Published On: April 6, 20191143 words5.7 min read

27 Jan 2019

Dear Alcohol

I remember the first time we met.  I think I was only about 13. My Grandparents had their Ruby wedding anniversary at The Talk of The Town in London. The family all got dressed up & we went to town for a meal & a show. I had champagne for the 1st time . It went straight to my head. I did not enjoy our first meeting. I didn’t like the way you made me feel or the lack of control. I should have listened to my brain at the beginning. It was trying to warn me that you were no good for me. I got very tipsy on the bubbles & could never drink champagne again without getting very drunk.  

The 2nd time we met we had a major fall out. I was about 16 & went to a party. You enticed me with port & lemon the drink of the day. You made me very, very sick. I felt terrible the next day. My Dad was very cross with me.

I can remember when you caused fights with me & my boyfriend in pubs. You once made me throw a pint of beer over him & storm out & go home.

I can remember in my young days, many times when you caused me to behave in very inappropriate ways . Caution thrown to the wind & living up to the jokes about Essex girls. I think I wanted someone to love me & I felt that you could help me be more lovable. It thought that you made me happier & more interesting.

The first time you caused a blackout was the 1st day of my honeymoon to my 1st Husband. We were drinking those lovely cocktails at a beach bar on a greek island & you suckered me in . The cocktails tasted like soft drinks & I wanted to work my way down the cocktail list . We walked down the beach to find a club & that’s the last thing I remember until I awoke the next morning feeling terrible . I said some very terrible things to my new husband apparently , so he said. It was clear you also brought out the worst in me.

At work we went to the local pub for lunch & a few halves of lage . We had after work drinks . Most of the time I could take you or leave you. I have a strong memory of you enticing me again after a meal & red wine at Covent Garden . I was then taken by my friend to String fellows & the champagne flowed. I have no memory of getting home or how I managed to get off the train at my station. In those days it was very much binging on you.

I rose quickly in the ranks at work. Had to travel & spend time in hotels . Drinking lots of wine when away. I do not remember you having a strong hold on me over this time. I could pass you by when I wanted or needed to. Although we worked hard & partied harder , is was easy when I was young.

My 1st husband & I divorced.

I met someone else , had a baby boy & moved to Johannesburg South Africa . I was very wrapped up with my son in his early years & had no time for you then.  I went out sometimes & then made up for the days without you but my sons hold on me was way stronger than any you could exert over me. I didn’t need you when he needed me.

My 2nd husband & I had a good relationship in the early days & I did not see the need for you to any great extent. I never wanted my son to meet you or see your effects on me. So I only sought you out when he was away from me.

When my son left to go to University & moved to Cape Town. I had a hole in my life which you gradually crept into. I no longer had a mother’s responsibilities for him & that left me free to indulge with you.

Still I thought that I could walk away when I needed to. I could take a break for a month to prove I was stronger than you & you didn’t control me. I could ignore you all week. When I did let you in at the weekends many times the wheels all fell off. Blackouts became regular & the hangovers were fierce.

I had terrible financial stress that led to me reaching out to you more & more. Eventually I had to more to Cape Town as my husband lost his business in Jhb.

You saw this as your opportunity, new town , no friends,  but you & you really got a grip on me this time. I had to have you all the time & enough was never enough. More & more of you I had to have. I even started smoking after 11 years of no smoking. You had me in your grip now. You held onto me & pushed me & pushed me for over 2 years. I was broken. Aggressive, angry , uptight ,fighting with everyone because of you ,  stressed out all the time . I still managed to function , working & carrying on my life as I needed to , but once I had a little taste of you all control was gone. I was out of control now. You were in control.

The Sunday 17th April 2016 my parents had dinner with me . After I started on the 2nd bottle of red wine I have no more memories of that day. My husband told me I was really horrible to my mother & said some very nasty hurtful things.  That was you talking, not me. I finally realised that you make me a terrible person with no filter at all.

On Monday 18th April I woke up with the 3rd hangover in a row & said to myself “ I cannot do this anymore” . That was the day I pushed you out of my life for good.

As I write this today its 1 015 days since I had anything to do with you. I am so glad that I got you out of my life. It was hard at the start as you kept trying to sucker me back in. I stayed strong & reached out to others who had also been abused by you. They helped me stay strong.

You are abusive, you sucked the life out of me.

I am now back in control of my life . My life is not perfect by any means but I am content. I am not looking for anything to fill that hole anymore.

My life is so much better without you


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  1. Flic March 19, 2021 at 7:00 am

    Brilliant, heartfelt letter, Sue. Thank you for sharing ?

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