Free from Addiction

Hi, my name is Louise and I am an alcoholic. My sobriety date is 18 Nov 2010. I am 52 years old and will be days sober on Wednesday 14 Aug 2013. What a milestone for me because I never thought I’d reach 1,000 seconds.

I was born in Durban on 23rd October 1960 and am 1 of 3 adopted girls, me being the youngest. My dad was an alcoholic from as far back as I can remember but being too young I didn’t realise why my mom were always fighting. My dad was transferred to Jo’burg when I was in Std 4. It was only when we came to Jo’burg that my folks told us that we were actually adopted. Both my sisters rebelled because they felt we had been lied to. I didn’t worry because I felt that I was given a pretty good life.

I was basically the “goody-goody” two shoes, always helping my mom when I could and was daddy’s girl.

When I was quite young, I did drink with my friends on weekends but nothing serious.

My mom died very suddenly when I was 18. I was devastated. What was I going to do without her.  It was at this time that my then boyfriend, Grant, said he’d “take me under his wing” and look after me. I had 2 sons, Michael and Richard with him but divorced him after only 5 years. What a toxic relationship. He was an alcoholic, gambler, physically and mentally abused me and a womaniser.

I married again to a wonderful man, Norman, who treated us like gold. Unfortunately, after 7 years, he passed away from sugar diabetes. While we were married, I also drank but still nothing too serious, or so I thought, because I swore blind I would never be an alcoholic like my father and 1st husband.

Little did I know what was lying ahead of me. After my husband died the drinking got a little bit heavier and heavier. I could blank out my emotions. What a pleasure. I had always loved the taste of alcohol, but not the feeling the morning after. Then I really started getting drunk a lot more often. At this stage I was about 37 years old. My sons picked up how often I was drunk and turned against me. They wouldn’t bring their friends to visit because they never knew what kind of state I would be in. I didn’t realise I was that much of a drunk.

I met up with my current partner, Glen,  who I went out with at high school. I didn’t realise just how much I was drinking at that stage. I don’t know where I crossed the line from social drinker to alcoholic. But then the troubled started. Fights in the house, because there was no ways I was going to shut up for anyone. I was always right. As long as I had my alcohol, I felt real good. Never mind the fighting, I didn’t care. I did go to rehab twice but for the wrong reason. I was told to go. But it didn’t last. I needed alcohol to cope. Poor me, I had lost all my family. I had no friends. (Everything was I, I, I or me, me, me.) I started drinking during the night as well. That’s serious drinking – It was now 24/7 drinking. But I still couldn’t admit to anyone that I was an alcoholic. I knew, but no-one else could know.

In 2010, after totally messing up my whole life, my finances, my relationship with my sons, my health, my relationship with Glen, I went to rehab, a broken, frightened girl. I knew I had to go but my heart told me it really wasn’t necessary.

When I got to rehab “with a major hangover” I was so frightened. I felt all the nasty feelings that should have stopped me drinking but didn’t. Guilt being the biggest one. They did a breathaliser test, urine test and full blood count. At about 10.00 the following morning I was escorted to a psychiatrist. She told me that if I took 1 more drink I would die. My gamma gt count in my liver, which should be less than 40, was 1,200. That was my “wake – up” call. I got the fright of my life. In fact, one of the guys there said to me that he didn’t think I would walk out of the clinic alive, let alone sober.

After spending only 11 days in rehab I was told that my medical aid wouldn’t pay any further because I had run out of funds. I was really scared. I couldn’t complete my treatment. But then I realised I had 2 choices – go back and drink or believe in myself and don’t take another drink. I chose the latter.

By the Grace of God, I have never taken another drink or had any craving to do so.

Unfortunately, since I have been sober, my health has really deteroriated. I’ve got Osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, bipolar mood disorder, depression, gum disease (that’s been sorted out now), severe lower back pain (after 5 epidurals, 20 sessions at a pain clinic and a Rhizotomy) no – one seems to be able to help me. It is very debilitating and I cannot do all the things I used to do. So I get more depressed. Also, in April this year I was diagnosed with diabetes. I just can’t comprehend why one person has to cope with all of this.

Although I am proud to be a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and am almost 3 years sober now, I know I should be happy, joyous and free. Yes sure, free from addiction, but health, wealth and happiness I really don’t have. Also, Michael, my eldest son still won’t talk to me but he has invited me to his wedding in October.

This is my story.

Kind regards

Louise Jones.