Rock bottom is different for everyone. Some people end up in a police cell, begging their partner to come get them with a promise that this is the last time. Others lose their job, their home, their children and only then do they quit drinking. My rock bottom? It was more of a ‘soft rock bottom’. The Bryan Adams of bottoms, if you will.

My Last Ever Alcoholic Drink

One balmy summers evening in 2018 I was sitting in my garden having a glass of wine with my husband, Mike. Mike is a smashing chap and has always been an excellent drinker but not that night. I began pouring him a glass of wine when he lifted his hand in protest and said,

“No, I won’t, thanks. I actually just want a tea.”

You might imagine I would be fine with that. It would be fair to expect that I’d be happy for us to enjoy our Friday night together, watching the sunset even though we were consuming different drinks. That would be reasonable, but I was three glasses into a bottle of white wine and it was Friday fucking night! How dare he request tea!?

I told him in no uncertain terms that if he was going to ‘hang on to me’ he would need to drink more. I wouldn’t be held back while he donned a pair of slippers! I wanted to party! And I’m sorry, but he knew this about me. I have always liked to have a good time and that hadn’t changed. It was HE who had changed. NOT ME! And if this relationship was to continue then he would have to change back and pretty bloody sharpish!

Mike stood and announced, very calmly,

“I’m going to bed.”

Was I An Alcoholic?

That was the last drink I ever had. It was like an outer body experience. In exactly the same way that you are probably thinking, Oh my god. Who is this insufferable twat and why is that man with her? I had the very same realisation.

Quite suddenly and without warning I awoke from the alcohol spell. I looked at my empty glass, thought about how ridiculously important alcohol had become to me and I started to google ‘Am I an alcoholic?’

I went on three separate websites, all of which asked me to calculate how much I drank in a week and because I had just given myself such a scare I actually added the drinks up without swerving the truth. I used a unit calculator to add them all up and for the first time in my life I answered the dreaded question, ‘how much alcohol do you drink?’ with unflinching honesty. Here is what I drank the week before I stopped:

Monday – 2 large glasses of white wine

Tuesday – 3 large glasses of white wine

Wednesday – 3 large glasses of white wine

Thursday – 3 large whiskey and diet cokes

Friday – 4 large white wines

Saturday –  5 glasses of Prosecco and 2 shots of tequila and probably more (I was out, out)

When you add that all up it comes to 56 units of alcohol (or 3,409 calories which equates to 12 burgers). I wasn’t just drinking a little too much, I was drinking WAAAAY too much.

I Could Have Waited For A Hard Rock Bottom

I could have let myself get to the Metallica, Nine Inch Nails or even the Black Sabbath of bottoms. The deep, dark, depths of despair. But why wait for that? I knew I was going down. It was obvious to me in that moment that I was on the road to Shitsville. It was a question of quitting while I still had everything to play for. Quitting while I was ahead.

Of course, it’s different for everyone but crucially you cannot measure the detrimental affects of alcohol in bottles. It has to be measured in the damage its doing to your life and your self esteem. The sooner you quit, the easier it is to rebuild and create something wonderful.

But How Much Alcohol Is Too Much Alcohol?

Any amount is too much because alcohol is cancer causing and no amount is risk free. The UK National Health Service suggests not drinking more than 14 units a week. It is, however, a figure cooked up by the alcohol industry and then passed on as fact with a super handy NHS endorsement but more on that another time.

I knew the ’14 units a week’ rule all too well because I had checked out how much I was ‘allowed’ to consume years before and some sort of magic maths kept me just below it for years. The kind of magic maths that makes 3 glasses of wine equal 3 units of alcohol when in fact it’s at least 9.

The next day I found an AA meeting and started out on a journey; a journey of immense lows and tremendous highs both of which have been the best experiences of my life. For the past two years I have developed my non-drinking tool kit and massively improved my life.

This website is a guide for all those who want to go on a similar journey. You’ve been living under a spell, the alcohol spell, and it’s time to wake up.

©LIZ HORSMAN 2020

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