Hello, I’m Ben, age 28, and I’m an alcoholic. 


As I sit here typing I notice that, within the first 13 words, my head feels space for the first time this week.


For the last 20 seconds my head hasn’t thought about things I don’t want to think about or going to memories I fear, because everything I’m thinking I’m just writing. It’s freeing.


There’s no need for me to explain that what’s going on in the outside world is alien to us all. It’s something that we have never experienced before and probably will never again. But while we’re all trying to stay strong, personally it’s proving harder than I thought.


As Boris announced we must all work from home, a good majority of people jumped for joy. I did not. As further measures were taken to ensure we stayed inside and did not leave in the house, my heart sank further. 


Alone time for me is, quite frankly, hell. 


Hold up, before we continue, I realise this might come across a certain way, so I just want to highlight this is not a ‘woe is me’ post, or me looking for sympathy – we are all affected. 


Actually, perhaps selfishly, this post is all for me. It’s not easy to write, but I need to write this to relieve and release feelings and reflect on the past week to try and make myself feel more (ironically) at home, at home.


Drinking for me was not only social, it was also an isolated occupation. While, yes, I took every social opportunity to drink, most of my downfall took place behind closed doors. 


The battle you face when you’re alone is far greater than that of a social occasion. After I lost my job, 90% of my drinking was me and the bottle. The bottle was my lifeline, hero, lover, enemy, death sentence and lifesaver. It was my everything. 


Just before I left London I’d lost it all; my job, relationship, house, friends, money and, worst of all, myself. 


I was the loneliest I’ve ever been and even when I was with my parents, I was still alone. I existed in my own bubble, with my only friend, the only one that always stood by me, comforted me – the bottle. 


I sat up, rolled over as my head pounded and felt the wine bottle I’d emptied at 2am dig into my side. I struggled out of bed as my liver shot pains up my side. I pulled myself upright and stumbled down the stairs, slightly leaning to one side as the pain throbbed.


I stood in the living room staring out the window. Everyone was out, I was alone. 


A sense of happiness flooded in as I thought “Fuck yeah, another me day” – another day of drinking what I want, not being watched as I go to the shop, no judging eyes, no awkward questions, no pretending I’m fine when I’m struggling to stand. It was just me. 


I looked at the clock, it read 7.50am and I glanced up out the window at a 20-something guy walking, laptop bag in hand, smart shoes (obviously going to work) and that’s all it took. 


“Fucker, going to work, I want to go to work. No wait, I need to enjoy this time I have, it’s a gift. I’ve worked so hard this year. But I do need to find a job. Yeah, shower and then job search. Productive day ahead, c’mon Ben,” I thought.


10 seconds passed. I thought about the pub opening at 12 and the reward it would bring once I’d done some job applications. I was essentially planning out my next ‘normal’ drinking escapade to convince myself that what I was doing was normal, because as long as there was someone else in that pub, I wasn’t alone. 


I saw another guy going to work and intentions went out the window.


I glanced down at my shaking hand, sweat appeared on my forehead and that familiar wretched smell of stale booze that oozed out of every pore.


“Fuck it, I need booze right? Yeah a drink then I’ll get going. A drink then I’ll be productive. A drink then I’ll step on it.” 


I popped open a guitar case and pulled the empty bottle of Absolut stored neatly under the headstock. “Did I drink all that?” I put it back and headed to the kitchen where there was an old bottle of red. No idea how long it had been there, fuck it, I chugged it. 


There was no one home and there I was, at 8am, chugging half a bottle of red, gagging with every gulp, while feeling the fire burning in my belly as I pounded more acid into my already dissolved stomach. 


It’s hard to describe the feeling when you have that first drink, but it’s like a comforting hug. Warm, gentle and lifting. You feel normality is near, you can be yourself again, it’s like someone just put new batteries in you and turned you on.


But this only lasted about 10 minutes, and I was back in the kitchen hunting for anything I could find. I opened every cupboard, not giving a shit what it was, how old it was, as long as it had alcohol in it, I was drinking it. 


The anxiety kicked in and I needed to escape. A feeling of uselessness, worthlessness and loneliness all came at once. “I’m a fucking failure,” I thought. “Look at me.” I needed to make this go away.


My heart pounded outside my chest and I pleaded out loud to myself that there was something, anything to drink. 


I found a Brew Dog and gulped it down. The temporary hug came back, I felt warm, my heart slowed, but for how long? 


This was the ordeal I battled for about a year. The internal struggle of being alone and trying to escape my own thoughts was fought with copious amounts of alcohol. 


Truth be told, this is a similar battle to what I’m experiencing now, but sober. I haven’t had to spend large amounts of time alone since I left treatment.


Despite advice to take it easy, it’s the reason I pushed myself when I first left rehab – getting back into work, staying in London on weekdays and eventually moving here. 


But none of that matters now, the fact of the matter is I’m stuck inside, alone, for most of the day, everyday. 


I’m still working, or trying to, but my mind wanders every 5 minutes. I try to focus, but unless I’m doing something which requires ‘physical work’ like; baking a cake, cooking, cleaning, washing, hoovering (our house is spotless right now) then I find I can’t concentrate.


It’s an alien feeling to me, and reminds me a lot of the past. When I’d attempt to do something and, without thought, end up with a drink in my hand. 


It’s when I’d drink the most and the most frequently, and I can’t stop thinking about those times. Memories of; 


drinking housemates’ whisky, replacing it with water, then challenging myself to find the same replacement once it was too diluted.

brilliant games to find an off licence I hadn’t been to. 


accidentally drinking too much and being unable to move or, worse, waking up 3 hours later. 


anxiety that I’d forgotten something, done something, or said I’d do something about which I was now oblivious. 


waiting until the clock struck 12 to go to the pub to see literally anyone to normalise my drinking. 


frantically texting all of my contacts to ensure someone was going to be there. 


putting vodka in anything that looked unsuspicious so that passers by wouldn’t know I was drinking – fucking paranoia. 


It goes on. 


It’s these thoughts that are currently coursing through my head along with the biggest of them all…


“I could stop all these thoughts right now, no one would know”. 


But I’m too strong for that. I’ve cheated death, I’ve nailed this fucking disease and it can haunt me all it likes, it’s not taking hold again. 


I’ll be alright and how I’m viewing this situation is that it will be another medal to add to my jacket. Another situation I’ll overcome and, to be honest, if I can do this one, I can do them all. 


And Breathe… 


I know everyone is in this boat together and we all have different difficulties we’re facing.


It’s the people with kids, elderly parents and mental health issues that I think about the most at this time. The biggest thing we must do is connect.


I count myself lucky to have a brilliant therapist, as well as someone here at night to share my fears with.


But for those who don’t, remember there is always someone to talk to, someone to listen, someone to help and someone to say I love you. 


Keep safe.

Love, Ben x


Hello, I’m Ben, age 28 and I’m an alcoholic. 


As I turn into my Dad’s street, a large bush sways in the wind triggering my mind to memories of the past. 


I distract myself by smiling at a dog walker and continue up to the house, pulling into the drive. The big white garage door fills the windscreen and another swarm of thoughts flood my mind. 


I continued to drink after my hospital stay, arguably more heavily than before. I became a burden and as a result, I was passed between Mum and Dad’s houses intermittently. 


I spent the majority of time in Nottingham as this was where my therapist was, but every couple of weeks we’d drive to Baldock services and make the switch. 


I was too much for anyone to handle. I don’t know how much I was drinking at this point, but it was at least 50 units a day. I’d black out at any time; while eating dinner, while watching TV, mid conversation, even on the toilet. 


I got into Dad’s car and over the hour drive, started to plot where my next fix would come from, what excuse I’d use and how I’d pay. 


At this point I was openly drinking and my parents knew I was a full blown alcoholic. We chatted about how much I generally needed to function – 2 bottles of white, and 4 cans of lager – but this was never enough. 


I had a routine at both houses and I stuck to them. 


I’d tell my Dad “James (my therapist) said I should go for a walk, away from distraction and write 5 things I was grateful for and 5 things I’d change each day” – utter bollocks, I’m sure he saw right through it too (For privacy, James is a fictional name).


I’d get my shoes on, make a point of putting my wallet on the side to give the illusion I had no money, picked up a pen and post-it and off I went. 


As soon as I rounded the corner, I pulled three credit cards out my boxers, checked the balance and noted whichever had the lowest negative balance. 


I’d buy 3 bottles of white and two 70cl bottles of vodka. Why exactly that amount? Because this is what I could fit into my waistband. Two wines at the front, two vodkas at the back. 


I waddled back to the house and on the way back scrawl 10 random things down on a post-it, before I walk in. 


Wait, what about the third wine? I drank this on the walk back, and tossed the empty into the bush I mentioned at the start of this post. 


When you’re an addict memories are triggered from everywhere and everything. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t have thoughts of drinking, shame, embarrassment, shock, sadness and disbelief. 


But I can tell you one thing, they are never of happiness. 


I park the car, walk through the door and sit down in the kitchen, Dad’s reading the paper. We chat, laugh and catch up about what’s gone on over the last month or so. The thoughts I had on the way in die down and I feel relaxed. 


It’s taken a while to get to this point, about a year into recovery. 


I use the ‘naming’ method – when a thought is triggered, I name it, rationalise it and then deal with it. By naming it, you don’t let it run riot in your head, you stop the euphoric recall, and it (mostly) ends with “oh yeah, that happened”. 


Such a useful tool, but I feel drained in certain environments. It often feels like everything is testing you and it’s difficult to name thoughts all the time, but when you have 15+ triggers over the course of the day it’s imperative you action it as much as possible.


There’s no doubt triggers have dampened a year on. When you first leave rehab it’s loud, overwhelming, tiring, and a constant battle – it’s one of the reasons so many people relapse after treatment. 


Name, rationalise, move on. 

Name, rationalise, move on. 

Name, rationalise, move on. 


I wander upstairs and head to the bedroom to drop my bags off, here we go again. I note the pillows, the wardrobe, the drawers. Dad shouts up asking if I want a tea, but my mind has gone elsewhere. 


After having a quick smoke to hide the wine breath from the bottle I’d chugged, I shuffled in the house. 


I left the post-it on the side, so it was obviously visible, kicked my shoes off and headed upstairs. 


One bottle under each pillow, one vodka on the left of the wardrobe behind the spare duvet and one in the bottom drawer under my pink shorts. 


I breathed a sigh of relief, today’s mission was done, I could relax, I glanced at the clock, “all done before 1.00pm”.


I went downstairs, opened a bottle of wine out the fridge – first of the two I bought with Dad – had a gulp, cracked a beer and sat down knowing I was set for a while. 


And that was the daily routine when at Dads; 

– Drink the ‘agreed’ booze in the fridge at hourly intervals
– Interspersed with ‘my stash’ throughout the day

– Save half a bottle of pillow wine at bedtime
– Save half a bottle of fridge wine

– Drink half bottle of pillow wine at 2am when I woke up shaking
– Drink the rest of the fridge wine in the morning 

– Drink 1 can of lager at around 10am
– Aim to go to the shop by 12pm

– Repeat


Sadly, these are now the moments I relive when I visit Cambridge, but I’d take double the triggers, memories and difficult situations in sober life, than live one day in my drunk days. 


Cue my rock bottom moment. 


The above had been going on for weeks and I could feel myself getting weaker. My liver felt like it was being stabbed, my stomach like lava, my head throbbed constantly, my shit was yellow water and every blink felt as heavy as lead. 


I woke up every day feeling like I’d been run over, confused, and depressed, but I never realised, because no sooner after opening my eyes, I had a bottle in my mouth. 


I smiled, but I wasn’t happy. I joked, but no one laughed. I sat with my family, but I felt alone. I wanted to talk to friends, but I was too embarrassed. What the fuck had I done? 


Saturday 24th November 2018. 


I woke up, went to the fridge, slugged some wine back, grabbed a beer and went for a shower. 


As usual my stomach turned itself inside out and yellow bile filled the bottom of the tub. I cracked the beer and took a swig, water still on. 


Something about this morning wasn’t right. I watched the yellow water wash down the drain, my liver was excruciating (more than usual).  


I took another swig, trying to hold it down. Nope. Foamy metallic tasting liquid squirted out my mouth. “Fucking hell, stay in” I exclaimed. 


I managed to get the can down after a few attempts, turned the water off, and stood there dripping. “Fuck, I can’t do this anymore” I thought, as I walked across the landing. 


To the best of my recollection, this is the first time I ever thought this in the years of my addiction, and that tiny little thought laid a seed which no matter what I did, wouldn’t go away. 


I went to my room, and drank more. I had to get this feeling away, get out of my own head, stop the pain in my liver, stop the anxiety, and start the day. Nothing helped. 


I went downstairs, got a beer, sat on the sofa. I turned on the TV, and tried to distract myself. Dad was out, so I didn’t just feel alone, I was alone. 


I couldn’t escape this feeling of anxiety, and worry. I went to the fridge, cracked another, slugged more wine, and stood blankly staring at the fridge. 


Slowly swaying back and forth, I could feel the alcohol kicking in, but I was just… sad. I couldn’t handle it. 


I set out for the shop, if I had more booze it would make me feel more secure, and sane. Dad wasn’t home so no need to shove it down my trousers and no limit to what I could buy. Jackpot. 


I came back with a plethora of supplies. I sat on the edge of my bed and drank a bottle of wine staring out the window, no emotion, no music, no nothing. “Is this what I’ve become?” I thought. 


When everything was removed I sat there and looked at my life; no job, hurting my family, hurting myself, helpless, lonely and in debt. I’d become something that I’d never wish on anyone. 


I picked up the phone and called the only person I knew would talk to me. James, my therapist. 


I don’t remember the exact call, but it was along the lines of “James, I can’t do it, something has to change”. 


James never pushed me into making a decision, he knew I’d get there in the end and unknown to me, I was there. 


I muttered “I need to go to rehab, I can’t do this anymore”. 


I heard the door handle turn, Dad was home. I hung up, and stayed sat on the edge of my bed staring out the window. Tears rolled down my face. I got myself together and thought “right, go tell Dad”. 


I slowly walked down the stairs and said “I’ve talked to James, I think I need to go”. His response shocked me. It wasn’t one of happiness, relief, or joy. Just very quietly said “Okay, I’ll sort it”. 


Looking back, at the time I know what I expected, but after all the pain, struggle, hurt, sorrow, anger and helplessness I had caused, what else could he say? 


I silently walked out the kitchen, up to my room, and sat alone. 


I drank everything I could over the next 24hrs, and was whisked back to Nottingham the following day, as the clinic was closer to Mums. Sunday night I sat in bed with my mum, looking at old photographs, laughing, trying to forget what the morning meant. 


The next morning, I cried more than I’ve ever cried, drank more in a morning than I ever had. 


I was petrified. 


I was in rehab. 


Writing this blog churns up a whirlwind of shit memories, but at the same time I’m glad to feel strong enough to share them. 


It’s cathartic to be able to put them on paper and almost analyse what I still find difficult and what kicks up dirt the most. 


Most importantly, it allows me to begin to feel okay with who I was, and realise that’s not who I am now. 


I’m going to leave it there. 


Cheers, Ben x 


Hello, I’m Ben, age 28, and I’m an alcoholic. 


I’ve spent 4 weekends in London since I left rehab, and I’d be lying if I said it felt normal. For the past year I’ve rented a room in London during the week, and gone to family homes in Cambridge or Nottingham, every Friday to Sunday.  


In short, it’s been essential to go to a “safe place” each weekend – using the time to revisit my rehab for Aftercare (when you go back and attend a session where you share your experience with current residents) and attend therapy – essentially removing myself from all danger. 


In the past, weekends for me were times when I didn’t have to worry about how messed up I got, times when I could drink from 12pm – 12am bar hopping across London, times when I drank without fear of judgement, times that couldn’t come soon enough each week. Times I don’t want to relive. 


But the time came in January to make the change, I’ve taken the leap and not only moved back to London full time, but in with Emma too. It’s a good move and a step forward, but it’s a little daunting and it certainly comes with its challenges. 


A couple of weekends ago an old friend came to visit. Alex is a close friend of mine from University and despite him living in Vietnam for the last few years and me disappearing during the dark times, we recently got in touch again. 


The week went by, and Friday rolled around. I felt excited, but also a little nervous. I texted Alex that afternoon to see which station his train was arriving into. 


“Liverpool Street, around 1pm, see you there?” 

“Yeah man, sure” 


My heart sank a little. 


Liverpool Street & Shoreditch were the scene of many drunken escapades during the last few years of my addiction. It was the place that my illness moved from afternoon and night drinking to morning ‘til night drinking. 


We met at the station, hugged and set off to find somewhere to grab some lunch.


As we walked along, I tried to put memories of debauchery to the back of my mind, but the landmarks of my past were unavoidable. 


One thing that people often seem bewildered about is day drinking (aka. drinking at work). And no, not the odd cheeky Friday lunchtime pint, I mean drink at work. To illustrate: 


The Ten Bells & The Golden Heart – The two establishments I alternated every lunchtime for three pints of Guinness, without fail.

Juju’s – Where I’d run for an afternoon top up (or two) of a large Gin & Tonic, which took me about the same time to finish as a smoke break.


The Commercial Tavern & The Old Blue Last – The ‘after work spot’ a pint (maybe two) in each on the way home.

I’ll save you reading back to add it up – that’s around 8 drinks in a working day and I stayed in this steady rhythm for about six months, but that wasn’t the end. 


I didn’t know why, but the urge for drink got greater. Every break I had I found myself wanting alcohol. The thought popped into my head just as easily as someone thinks “I’ll have a biscuit”. It snuck up on me like a demon.


You find yourself watching the clock “come on, how is it only 11am?! Just an hour more, then I can feel happy again”. It was hard to concentrate, hard to function. 


I wanted more, I thought I could get away with more and I needed more. 


I went from leaving the office having the first sip at 1pm, to 12pm, and then eventually to where I’d be drinking wine in the office kitchen at work at 9am to knock off the hangover from the night before. Hell, if i’m honest, it was throughout the day, in between my pub ‘top-ups’ too. 


I’d find any excuse to be in the kitchen to have a good slug of rose, throw vodka in a juice, gin in a smoothie, you name it – but you had to ensure you covered your tracks – If you;

            • go up to make a coffee, remember to bring it down with you 
            • take a call upstairs, make sure you’re heard saying ‘bye’ as you go back through the office door 
            • went to get a snack, bring back the wrapper
            • offer to make anyone a coffee in the office, always do two trips 
            • went to the loo, make a ‘wee’ comment before you leave 


In your head, you’ve become a pro at the art of disguise, laughing in your head that you’re sitting there buzzed, as everyone else trundles along.


But little did I know these tipples would escalate into a completely unmanageable situation. 


The 9am wine became a 7am vodka on the tube, carefully funnelled into an innocent smoothie bottle and the rest decanted into a water bottle as an ‘emergency’ for when you couldn’t leave the office. 


These ‘emergencies’ became ever more frequent – usually when I hadn’t had a drink for about two hours and I was starting to shake. I don’t mean, the slight dread and struggle when the hangover kicks in, I mean noticeable withdrawal – sweats, shakes, sickness – the lot. 


This is why I had emergency vodka at all times. But cue the day I didn’t. 


I was called into a two hour meeting and I’d drunk all my emergency supply, as for some reason the off licence wasn’t open that morning. Bastards.


I felt myself starting to shake. “10 minutes until the meeting, I can’t go out, but I can’t go into this thing un-lubricated.” I thought. 


Ah ha! I almost jumped with joy, as I suddenly remembered that for my birthday the team got me a few craft beers and they were in my locker. 


I snuck over to the locker wall, opened it and carefully placed them in my bag, attempting to hide the clinking. I darted toward the disabled loo. 


I popped the cap off on the sink and drank 6 bottles of strong craft beer in about five minutes. I sighed in relief, “this should get me through” – meeting ended at 12 and I was in the pub for lunch. 


It pains me, and yet amazes me how long I played this game for in my career, and I have no idea how I was never found out. 


Looking back as someone who is genuinely work orientated and hates not pulling my weight, I’m ashamed and embarrassed to admit this. Namely at the way I must have treated people – offloading work purely due to my inability to complete it, blaming others, excuses, I could go on. 


I felt like a useless twat, which is arguably half the reason I wanted to escape reality at work. 


If any of my old employers or colleagues are reading this, I’m sorry.



Christ, that was hard to write. Sorry, I went on a bit of a rant there, more on that in later posts. Back in the zone… 


We made it to Pizza East, somewhere I hadn’t been before, so arguably a ‘safe zone’.  


Conversation flowed and it was brilliant to hear about his adventures in Vietnam and his plans to go back. I was disappointed I hadn’t seen him in the last 8 years, but then again grateful to have met up, rather than not at all. 


He asked about what had happened, as all he’d seen was my Facebook posts and I don’t tend to divulge the full deal unless in person. Of course I obliged, he was shocked, but also thankful I came out the other side and that we were able to hang out again. 


Once we’d done the ‘catch up’, so to speak, you tend to reminisce with friends, think about the old times. But when the last time you saw each other was just after university, it brings up some questionable memories. 


I’m now sat at the table racking my brain to avoid pissed up stories, large benders, 3 day binges, but it’s hard. 


I started to question if there were any memories other than pissed up ones, I mean it was uni, but did I really drink that much? 


My mind is cast back to a memory from when Alex and I lived together. It has been a particularly heavy summer and while others were recuperating, I’d often find myself with a drink in the evening. 


I remember my girlfriend and housemates at the time pulling me up on the fact that I just constantly had a bottle of Bell’s on the go and me being me, denied it at every turn.


I remember telling myself it’s just a grown up thing to do, finish lectures, have whiskey & coke while we watch a movie, or play a game. “It’s grown up life”, I said. 


But the reality was, no one else was doing it. At uni people drank to get drunk, or at the pub with mates, and it was at this time it became obvious to others, but unknown to me, that I fucking loved alcohol. 


After a while it seemed my friends became concerned about how much I was drinking.

They went as far as to secretly collect all the bottles I had consumed in a month; beer, wine, whiskey, cider, the lot, and arranged it in the living room with the word “Intervention” written into the carpet.

I laughed at first, but then I remember getting a bit offended. “How dare they criticise how much I drink, it’s not that much, it’s not stopping me doing anything, it’s not like I’m hungover and it’s not affecting my life” – basically fuck off. 


Bit defensive eh? Looking back I had the alcoholic behaviours when I was 20 – the denial, and the defensive nature when I felt like I was being attacked about my drinking. 


The problem had begun and I had no idea. 


The afternoon winds down, and we all get the train back to mine. I felt a bit knackered – reliving my old daily routine, judging the various booze cruises around Shoreditch, battling past memories, attempting to reminisce the good times, while trying to forget the bad. 


We watched a movie, and I remembered a conversation I had with my therapist. It centred around not focusing on the past, but making things of the future. 


In a nutshell, since leaving rehab in January 2019 it feels like I’ve had to relearn  everything. I’ve had to learn how to do things sober, just like when you turn 16, hitting puberty, and feeling different. 


This may sound odd, but it’s true. 


When you believe that all your confidence, charisma, sociability, motivation, humour & laughter comes from alcohol, what do you do without it? 


How do you socialise, participate in meetings, go on dates, go out, be yourself, and perhaps the most questionable – live the life you used to? 


I was worried that after all these years I wouldn’t be so outgoing, funny, chatty – all the reasons I thought Alex and I became friends all those years ago. 


While I’ve had to ‘start again’, I have to remember that while doing things again is tough, it’s a journey and everything is a new experience. 


I still fear that I’m not the same person, I feel awkward, I avoid things and i’m nowhere near as confident as I was – I’m actually kind of shy, but none of that matters. 


I told Alex what I was feeling, and tried to explain what it feels like to explore this world in my sober state after so many years of abuse. He said “Mate, I can’t imagine what that’s like, but this has been great. It honestly doesn’t make a difference if you drink or not. You’re the same Ben, just without a beer in your hand.” 


My friends are here to stay, my friends wouldn’t give a shit if I sat there in silence, if I ranted at them, if I cried on their shoulder and that’s so comforting. I can’t thank all those friends who have listened to me drone on and on, rant and rave, you’re all beautiful people. 


I’m still coming to terms with the fact that I let an illness take over and while it gave me some things, it robbed me of others. 


I may be more shy, quiet, and introverted, but I know that I’m in control now and while I don’t feel like the same person sometimes, it’s things like this comment from Simon that help me see that I am.


“I love you brother ❤ I loved drinking with you, but you know what I love more?


Post-booze Ben is somebody I can talk to about anything. You’re more open than you’ve ever been… to ALL things; you’re receptive emotionally and your responses are honest, tuned and informed.

We don’t have to resort to superficial laddy banter anymore. And yet, you’re the same person. You still take the piss out of me when I need it, tell home truths when I need it, we have laughs, we talk shite and we get serious when we need to. You’ve got my back, unreservedly, and I have yours.

I’m so fucking proud of you dude!”


Hello, I’m Ben, age 28 and I’m an alcoholic. 


Don’t hear that often, right? It took me a while to come to terms with it too. After many years of problematic drinking, 2 seizures, 4 day hospital stay, 2 months in residential rehab and 24 hours of therapy, today I am proud to say I am a recovering alcoholic. 


My journey started far before I knew I had a problem and ended with the reality of hearing I was weeks away from death. 


Problem is as an alcoholic you don’t realise it’s taking over until it’s too late. Before you know it you rely on alcohol to function and you’ve convinced yourself that without it you’re nothing. 


It’s hard to explain the power of the illness and hard for those who haven’t experienced it to comprehend. But here’s a story that might help. 


I left London (not by choice) in September 2018. I had trashed my job, relationship and living arrangements. I went to stay with my parents.  


At this point no one knew the severity of my problem and I denied it all, but for context, at this point I was drinking heavily from morning ‘til night.  


Shortly after arriving in Nottingham, in my naive judgement I made the decision to stop drinking immediately – almost as casually as someone decides to call it a day, after a heavy drinking session. 


Less than a day later I was standing at a bus stop with my Mum in the city centre, when… boom, seizure struck. I came to, confused, but before I could comprehend what had happened another seizure hit. I was out. 


The seizures were caused by acute withdrawal, essentially my body gave up when it didn’t have it’s Life Juice – AKA alcohol. 


I was admitted into QMC Nottingham, where they hooked me up to many drips and gave me Librium (Chlordiazepoxide) – this is used to treat anxiety and acute alcohol withdrawal. It belongs to a class of drugs called Benzodiazepines which act on the brain and nerves (central nervous system) to produce a calming effect. It works by enhancing the effects of GABA, a natural chemical within the body. 


“Okay, that was shit, I need to stop” I thought, but the overwhelming voice in my head was that I was on my way to hospital where there was no booze and no way of getting some. 


I set out with the best intentions, saying “right, here we go Ben, drinking stops now, let’s do this.”


That didn’t last long… Visiting time was coming to an end and my parents weren’t the only ones leaving. They said goodbye and that they’d be back tomorrow, I waited until it was safe and my escape plan commenced. 


I waited until the nurse took the IV’s out my arms and asked to go for a cigarette. 


Armed with my phone, I pulled up the maps and ran for the nearest Spar shop – annoyingly this was the other side of a dual carriageway, so I ran across it. 


I bought a bottle of Vodka and Gin. 


I drank most of the Gin on the journey back and snuck the vodka back onto the ward with me – it smelt less of the two spirits, smart eh? 


I’d crafted what I thought was a genius plan – fill my water jug with vodka and sit back in a hospital bed sipping vodka at my leisure, unbeknown to the nurses. 


It worked, I sat there rationing and working out how many cups I could have per hour to last me until the next day. But, I decided there wasn’t enough, I needed more supplies. 


This time it was easy, I knew where the shop was – there was no stopping me. 


I knew they would monitor us more closely at night time, so I set out on my second escape, merely hours after the first. 


But the bastards had stuck more IVs in my arms… not so easy. I’d had a load of vodka by then (rations out the window), so I deemed myself fit to remove them and off I went back across the dual carriageway. But this time I didn’t return in 20 minutes. 


There was blood leaking from where I’d removed the needles, I was a mess. 


At this stage, the mixture of pure alcohol and meds were taking their toll – I was in and out of psychosis, crossing a busy road. 


I think I knew what I was doing was in some way wrong, more like insane, so I called my mum. I told her I was trying to get an Uber to Islington – impossible seeing as she left me a couple of hours before.


It was the worst call she’s ever had. She knew I had never visited Nottingham before. So not only did she not know what I was doing, but I didn’t either.


She tried to explain where I was and that I needed to go back, but I was convinced I was in London, so I just kept saying I’m going to get a cab, it’s okay. 


I finally got a car and asked them to take me to Islington – he must have looked at me like I was mental, which is fair. 


I was still on the phone at this point and my mum just said show the cab driver your screen, I’ve texted you the address. 


Confused, but not knowing what else to do in this state, I did. 


I have no idea how I got home or who picked me up, but I am eternally grateful to whoever did. 


I pulled up to the house and my Mum & Andy were standing in the road, I got out the car bleeding, wasted, smiling and talking absolute shite. 

I’d obviously been thinking about them, because I brought them a present of a lottery scratch card and a tube of wine gums each. Ironic. 


They piled me in the car and we were on the way back to hospital. 


Despite everything that had happened, I remember thinking “haha, jokes on them, I’ve still got the vodka in my bag and jug.” However, turns out the guy opposite me on the ward had ratted me out and it was all gone. Cunt. 


Two minutes later I had forgotten all about that, as I was walked into hospital once again. I remember smiling and thinking this was like a game, I escape, they bring me back – fucking dillusional. 


The game didn’t stop. At midnight the ward called my Mum again as I was trying to escape and being abusive. 


I was moved to a private room and she was asked to stay the night with me to protect the staff from further outbursts.


I was then monitored rather closely. I spent the next two days in severe psychosis as I partially detoxed. I told my parents about emails we had to send to clients, team meetings where we could choose what drugs we wanted for the next one and briefs that weren’t being actioned properly… as well as stripping off multiple times. 


The hospital informed us that it wasn’t their policy to do a full detox, so I was finally discharged two days later. 


Due to my idiotic actions I was no where near detoxed after my stay, so I was advised to seek professional help and to not stop on my own terms or I would seize again. 


All I heard from the Doctor’s rant was that I had a licence to continue drinking. 


And that’s what I did.


I’ve been clean for just over a year now and have toyed with the idea of writing a blog for a while. In recent weeks I have opened up more about my experience with stories like the above and people seem intrigued. 


Their curiosity takes over and questions flow one after the other. It seems people want to try and understand what addiction means, while hearing about my journey with all the gritty details. I guess theres a reason we all binge watch murder, prison and drugs documentaries on Netflix. 


Daily life throws all sorts at you when you’ve got a head that doesn’t stop fantasising, reminiscing and pulling you towards booze. 


For example, a guy just sat down next to me on the tube as I wrote this, swigging a pint can of Stella. 


Not only have I got up and given up my seat, but now my tube ride is full of thoughts imagining the taste, fizz and buzz, all while monitoring how fast he drinks it and if he has another. My mind can’t help itself and the book I was reading is going in one ear and out the other. 


I stand here after a hard day thinking “Why would he do that? Just open that here? What’s the point?” But truth be told, I did the same but with vodka in a Ribena bottle – I can’t judge. 


Jealousy enters the room – “That fucker, he can sit there slurping away and I can’t.” But even with all the jealousy or desire in the world – I wouldn’t take a sip if he paid me. 


He finishes the can and puts it away, I feel more relaxed, but not for long as he reaches for another, cracks it open, slurps and the head whirrs again.


Beyond the Bottle will be a free flow of thoughts and experiences from my addict’s brain, put together week-by-week.


I’ll share everything about living with the illness, struggling through the dark days, celebrating successes, working the recovery and how life is now. 


Problems you think are tiny may clog my dreams and colossal head-fuck’s to you could seem like a raindrop to me. It’s all about perspective. Welcome to mine.


Beyond the Bottle, my life as a ‘Millennial Addict’.


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