid fault.
I’m all wrangled and tangled inside.
Bursting with fury and sadness all at the same time.
Why am I such a fool?
Why do I feel helpless and lost?
I need to get out.
But out of what?
I don’t want to live life like this anymore.
But there is no easy way.
What else is there left to do or say?’
‘After years and years of drinking and getting pissed and not bothering to keep in touch with friends or making the effort to go out with them, not caring about my appearance, not playing badminton any more, the sport I lived for so, so much, losing all self worth and confidence in everything I did.
Finally, finally after fifteen years of pent up emotion, I admit it! Everything is just too much and I’m getting worse and worse! I need help! I really can’t take it anymore. I need help! Please help me! Somebody, anybody! I’m screaming with agony inside as loud as I possibly can! Help me! Is anybody listening? Getting angry and mad! Madder and madder, for god’s sake please fucking help me!
I was feeling worse, and when my husband was at home I felt I couldn’t let out the emotions I wanted to, I couldn’t cry, scream and shout whilst he was at home and I felt I’d just got to go, get out of the house and run. Run away, run, scream and shout! But it was all in silence! No one could help because no one could hear! Instead of walking out the doors and having to explain how I felt I climbed out of an upstairs window. It was easy; out the window onto a slopping roof, onto my husbands’ van and jump down from there. I would just walk and walk I don’t even know where I went. I remember one night I sat under a bush and just cried and cried. These walks were always fuelled by plenty of alcohol. One night I grabbed a sleeping bag and walked to a friend’s house. This was one of a few visits, but this being the worst. I lay in the back garden for a while and then decided to scale the 10ft plus court yard wall in order to get in and have a cuddle with their puppy. I just wanted a cuddle and a bit of love with someone that I didn’t have to explain to. I did manage to make it to the top of the wall and then fell from the top head first straight down onto some rocks and split my head open. Eventually I managed to drag myself into their kitchen and onto the dogs’ beanbag for a cuddle.
After a few more ‘window walk’s,’ I resulted to drinking more and more and slashing my arm deeply with a razor blade.
I was also punching out at anything that could hurt me. I deserved the pain. I wanted to hurt myself so much and it gave me some relief when I did. I started punching walls and then punching wine glasses at walls. I’ve damaged my knuckle, put my little finger out of place and as for my arm…….. I’ll always be a cardigan queen!
When I went to work I would buy a bottle or two, bring them home and hide them. I was arriving home and drinking half a bottle of whiskey and a bottle of wine every night I even drank bleach a few times I had completely lost it.
I’d visited various GP’s over the years but no one really listened! And then when I married I moved area and had to start all over again!
I began taking anti depressants and then a GP suggested I saw a counsellor. I went to see her and mentioned my drink problem, I was later informed I could not see her again because she was not qualified enough!
I had a visit from the NHS mental health service because of my visit to the hospital (having had stitches in my head after falling off that wall!)
Two ladies asked lots of questions, they stayed for about an hour and then suggested two places that I could try to get help; Addaction and Derby women’s Centre (DWC) and that was basically it! (Ironically years later I volunteered as a counsellor at DWC for almost 4 years!)
I went to Addaction in Derby first; the lager can at the front door was not a good start along with a young girl swearing and drunken dirty old men in the waiting room. The front door was boarded up with wood and nails – Just a load of piss heads waiting really, and I was one of them! They could only offer group therapy – no thank you!
I then went to the Derby Women’s Centre, thankfully they’d had a cancellation otherwise I’d have had to wait 2 months and that was just for an assessment.
I was informed not to go back drunk, (I was told I smelt of alcohol even though I’d not had a drink that day). So if you’re an alcoholic how the hell do you get help? Surely someone has to treat the alcoholic to begin with? If I had a broken arm the doctor would not say, ‘come back when your arm’s fixed and then I’ll see you.
After visiting the local nurse a few more times and drinking more and more I was getting no where fast. I phoned the Women’s Centre after a couple of weeks to find out when my next appointment was. They couldn’t say because they were just so busy, great! I was desperate!
Meanwhile I enquired at the Priory Clinic; a 4 week stay at the Priory in 2006 was £13,160.00
I then found a clinic in Sheffield which treated alcoholics and people with eating disorders. They confirmed they had one spare place and they’d let me stay as long as they received all my reports from my nurse and doctor straight away. My wonderful local nurse assured me she’d contact my doctor immediately and fax the required reports that day. £2,000 for an intensive one week stay. (I actually stayed for 10 days which cost £2,765)
This is really only half the story because it took me years to pluck up the courage to go to the doctors in the very first place and then when I did ask for help I felt there was simply no help available. I was passed from one place to another. Nobody knew what to do with an alcoholic?! And generally this is still the case today!
So… I finally admitted myself into a private clinic (the one mentioned above) for one week.
And then as only an alcoholic could; I almost blew it!
One night after dinner I went up to my room and felt this sudden urge and need for a drink. My nail file failed to unscrew the window locks. I had already got my pyjamas on so I put my clothes on top of them and my dressing gown over them. I went down stairs into the dining room and climbed out of the dining room window, what a twat! Having not ventured into the garden I hadn’t got a clue where I was going. I crawled on my hands and knees under the low conservatory windows and found a side gate, which was obviously locked. I had not failed to climb anything so far but this was tall with spiky posts, I tried and tried but I just couldn’t climb it. But now I was outside in the garden I was determined not to return with a failed attempt. I walked around the garden desperate for a way out; the place was surrounded by high hedges and I couldn’t climb them or get through them. I began to get really frustrated. Eventually I found a thorn hedge that wasn’t too thick and managed to plough my way through it! Once through the other side I realised I was in the garden of a Chinese restaurant, I could see people dining in the conservatory that over looked the gardens, so I dashed across the lawn in my dressing gown! When I reached the road I took off my dressing gown and left it behind a wall. I walked up the street, now realising where I was, and found a pub! I went in and asked for a bottle of wine with the cork removed as I was going to a party. Once back outside the pub with a bottle of wine in hand, I felt shear elation! My heart was beating faster and faster I’d done it! I raced back to the Chinese, put my dressing gown back on and back into the garden of the clinic. I stood in the garden and just ‘necked’ the lot. I have never drunk a bottle of wine so fast in all my life! It felt so good, I can still taste that wine trickling down my throat in the cold of the night, my hand almost frozen to the cold bottle. I could see my breath in the cold night air.’
You know that I’ve been drunk a thousand times, everyone knows.
These should be the best days of my life.
But life is not what I thought it was.
Now I’m trapped. I’ve started something and I can’t get out.
It doesn’t help no matter how much you shout.
No one could help even if they knew or could feel the pain I’m in.
Why am I so useless? Why can’t I cope with anything? Why am I me?
Why the hell do I drink?
There are so many things wrong. I just can’t think.
Help me please, god, help me. Help me to understand my life. Help me to sort it out and find a way.
I’m shouting out inside of me for help. Help me to understand my life. Help me to sort it out and find the way.
Why do I write down these stupid thoughts?
Can anybody hear me?
No one ever will. I’m talking to myself yet again.’
‘You build the pain into the story of who you are until it isn’t pain anymore, it’s just another piece of who you are.’ Russel Brand.
See you next month; August 2020