I’m from the UK and growing up I had what looked like from the outside a middle-class privileged life.
Going back as far as I remember my Mom had issues. She needed everything perfect. Including me. From the minute I was born she had problems with me. When I was born my ear hadn’t rolled over completely yet and my mother demanded that the nurse take me away. She didn’t want to have to look at that. I was only minutes old. This pattern continued.
So from an extremely early age, I got the message that I need to be absolutely perfect in order to be loved. My father was no better. He would work all day and would be home at night to see us off to bed. Even he needed things perfect. We had to be washed a clothed properly. Everything just had to be as they wanted. Nothing else was accepted. I learned love was conditional.
My father moved abroad when I was five years old. When I was young we would only see him for a week or two every few years. The longest period of time I spent with my father was six weeks. And again everything had to be perfect when I was there. But we rarely got to see each other.
Our communication was not as it was today. We would have to mail each other letters and that took a long time. It would be a month just to get a response. So talking with him was rare.
I remember my sixth birthday and the gift I received. My mother was having mental issues and was going into the hospital for electric shock therapy. She decided to take me aside and say “I might never come back, so can you look after your brother and sister.” This is what I consider the worst gift I’ve ever received.
Eventually, my parents divorced. When I was thirteen when my mom remarried. He was a great guy, he was really funny, the life of the party and overall just a charming man. After about six months of them being married everything changed. You would think this was a different man.
He was extremely abusive. Often physical, but most of the time he would abuse us verbally, emotionally, and psychologically. One night he pulled a gun on my mother and then he grabbed me by the throat and slammed me right up against the wall. He was threatening to kill my mom and when I would attempt to scream for help he would squeeze harder and harder.
These are the things I remember. These are the events that would later lead to drug abuse in a futile attempt to escape the emotional and mental pain that was inflicted on me.
These events would also later affect relationships. Eventually when I was married I would be arguing with my husband and I would just let him get his way because psychologically I was remembering being choked as I tried to speak up so I didn’t speak up now. I felt it would hurt to speak up. I was terrified. I was trapped in emotional turmoil.
At eleven I was shipped off to boarding school. I felt like I was an inconvenience. It was a very disconnecting feeling being away from my parents and at a distance like that, it was hard to feel any love. I felt rejected. As if I was being punished for something and I didn’t know what. In later years this lack of parental love would really affect me. At a time when I had hormones and emotions running through my body and when I needed my parents the most they weren’t there. I never had someone to guide me and tell me I’m on the right path. I felt I just wasn’t wanted.
I was in boarding school until I was eighteen. Being home now I was with my mother. She was a drinker. Her drink was whiskey. She’d drink enough to be stumbling around the house and falling asleep at the table. I remember being embarrassed by her.
Going back there was even a time at a cousin’s wedding and we were all dancing taking her clothes off and playing with her tights over her head. I was fourteen and embarrassed, to say the least. My mother was a drunk.
I remember asking my mother to come to spend a weekend. At the time I wasn’t drinking. She told me she couldn’t be away from home. When I challenged this and asked if this is because you don’t want to be away from you’re alcohol? She said I was right. I then made the mistake of asking her to choose between me and the whiskey. The whiskey won. To hear my own mother choose alcohol over me was so painful. It was a hurt deep inside I can’t describe.
Eventually, I was married at 23. Again this was just like my stepfather. The charming guy that everyone loved to be around, really funny handsome, and charming. I thought I pulled in a catch. My marriage was no better. It just continued this story of pain and suffering for me.
There was a lot of psychological abuse. He would try to convince me I was crazy. That all my memories were crazy and wrong. He even suggested I had early-onset Alzheimers and I should consult a doctor. He was so relentless that it got to the point I believed him. I was in my early thirties and I thought I was losing my mind. Again I was terrified.
He would also use other things to manipulate me. We had two children and he told me if I ever tried to leave him he would never let me see them because I was an alcoholic and I was from a family of alcoholics. He said I was an irresponsible mother and I believed him. I ended up staying with him way longer than I should have.
I was solidly drinking one to three bottles a night for ten years. No matter what by the end of the night I was drunk, and I just drank till I passed out. I’ve also given myself all types of injuries. I went and fell into a hedge scratching my face. One time I was walking with a wine glass and I tripped and fell and the glass shattered right in my face. I was so drunk I didn’t even realize what had happened.
Eventually, I got pregnant at thirty-three and then again at thirty-five. This was the first time in a long time I was sober. I don’t know exactly how or why but I just quit. It was just easy with motivation like having a child. I was sober for four years. I told myself when I was finished nursing I’m not going to go back to drinking as I did before and I repeated this to myself over and over.
I was drinking within a week of when I stopped nursing. I was right back to my few bottles of wine every night.
When I was forty I got separated. I was still drinking heavily. I remember calling out a lot from work. I also remember driving to work hoping I didn’t get pulled over because I was still probably over the legal limit from the night before. There were times at work when people around me actually smelled the alcohol coming from my pours and I had to hide the smell.
The final straw was when I was forty-two. I was at home said it’s Sunday night and I’m going to stay in and go to bed. In the blink of an eye, I’m in the shop buying two bottles of wine. I downed those two bottles in one hour. Then I called in sick to work the next day.
I finally for the first time in my life admitted that I had a problem. That morning I looked up an AA meeting and went. That night I was back in the same shop buying more wine. The very next day I went to another meeting I haven’t drank since then.
I’ve been sober for three and a half years. In order to deal with my drinking issue, I had to first deal with my trauma issue.
What I found through research is that trauma leaves you with an empty feeling inside yourself. There was just a lot of pain. But what I found was the more I dealt with childhood trauma the less my cravings got.
I haven’t been able to make it to meetings and do the normal routine because of COVID. But I have not had a craving. I’ve been to family events where everyone was drinking. Also, this is not to say I’m against AA or meetings. If I had the slightest urge to drink I would attend.
I have never been happier in my life. So much of this is due to really digging into what the real trauma was and what needed to be addressed. Once the proper issue is corrected the cravings lessen.
I hope by sharing this I might be able to help someone!