The not so anonymous Alcoholics

Monday, 25 January 2016

Photo by Dunja Opalko

I like drunk me. I am the mad, chatty, adventure seeking aunt that parades around your house at a Christening with a straw sailing in a bottle of Cointreau.
At dinner with friends it's 'I dunno let Charly pick the bottle,' or 'of course she's ordered another drink!'
Comments of which I've always worn on my claret stained lapel as though they are shiny merit badges of my fun, sociable nature.

I stood proud to be the last one to bed, the last one at the bar, and the last person in Tesco on a Wednesday night panic buying a bottle of £6.99 reduced from a tenner just in case. Just in case of what I've never been sure, but that just in case always managed to explain itself enough for the bottle to be opened.

I've ruined a lot of drinks for myself, vodka is the December of 2012, white wine is the February of 2014, rum is the mornings of 2010, but red wine seems to have stayed faithful to me throughout.
It's nurtured me in time of need and it's smacked me on the back with congratulations when I've succeeded.
It's chased cheese and confessions and beautiful moments between friends and has been the solder on the clasp securing those friends as best friends.
Until I woke up.
Until I woke up nearly every day in the last few months of 2015 with the sinking regret that I'd sunk enough bottles to call a friend in New York and admit I had a problem.
The regret I live with now is not that I'd been so candid but that I can't remember a single word we'd exchanged in that phone-call or in any previous phone-calls that month because I was blind drunk.
For him in that moment and beyond I am eternally grateful, I should've been met with a disgruntled sigh and a pissed off demeanour but from the little that I remember, I was instead met with the voice of someone who said that I was brave, that I was worthy and that I was capable of getting through this. An unwavering emotional intelligence that I'd be nowhere without.
I was balling my eyes out and afraid and suddenly glaring a light over my love that was no longer a quixotic utopia but instead a dirtied anxious alleyway with walls I didn't know how to scale.
Admitting I had a problem almost felt like I was giving up my favourite part about me- being the fun one. Slowly out of the slurred I realised I was 'fun' at parties but didn't recall drinking alone as I did ever being 'fun'; it was snotty, depressing, scissor marked numb.
It wasn't 'fun' googling 'how to get more drunk without alcohol' nor was it 'fun' having people notice I'd replaced the vodka in the kitchen with water because I'd drunk it all and was too embarrassed.

Initially I was attempting to block out this strange feeling in my body that I refused to register as depression, which seems idiotic for someone who knows they suffer with mental health issues.
But self medicating always seems sensical at the time or else so many of us wouldn't be doing it, wallowing in it, injecting it, snorting it, swallowing each and every last drop, even sadistically half enjoying it.
It's like someone telling you that you could step outside and feeling the grass under your feet is the best feeling in the world but not being strong enough to leave your house to see it and painting your carpet green instead to see if you could experience it the same.. You think it'll replicate what you're looking for but in reality it just leaves you in a huge mess and is ultimately incredibly stupid. Nobody wants paint on their carpet, particularly not the person you're living with, who coincidentally also doesn't want to be living with an alcoholic.

Over Christmas my doctor had increased my dosage of medication to a somewhat terrifying amount after reading an email I'd sent to her wasted at 4am; another cry for help.
It felt strange that during my ritualistic approach to drinking (at its worst, two bottles of wine, maybe some brandy, probably a gin and tonic) every evening, these nights started to crack tersely from feeling incoherent and blissed out to a heightened awareness that what I was doing had potential to be a much bigger, scarier, difficult problem if I continued to pursue it with the passion that I pushed with.
There was a spattering of clarity. I grabbed hold of it. Placed it out in front of me and decided to confront it.

Living in a shell that tried to swim upstream oarless against a sober current was difficult and floating mercilessly along a red wine river felt calmer. As though that action no longer felt like a choice but an easier survival, giving up my evening fight to mellowed out seemed an obvious and action-less ritual. It is now lying on my sitting room floor in the pitch black, eyes squinting at a half dimmed screen with a migraine so heavy it feels like it could hollow out my left eye I realise that my 'non choice' from the night before has left me unable to choose anything other than the decision to stop being so frivolous with the way I look to preserve my sanity.
Intoxicating numbness only paves for a much more shattering reality. It's very hard to do anything that performs self love with a hangover let alone with a gaze that's constantly flirting with an unopened bottle at arms reach. I have loved drinking for all of my adolescence but I have fallen out of love with it upon the realisation that it's made me find it impossible to fall IN love with myself if I am to continue waking every morning as I do, I think it only fair I do with the decision to not hate myself as much as I did yesterday. otherwise, really, what's the bloody point?

I'm now attempting to create a much healthier attitude.
Every evening I ask myself if I could face a hangover the next day, if having one glass of wine really will only be just one glass of wine. What, in that moment, is compelling me to pour a drink? I wake up every morning with a decision to do or to not, a frame of mind that had escaped me for so long and I am making a conscious effort to reclaim. It by no means has been easy but I am confident that it's worthwhile. My friends and doctor are aware and have agreed to give me a wake up call if and when it spirals again. But for now, each day as it comes, slightly happier than before, slightly less inebriated than the last. 


  1. I stopped drinking last year when I realised it was a crutch for my happiness. I'm only 18 how shit. I first got wasted new year 14/15 and realised how good it felt. I did that at every social gathering that involved alcohol until it got too much and I puked in a cab. Which pissed me off even more because I was so excited for the party I didn't need alcohol. I didn't enjoy it but I was using it to get by. I'm proud of you Charlie, hope you're well x

  2. I knew when I made the anon comment 2 blog posts ago about your drinking you would come to your senses. I'm so happy to read this post. You haven't met me before and never will but I feel connected to you as if you were my best friend right now. Wishing so much good luck with this new path!!

  3. It's like I wrote every single word of this post. I had a serious wake up call in October and have been rebuilding since. I'm sending you hope and the knowledge that others are out there too and you are not alone. May 2016 be your best year yet.

    Just Sophie, who is slowly shedding the ''fun" because it simply became too tiring to hide behind.


  4. I fall in love with you and your honesty every time you write. (Hope that's not weird to say?) You have a way with words and it's a brave thing to share these things on the internet. It sounds like you have some great friends, and you'll come out the other side of this. x

  5. much love hun, know how u feel

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  7. You're one of my favourite women alive. And you'll always be.
    Why? Well, because you're strong and honest. And that's really, really important.
    I love the way you're so honest with you through your writings. That thing you do everytime you upload a post like this one, or even everytime you write something're growing up. Putting your feelings in words. Reading your feelings. That's how you learn, and that how you realise what's ok and what's not ok.
    I don't know if any of what I've written makes sense to you. (Sorry if my English sucks, i'm from Argentina)-

    Just wanted to let you know that i love you, and what you're doing is great. x

  8. As always, such beautiful words from you Charly. I strongly admire your honest stance, on what many of us consider being normal drinking habits. Being Australian, I am so used to a very prevalent drinking culture, that sometimes I forget that it is something we choose to engage in. It's all about shooting ourselves high, and dealing with the low in the morning. Stay strong, lovely lady. Your words a so appreciated.

  9. Hi Charly, I've heard your interview with Filler Podcasts today and decided it was eventually time to start reading you (I had already taken a stroll on your instagram feed). I'm glad I did and I'm glad I started with this post; it makes me want more (of you). I hope you'll find a way to love yourself and appreciate a good glass of wine without feeling the need to gulp the whole bottle down. Realising alcohol has become a problem is already a huge progress, keep it up!
    Wish you the best! xx

  10. Làm thế nào để chữa đau bao tử cấp tính , điều trị viem hanh ta trang , bài thuoc chua viem amidan , bệnh viêm amidan mủ ,Thuốc me day man tinh , thuốc chữa bệnh gan nhiễm mỡ , đặc trị bệnh viêm phế quản mãn, Bệnh thuoc chua ho co dom , chữa bệnh viêm mũi dị ứng ,thuốc và chua tri viem xoang , thuốc điều trị benh da day man tinh hiệu quả , Bài thuốc chữa trào ngược thực quản , thuốc chữa trào ngược dạ dày thực quản, cach chua rung toc, Bài benh roi loan kinh nguyet vô sinh , Khi bị thoai hoa dot song co chữa như thế nào ? . bệnh viem gan b mãn tính ,viem amidan ,viem amidan hoc mu , Đông y chữa dau dai trang hiệu quả nhanh .

  11. Hey Charly,

    Wanted to say this is beautifully, beautifully written, seriously, I could almost touch your analogies through the screen. Wishing you the best of luck on this. Although it might seem the opposite at times, surely a mind as creative as yours will steer you towards the right decisions and peace in the end.




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