Even though it doesn’t really fit with the theme of this blog, I wanted to share something I wrote for another website about my drinking. I find it much harder to be honest about my relationship with alcohol than I do with any of my writing about sex.
Today marks the end of week fourteen of being sober.
Rock bottom was ugly; it was confronting and painful and forced me to look at myself in a way that required honesty and facing some fucking hard truths. Living in a culture where sociability centres around alcohol consumption makes the decision to give it up a difficult one, not because it is a difficult decision to make – it’s one I had no choice but to make – but constantly fighting the urge to drink is hard enough without being surrounded by the belief that getting drunk is Friday night “norm”.
I was always able to tell myself that I didn’t have a problem with alcohol because I wasn’t dependent on it – I could go weeks without a drink!
What I couldn’t, or maybe wouldn’t, acknowledge was that when I did drink, how I was drinking was a problem.
You remember that ad from a few years ago? “It’s not the drinking, it’s how we are drinking”? Yeah. I was the poster girl for that. And then there was that ad about not bringing your friends when you are drinking? In moments of rare honesty about my drinking, I was genuinely scared that someone was going to confront me and use that line – there’s “make a move on anyone and everyone” Kelly, “spend all the money in your savings account and have no idea where it went” Kelly, “fall over and make a scene of yourself” Kelly…
What it came down to in the end was sitting in my car in the car park at work one innocuous Tuesday morning heaving and sobbing because the self-loathing I felt after a weekend of drinking was so horrendous I was suicidal. I hated myself, I hated the lack of control I felt around alcohol and more than anything I hated having to face my behaviour and actions after I had been drinking.
As I sat in my car feeling physically ill and scared of my own thoughts, I realised that I had to stop, I couldn’t keep doing this. All I knew was that I never, ever, wanted to feel like this again, and in admitting that to myself, I had to admit that my drinking was a problem.