A story resides in every person and when we are able to voice it and share it we can begin to heal within. Often I receive requests from others to share their products, books, etc and if I feel it can help the person AND a reader then I am more than happy to collaborate.
Today’s post is such a story. Mel emailed me an article on the rise of AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder). I read through the article and found it very informative but I didn’t have her personal connection. I told her I’d share if she’d be willing to share what led her to focus’ on the rise of AUD.
Often survivors of abuse turn to some form of chemical dependency. Many might not even realize the numbness the alcohol (or drug) brings is masking the scars of shame and pain of past abuses that have been pushed deep inside. If you relate to the story below please consider turning to someone you trust for help. Begin today by voicing and sharing your story so you can heal within.
Here is Mel’s story:
AUD and Me
Even now I find it hard to pinpoint when exactly my alcoholism began. When my drinking stopped being recreational and started to become a dependency. When the nights out stopped being a novelty and started to become a necessity. It was only when I sat in my doctors surgery and read the criteria for being diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder (or AUD) that I realized I ticked every box. In that moment I knew I had to change.
It all started when I was in my early twenties. I was newly graduated as a journalist and had landed an internship at a fashion magazine in the city. With the promise of a permanent job at the end, I snapped up the opportunity and moved four hours away from my family and hometown to pursue the career of my dreams.
But things weren’t quite as I’d expected. The work was everything I’d hoped for but I was young, meek, mild and far away from home. I was overwhelmed and the office was such a high pressured environment – not just professionally but socially too. I learnt very quickly that looking the part and fitting in with the girls in the office was the key to survival in such a ruthless industry. Most nights after work they’d head to a bar and I tagged along, desperate to make friends, reluctant to go back to the silence of my empty apartment and eager to find some relief from the stresses and strains of such a demanding job.
And boy, could those girls drink. Bottles of wine with dinner would lead to shots in the club and before I knew it, there was only a few hours before I had to up for work. But whilst they always managed to arrive preened, perfect and professional despite a night of heavy drinking, I was groggy, tired and hungover. One night I stayed at one of the girl’s apartment and the next morning I caught her topping up our breakfast juice with vodka.
‘Hair of the dog, Mel,’ she shrugged ‘it’ll get you through the morning.’
And it did. But by the afternoon I felt worse than ever. My work was suffering, my internship was in jeopardy and I vowed to cut down on my drinking. Only it had become a habit. The nights out were taking their toll but the nights alone in my apartment were feeling miserable and filled with anxiety…until I opened a bottle of wine and then things seemed better for a while. This vicious cycle carried on for a few months before the magazine finally got sick of me arriving late, disheveled and stinking of booze. The girls who had got me into the party lifestyle were quick to shun me when they saw what a liability I had become. With no job, no prospects and no money to pay the rent on my swish city apartment I had no choice but to return back home to my stunned parents.
From there I spiraled into depression. Their disappointment in me was palpable and even in my alcohol-fuddled brain I was acutely aware just how much I’d messed up my future. Of course, this only made me rely more on alcohol and despite my parents’ best efforts to stop me, I always found a way to get my next drink whether that was begging, borrowing or stealing. One night my mother came downstairs in the middle of the night to find me trying to pick the lock on their liquor cabinet and the next day she practically dragged me to the doctors surgery.
Even as I sat defiantly in the waiting room I refused to believe I had a problem. It was only when the doctor gave me a leaflet on AUD and the associated symptoms that I felt something click in my brain. The cravings, the withdrawal symptoms, the desire to drink even though it was wrecking everything…this was my life. Acknowledgement was the first step. After that recovery was long, hard and painful. I was lucky to have the support of my family to get me through. But now, eight years on, I have been clean from alcohol since that day in the doctors surgery. I now have a loving husband, two young children and am using my journalism degree to pursue a career as a freelance copywriter. I count my blessings everyday.
The sad fact is that cases of AUD are on the rise. Drinking is such a popular social pastime that, like me, people get sucked into the lifestyle and develop addictions without even realizing it is happening to them. They do it to cope with the stresses of modern life or to unwind or to fit in. They think that it is harmless but as I found to my cost, it is a habit that can quickly escalate into something much more sinister.
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