I have a whole bank full of drinking horror stories, but today I will recount just a few which really stick in my mind. In AA there are twelve steps which are supposed to aid you in your recovery. I only ever made it as far as two but I did have to opportunity to write about some of my bad memories. I learned then that it’s really helpful to get it all out and be honest with another person about the things you are ashamed of, it also helps with humility and gratitude that you’re no longer the person you were back then; now that you’re sober.
So here are a few of my memories:
- The day I got alcohol poisoning
When I was seventeen I went to a friend’s birthday party, planning to get very drunk (as always), but I certainly didn’t anticipate how the night would end. As I was too young to be served at the bar, I took a bottle of vodka in my bag and drank from it throughout the night. Having not eaten for three days (being anorexic), the alcohol went straight through me and I got completely wasted very quickly. I ended up in a toilet cubicle with a male friend who- fortunately- was at least a good person and wouldn’t have done anything to hurt me. Before I knew it security came into the toilets and told us they were locking up and that everyone else had left; including my ride home.
In a very ungentlemanly fashion, my friend left and I was stranded. I had lost my bag and left my tights and shoes inside and so wondered around in the middle of nowhere for some time in bare feet.
My dad was never one to be accepting of these kind of circumstances and so I was petrified of calling him, but I had no choice ( I was very lucky I had my phone on me and hadn’t left it in my lost bag).
Eventually my dad came and found me wondering down a country road and I got home safely.
The following day I was sicker than I have ever been in my life. I couldn’t stop vomiting for hours on end and I was severely feverish and dehydrated. My parents were so ashamed of me that they left me to it and went out for the day. I was desperate for something to drink so I crawled down the stairs to the kitchen. I never made it to the sink; I just collapsed on the floor in a pool of my own vomit. I still believe to this day that my dog, Panda, saved my life when she licked around my face when I could have easily drowned.
- The night I almost got arrested
I have mentioned in previous posts that I was once in a physically abusive relationship when I was nineteen. One of the first times he hurt me was on the night that he also very nearly had me arrested. He too was an alcoholic (although in denial) and one night we stayed for the lock in at our local pub. Free drinks flowed and we both got disgustingly drunk.
As we always did, we ended up in a massive row outside the pub. He pushed me over a wall and I hit my head. I was bleeding when the police car turned up. Apparently someone had called the police due to the disturbance of our argument, but I still think he just had nothing better to do.
He questioned us both. I told him I’d ‘fallen’ over the wall and hurt myself; that I needed to go to hospital but he clearly didn’t care and was desperate to get me into trouble. He refused to get me any medical help and insisted I was too young to be drinking, which of course I wasn’t. He asked for my full name and address which I genuinely couldn’t recall due to a concussion. I ended up calling him several nasty names (which I won’t repeat) and he said if I did so one more time he would arrest me. And so, naturally, I called him something worse.
Instead of sticking me in a cell, my boyfriend (idiotically) gave him my address and he drove me to my house. I begged him not to knock on my door at 3am because my parents would have no sympathy, so when he did it I ran away and hid on a neighbour’s drive, stupidly thinking no one would notice. My dad had shut the door in the officer’s face so I don’t actually know how I got back in that night.
What I do remember, sadly, is that I did a wee on the neighbour’s drive and left my knickers there, only to find them on my doorstep the following day! Mortifying.
- The night I lost my best friend
Where I’m from, every summer there is a week full of boat racing and parties. Whether I was living there or just visiting, I always went along for the parties. During the year I am describing I had been sober for around nine months when I decided I wanted to relapse there. I phoned my friend from AA on my way to get the bus, hoping she could talk some sense into me and talk me out of it, but she couldn’t.
When I got there I went to the shop and bought a bottle of wine and two bottles of cider, just to get me started. I was with my (old) best friend who- shockingly- didn’t try to change my mind. While I tried to have a good time, she spent the entire night crying and complaining that the guy she was seeing hadn’t called her. Despite this being pathetic and ruining my vibe, I stuck by her and consoled her.
The wine and cider barely touched me and so, a couple of hours on, I went to the bar and ordered a pint of vodka. I drank it down, watched the fireworks and waited for it to have its effect.
Before it did, my friend decided she wanted to go home and so I walked her to the bus, still practically sober.
Alone now, the vodka kicked in and I was completely paralytic. Fortunately I bumped into someone who lived down the road from my parents. Although he barely knew me, and although I stupidly went along with kissing him for several hours, he was the one who helped me get home and out of danger.
He managed to get me on the right bus (I was staying with my grandma) but I still had to ask some strangers where to get off. During the bus ride I smoked upstairs and (allegedly) some of my ash went in a girl’s face. She attacked me and threatened to hit me and so I sarcastically (and arrogantly) begged for her forgiveness, which actually worked.
I walked for twenty minutes in the rain, with no shoes to get back to the house, and when I did the night ended in disaster.
I had been going along with everything all night and pretending to both myself and others that everything was just fine, when really I was dying inside.
As soon as I got in I raided my grandma’s medicine cabinet and swallowed the entire contents before passing out.
I was baffled that I was alive when I awoke the next day. I regretted taking the overdose and was petrified it would have a delayed effect and so I called work and said I was too sick to come in. I then called NHS direct who said I had taken a dangerous amount of medication and sent a paramedic.
He checked my vitals and said I had to go to the hospital with him.
Just as we were leaving, my grandma came in and asked where and why I was going, I had of course to lie and said I would be there for a while and she would get bored.
In the hospital bed, I sent a message to my friend saying what had happened and that I needed her more than ever, but we she never spoke to me again.
Still to this day I do not know exactly why she abandoned me in my hour of need that day, all I know is that she lied to our mutual friends about what happened that night; that it was me, not her that had been crying and craving attention all night. She told them that she’d had enough of me and could no longer ‘cope’ with all my problems.
Perhaps I should blame myself, perhaps she had to do what she did and turn her back, but the better part of me knows that’s not what friends do. Nevertheless, our fifteen year friendship ended that night and I highly doubt we will ever rekindle it. That was a consequence of my drinking problem.