My name is Kay and I’m an alcoholic
Cut Open. June 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 – Daily Reflections – May 6th 2020
‘Hold back nothing’
‘The real tests of the situation are your willingness to confide and your full confidence in the one with whom you share your first accurate self-survey….
Provided you hold back nothing, your sense of relief will mount from minute to minute. The dammed-up emotions of years break out of their confinement, and miraculously vanish as soon as they are exposed. As the pain subsides, a healing tranquillity tales its place.’ (Twelve steps and twelve traditions)
‘A tiny kernel of locked-in feelings began to unfold when I first attended A.A. meetings and self-knowledge then became a learning task for me. This new self-understanding brought about a change in my responses to life’s situations. I realized I had the right to make choices in my life, and the inner dictatorship of habits slowly lost its grip.’
And I’ve omitted the last ‘God bit’ sentence – because I can.
I personally had many years of therapy behind me before finding the courage to even attended AA, in fact I only went to AA because I made a promise to my therapist!
(Modified excerpt from my book) ‘I first started self-harming and drinking when I was at school. Although, I was well behind my friends on the drinking scene, they’d been drinking in bars way before me, I was late to catch on but I soon overtook everyone else!
I believe most pupils and teachers liked me at school. My dream was to become a sports teacher, I mean my dream! I loved sport so, so much. That’s all I was interested in at school. I took part in most sporting activities including most lunch times and after school clubs and loved them passionately. The sports teachers were fantastic to me and would let me teach the odd lesson every now and then. They knew how much I desperately wanted to teach sport. I helped out in the P.E. (Physical Education) department and I felt part of their team. Throughout my school life I always gained an ‘A’ grade in P.E. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if I hadn’t!? I truly did give 120%! You really can’t imagine how much I lived for sport (although I think you must be getting the picture by now!)
Unfortunately I was second best at all sports; I was a good all rounder but not the best at any sport. Was that important? Sure as hell it was!!
I know I could have been a good sports teacher and if qualifications weren’t required I’d probably be still teaching now? However, back then I needed five ‘O’ levels (as they were called) and two ‘A’ levels. As a teacher I also needed a second subject to teach, which would have been art. I did gain an ‘O’ level (GCSE) in art and later an ‘A’ level after attending a college night class.
What really pissed me off at school was when I was given my options, I obviously wanted to choose P.E. as one of those subjects but, at the time, you couldn’t gain a qualification in this subject and me being thick I needed all the chances I could get.’
As a counsellor I recognise the introject of ‘me being thick’, that’s what I was told and that’s what I believed.
‘My dream never did come true I was not clever enough to become a sports teacher. (I can see now that I was and I am clever enough! I just needed the encouragement and support).
But come on! Why did I need qualifications for example in; English, science, French, physics, maths etc to become a sports teacher!?
Just before I left school I went to see the head teacher about my career options. I felt I had worked to the best of my ability. He asked if I’d got a job to go to and I said ‘yes.’ He said, ‘well if I was you, and looking at your exam results then I would take it.’ (Can still remember those words!) So, that was it?! I’d failed! My dream had gone, and my life was at an end? I felt empty and lonely inside, that’s all I ever thought I’d do. I didn’t have a plan B. I was gutted.
My failed dream has impacted on my entire life and I still hurt!
My parents just said, ‘let’s face it you’re never going to get anywhere, you’re just not clever enough.’ Why couldn’t they have encouraged me more, got me some extra tuition?
‘We’re just not a clever family,’ they said.
The introjects of I’m thick, I’m stupid, I’m not clever rattled around in my head for years!
‘My parents had their own retail business and I feel like I was dragged into it just to help them out. They were busy back then and they needed my help and my sister’s. The timing was good for them, they were making good money (they really did work hard) but they would have struggled without our help; we were good, honest, reliable, cheap labour.
I feel my sister and I have always been made to help out in the business, from when we were at junior school. We were expected to work on Saturdays, which I hated doing because I use to have hockey matches and I felt guilty for playing sometimes, I then had to rush back to work.
After our evening meal we were never allowed to just sit and watch T.V. I heard the words; if you’re sitting watching that then you may as well be doing something; as a family we would fold and wrap fabric onto boards or cut out lace mats and arm caps and chair backs etc. I really do believe this is why I struggle to sit down and relax. (I’m getting better at this now!) Again my introjects are; I must not relax, I must work hard. My stepson couldn’t understand why I didn’t sit down and watch a film to the end. I always felt like I was wasting time, so I’d get up and do something.
So my dreams of becoming a sports teacher were over, I was on a downer, I began drinking and cutting my self.’
I felt my path had been decided for me and I worked in the family business selling curtains. To be fair my parents worked hard to start this business up.
Back then the market was closed on Monday’s and Wednesday’s and on those two days I got a job in a fruit & veg shop, which I loved!
Eventually my sister and I took over the business and I was proud of what we achieved. We worked in the business for 38 years, so that’s not bad going!
But I wasn’t happy for many years and I’ve struggled with life.
I remember back then the issues I had to contend with!
Yes, I was a bit of a Tom boy (bloody hell that still cuts through me!) yet I was never judged by anyone at school but I overheard my parents talking about me on several occasions. They thought I was going to ‘turn out queer’ or a ‘lesbian’.
In my junior school I played football in the boy’s football team, the boys were happy for me to play and chose me as captain, then when I went to senior school girls were not allowed to play ‘boys’ sports!
Back then it really was pink for girls and blue for boys! Plus we had to wear a uniform (fair enough) but I had to wear a skirt! Girls couldn’t wear trousers!
And as a society we conform!
Thankfully I now have balls! (Not actual ones of course!) But it’s only because of therapy that I’m alive today to tell you this.
(modified excerpt from my book)
‘At this moment in time I feel quite pathetic. I’m sad that I’ve allowed myself to get to this state. Yesterday I woke up early so I could take a walk and time how long it would take me to reach the local bus stop and check on the routes and timetables etc. (I got stopped for drink driving) I left the house at 7.40 am, it was quite a nice mild morning and I felt good to be out and about so early. So when my 15 minute walk was complete I thought I’d keep on walking. I ended up walking into the village, it was about 8.15 am and other than passing school children at bus stops along the way it was very quiet. To my surprise the local supermarket was open, so I thought I’d just pop in for a bottle of milk and I popped out with a bottle of red wine! Just in case I felt the urge a little later, you know what I mean? When I reached home I felt good, as recently I had to stop jogging for a while (I’d damaged the tendons in my ankle) I thought maybe a walk each morning would help keep me in trim. Once home, I decided to do the cleaning and put my music on. Loud! (It’s the only way to play music!) Then I thought I’ll just have one glass of wine, it was probably 9.00 am ish but just one glass would be ok! But of course one glass leads to two, or maybe three or four! Oh, and then, well, just one bottle will do, oh maybe not, let’s have another one and so the story goes.’
‘Can’t remember going to bed
Can’t remember what I’ve said.
Feeling weepy, lost and alone
Confused and frightened all on my own.
Can’t find the words I want to say.
But who would understand them anyway?
I’m so frightened of dying
But I don’t want to carry on crying.
So you have a drink, and that makes you think.
What the hell am I doing wrong?
I don’t want anyone to know how I feel.
I don’t want to make big deal.
How I feel is up to me.
I suppose that’s the way it has to be.
You crack the jokes and make people laugh
But when you’re alone you are alone.
I’m scared and upset, I feel useless.
I’m a mess.
So you have another drink to help you along.
And then you can’t remember going to bed.
And you can’t remember what you’ve said.’
See you next month; July 2020