The day I realised I needed to go sober
“Hello, my name’s Christian and I’m an alcoholic.” The first time I uttered those words was to about 25 strangers, all of whom I’d never met before on a Zoom call from my home office. It was the day after a three-day bender having had some annual leave to use up.
I had woken up to find I’d wet the bed again. Yep, you’ve read that correctly — I had wet myself due to my drinking (a surprisingly common occurance amongst addicts) and it wasn’t the first time. In fact, it was about the fifth or sixth time in the last 12 months, since moving down to Hove from London.
My partner was away on holiday and not due back until the following day. With this becoming a regular occurrence, my initial reaction was to try and sort it all out before he returned home, leaving him completely unaware, so not to cause another argument. You see, the last time this happened we didn’t speak for two days. He was really angry (rightly so), whilst I was both embarrassed and ashamed of myself. Yet here I was again, back at it for yet another time.
Deep inside, I knew that this was a serious issue which needed addressing. Not only did I need to save myself, but also the relationships and friendships I hold so close to my heart. I loved drinking and it didn’t take much for me to become drunk, but it was ruining so many aspects of my life. I sat on my sofa and thought about every time I’d said or did something that was either inappropriate, disrespectful or just downright embarrassing which always led to the apologetic messages the following day. Yep, you’ve guessed it, each of those moments involved alcohol.
Something had to give to ensure this didn’t happen again and there was only one real option here — I had to quit drinking and become sober. Shit.
I was on day three of ‘going big’ and the hangover was most definitely there. I wasn’t wanting a drink at that precise moment, but it was only a matter of time (give it a few hours to take the edge off, at most a days later) until I’d be opening another bottle and it all could easily happen again. I knew I had to act now if I was going to go through with this. I needed to get the sober ball rolling.
A quick Google search and I’d found an AA meeting that was taking place via Zoom (thanks COVID-19) in the next 15 minutes (yikes!). As per most of my usual knee-jerk reactions, I decided I was going to see if I could join the group there and then, so I went and got a (soft) drink and suddenly I was logging into my first ever meeting. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was a real eye-opening experience. A surge of emotions was going through my mind along with the following three questions:
“ Am I an addict?”
“ Do I have to talk today?”
“ Is this the right thing to do?”
To sum up the answers to the above — Yes, there was no pressure, but I did at the end and Absolutely.
I heard stories that completely resonated with my life choices. I was that person in the story, except the narrative was different, but either way it was like some psychic was basically telling my story in a different way.
Those 70 minutes were incredibly powerful, loving and caring and I knew I needed more if it. I knew I wanted to never wake up again with ‘the fear’, I no longer wanted to upset so many people because of my lack of control whilst under the influence. So towards the end of my first ever AA meeting, for the first time ever in my life, I said I was an alcoholic.
So why am I telling you this? Quite simply, because I need to be accountable. I want people to know that I’m going sober, that I’m really terrified about this journey I’m about to embark on. To have to ‘come out’ to my various friendship circles in search of their support, because I know that there’s no way I can do this alone.
For those of you reading who are hearing about this for the first time, please don’t take it the wrong way that I’ve not come to you beforehand, it’s nothing personal. This is a scary process and one that is mine to make. Your love and support are most grateful.
Originally published at https://www.thesobrietysquad.com on August 2, 2020.