Hello, my name is Emma, I’m 43 years young and I started living on the 23rd October 2016.
I’d been drinking on all different levels since the age of 13. It started with just sips of beer or Thunderbirds, but I already knew that I enjoyed the feeling of being tipsy.
When I was 13, I was sexually abused by someone I loved and trusted. Life was never the same again and drinking helped to blot out the awful memories.
My binge drinking really gathered momentum from age 16 when I was at college. Most people in my friendship group loved a drink so I believed that was the norm. I was the party animal, always getting completely annihilated and more often than not, my night ended in tears.
When I was 18, I decided to travel the Middle East and become a volunteer on a Kibbutz. They were some of my best years of my life however most nights involved heavy drinking.
I was the girl who let her hair down, the joker, the piss head. The attention was always on me and everyone preferred it that way. I woke up sad, embarrassed and very anxious nearly every day and being away from home meant I didn’t have the reassurance or comfort from my mum that I so needed. I felt isolated.
I decided to stay in Israel for a longer period. I was feeling tired and piling on weight so decided to try and moderate my alcohol intake. My moderating worked on most nights and I limited my drinking to Thursday and Friday nights (disco nights) but boy did I make up for it when I did!
After being in Israel for about 5 years, I decided to go home and be responsible … or so I thought. I met a man, bought my first house and settled down into a very toxic relationship . It consisted of drink and drugs, very late nights and massive come downs.
When we decided to break up, I felt so alone and spent most nights drowning in my own self pity. It was around this time that I decided to quit booze and drugs completely for the first time and felt much healthier, both mentally and physically . I was in a better place . This lasted for around 6 months, but once again, I thought I could moderate.
In 2003, I met my soul mate, Steve. He was a police officer so my life changed dramatically for the better. The drinking was under control however the wine witch was always around still questioning my decisions.
In 2004, we married and in 2006 we moved area and became parents to Isabella. It was pure happiness! I was finally a mummy so knew that I had to be responsible. I continued to moderate but was eating lots and piling on the pounds.
In 2009, our lives changed dramatically. We hit rock bottom financially and nearly lost everything. It was an absolute nightmare. We lost certain friends, we couldn’t go out and we were so unhappy. Steve was working day and night to keep a roof over our heads and I started self medicating with the left over bottles of Cava from our wedding. I was lonely, overweight and my anxiety was through the roof. Memories of the past kept coming back; we were broken and broke.
One lonely night, I was so sad that I decided to call Alcoholics Anonymous for some advice and went along to a meeting the next day. Sadly AA wasn’t for me but it was where I met Jo who was a lovely girl, but dependant on alcohol.
I stopped drinking for a while but didn’t go to any other meetings. I remained in contact with Jo and tried to be a support to her on the phone as her family had disowned her due to drinking. Once again I started to moderate but kept my distance from Jo as she was so vulnerable.
That summer, my mum decided to take my daughter and I on holiday. I really needed this break however was a little reluctant as Jo had started drinking again and I was so worried to leave her. But I did.
Once we returned back from our holiday, I tried to call Jo but there was no answer. I went straight to her flat and I knew she was home as I could see her glasses on the coffee table. Worried, I called the police only to receive the devastating news that Jo had passed away a few days earlier. I felt so guilty and blamed myself so continued to drink. You would think Jo’s death would’ve been the wake up call I needed but we need to make our own decisions and find our own journey. Jo had decided on hers and so I continued mine.
After Jo died, I had a few alcohol free stints. I did boot camp challenges for 12 weeks, Dry January, etc, so I knew I could be sober but just chose not to be.
A couple of years later we were in a much better place financially and decided to try for another baby but it just wasn’t happening. It left us sad, deflated and unhappy.
On New Years Eve 2013, we went to a family party and both got very drunk. My mother and brother said some harsh words to us which really hurt me and so I knew things had to change. When we woke up on New Years Day, we decided not to drink anymore and it was life changing. The positivity returned and soon we fell pregnant. We were over the moon! Herbie was born in April 2015. We were so happy; he was our little miracle.
In July 2015, as I approached my 40th birthday, I felt old, ugly, and fat; the wine witch thought she deserved some more of the limelight and so the arguments in my head started again! I managed to keep her at bay for my 40th birthday and had a lovely time celebrating with my close friends and family.
A few weeks later, I really wanted to try moderation again and was successful for quite some time, only drinking on special occasions and sticking to Prosecco. I thought that if I just stuck to one type of drink, I’d be ok! What a joke! My mum was so disappointed with the decision but I reasoned it was my life, not hers.
On 22 October 2016, I went to a friends 50th birthday party with my daughter Izzy (now age 10). I’d promised everyone I would behave and not drink too much but the truth of the matter is I got totally wasted!
I couldn’t remember past 10pm. The following day was our 13th wedding anniversary and I woke up feeling hungover, guilty, sad, and scared and rushed into Izzys bedroom to make sure she was there. She was, thank God, and with mixed emotions she then went on to tell me about the night before.
This was the pinnacle, the final straw, the decision maker.
The 23 October 2016 was the beginning of my new life. I can truly say it has been the best time! It’s not always easy but what is? My husband has also joined me on my alcohol free journey and without him, who knows where my path would have led me?
The support from my friends and family has been fabulous. This time, I chose to read self help books, attended a CBT Course and received 1-1 counselling which helped me so much. 3 months into sobriety, I stumbled across Club Soda (see link below) & Team Sober UK and the rest is history!
I finally realised I wasn’t alone.
I went on to meet Dawn and followed her blog The Sober Fish Story. I had found my sober tribe.
At 15 months sober, Laura from Club Soda asked if I wanted to give an interview for a national newspaper (see link below) about my journey as a sober mummy. This was a real turning point in my sober journey; to hold myself accountable and be open and honest with everyone.
That was it. I was out.
The response was just amazing. I received so much support and praise from friends, family and complete strangers. Being honest with everyone helped me so much. It is so important to be honest with yourself and everyone around you .
I wasn’t physically dependant on alcohol but I also couldn’t moderate. Trying to moderate was one big rollercoaster ride for me and my family and now I’m sober, I am free.
Next month, I will celebrate my 2 year Soberversary and let me tell you, life is really is better on the other side ❤️
Written by Emma, edited by Sober Fish
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