We continue on in lockdown, living out the routines we have created and aside what we have for dinner, not much changes. 


Turbulent weeks have become a norm, but this week instead of recapping on my week, I want to take you back to a specific day, to live in a moment. 


I have mentioned before that I keep a little yellow book where I scrawl things down, usually when my head runs wild or I feel I need to let something out. The below is from said book. 


I feel a little more unsettled pushing ‘Publish’ on this one, a bit nervous putting it out there. Probably because it exposes my immediate, unedited, brash, flipping thoughts, but I think it’s an important insight. 


Here are my jottings from Wednesday morning moments after I woke up, word for word and unedited.  





6am – 15 Apr 


Drink dreams are coming hard and fast. I can’t control them. I don’t know why they’re coming either. 


People say it’s because your mind isn’t occupied, or you’re not using your brain, but I am. It’s not like I’ve turned into a rock over the last 2 weeks. 


But whatever it is, I wish it would stop. I’m sitting here in the dark with anxiety & panic. 


Feels like I’m back in my addiction due to a fucking dream. A vivid one, but still. 


I can almost taste the booze from the last gulp just before I woke up. I can taste the shame when I drank it. Even in my dream I know it’s wrong, it feels like I’m naughty, but I still dream it and do it. 


My head feels heavy, like it’s bored of all this. I can recall everything, it’s so vivid, accurate and there’s no doubt when I woke up I questioned if it was real.


But it’s not. 

You’re safe.

Stop. Breathe 


Now write it out. 


I was back in Cambridge, going into my old house with the blue door. I open it, stagger into the kitchen and flip the kettle on. I slammed a bottle of Glen’s vodka down on the counter and took particular notice of the RRP – presumably thinking whether I could get another bottle. I take a swig and the kettle flips off, I go to pour the water in my Pot Noodle and miss completely. I sack that off and go for a piss.




I’m now at Cambridge railway station – the old one before it was done up. 


I stand in the ticket hall, but the barriers are open so I head for the toilet. I go in a cubicle and get out a Ribena bottle, take a swig, gag, and take another. I read “Lets get fucked!” on the door, and I actually see myself cackle – probably because I was fucked. Idiot. 




We’re back in the house, my mate has just left. I open a can out the fridge and call him. I make up excuses for him to come back and that I’d get him a cab to the station. 


After what I can only think was a big weekend with him, I did not want to be on my own  – the realisation of being alone with your addiction, no thanks. 


I know I’m doing something wrong and searching for someone to normalise it. 


And now he’s gone, I’m not normal, I’m an addict.


I fucking hated being alone. 


I felt it. I felt it in the dream. 


*Why can I not shake that? When I think about booze, a lot of it comes back to this – the guilt, shame, embarrassment – but from who, myself? Talk to therapist about this* 


Then I’m in the shower, drinking. Somehow a thought of visiting dad comes in – he’s always home. But I immediately realise how much harder it will be to drink there, where can I hide it?




I’m in a cab now, drunk, but trying  to act compos-mentis. I ask the cab driver to stop at a shop for something. I come out with 3 Ribena bottles and vodka. I’m trying to fill them up in the back seat. Cab driver keeps looking and I tell him it’s not going anywhere. I’m now swigging vodka in the back of a cab out of Ribena bottles. 


*Is this a flash back to the tube days? Ribena bottles every morning? Things are getting mixed up – London with Cambridge.*


Now I’m on a train, but I don’t have to get a train to Dad’s. Doesn’t matter. I’m still drinking the Ribena bottles, but I’m paranoid, there’s a family who is definitely on to me. 


The cart comes and I order GnT’s  – what fucking train am I on?! Certainly not Thameslink or Greater Abellio. 


I drink the Ribena and GnT together  – which probably brings more attention to it. 


*Fuck, I bet I tried to hide drinking so much that I often brought more attention – not so clever, hey.*


This is a bit nasty but … I sat on the train toilet and liquid just fell out my arse like battery acid. But that’s what happens when you haven’t eaten more than 2 bits of bread in two days, or a few Oreos. 


Christ, I don’t miss liquid lava shits. I heard the call for my stop, I opened the door to a woman staring at me, she looks me up and down. Not sure why. 


I’m back at Cambridge, but now the station has been done up – seems I’ve gone round and round. 

I called dad, waited 2 mins, calculated how long he’d be and ran to that shithole of a pub next to the station.


I’ve got my bike with me. I’m wheeling it round like a dog. I don’t lock it up, it’s always with me, even when my mate was here, I always had it. 


*I always got that panic when I had to travel anywhere. Like now when I smoke before any journey, no matter how small. I needed a drink right before any journey.*


I sit with a Guinness, neck it, barman comments (they always did – twats), get a GnT, phone rings, dad’s here, finish it, get in the car. 


Blank – that’s it, all I got, dream over


–  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  – 


Can’t shake the reality though – often have dreams, well every night, but they’re often in places I don’t know, people I don’t know. 


This was one of my best mates, my shared house, my dad, a station I knew, and the worst thing – I feel it now. 


“When your brain isn’t used…” blah blah blah – Fuck that, it’s happening for a reason. 


Need to shake this off, this will mess my day up.


The bike is significant – during the last of my drinking days, I’d always say I was going for a bike ride to mum and I’d ride round the corner, stop and get off – otherwise I’d probably be hit. I’d wheel it all the way to the shop, up the old railway path and then home. 


Why didn’t I just lock it up somewhere and then get it on the way home?


^ oops, trying to be a better alcoholic right there.


This one has rattled me. 


12pm – 18 Apr 


It’s now 12pm and it’s still sitting heavy and my mind is still spinning it. I haven’t had these feelings in a while, these are the feelings I had when I was 2 months sober, not 14 months. But it just shows you what a situation like lockdown can bring.


Call more people today and reach out to stay active. This is all stuff to talk through Friday with my therapist


This dream has really gotten to me. 


I know they’re not real and they’re all in my head but it both fascinates and scares me how strong that addict brain is. That’s how much this addiction is steering my  life; it’s taking over my dreams. 


There’s no doubt someone could easily be triggered to reach for the bottle by this in the morning – hell I was, the first thing I thought was of happiness, back to my drinking days, feeling content – I just didn’t act on it. But someone in a different place might have. 


Doesn’t matter though, I didn’t act and I AM SOBER. 


I’m grateful for everything. My life, support, people, love, care, health, SOBRIETY.


505 days ago I was fucked, probably blacked out face down on a plate of food at my parents house. 


505 days ago my mum thought I wasn’t going to wake up  most mornings and hovered outside my room until I made a sound. 


505 days ago I would not be writing and reflecting. 


505 days ago I had a brain that didn’t think I was an addict.


But today I know I’m an addict.


A proud recovering addict. 


I’ve worked fucking hard for this and no shitty dream is taking that away. 


Or lockdown for that matter. 


And it shouldn’t for any of us in recovery.



Addiction is no easy road and recovery is even harder, but it’s the road I’d rather be on. Anything to not live out that dream, again. 


I’m strong enough to have dreams like this and while they scare me, in time I can rationalise and reflect on them. 


While a dream ruined that day, there’s plenty of days ahead and they will be sober ones, just like today. 


Your addict brain will come and go trying to tease you back, but you’ve got to recognise that and just gently, but firmly, put it back in its cage. 


Stay safe and keep talking. 

Love, Ben x


This week I hit 500 days sober.

That’s 1 year 4 months and 14 days. 

Around £17,500 saved and 25,106 units not drunk. 


But more importantly getting sober has saved my life. 


I always look at milestones as a point of reflection. The reality is 500 days ago I was walking into a rehab facility, slurring, malnourished, depressed, totally lost and a skeleton of the young motivated man I once was.


I often question whether I’m honest about my recovery. I mean, yes I’m sober, I’m managing it and I will remain sober. 


But when people ask “how’s it going, do you find it hard?” I feel a wave of self consciousness come over me and I often wonder “should I tell the truth, how it really is?” I normally just say something like “Yeah, it’s alright, you know ups and downs. But everyday sober is a good one!”. 


But the reality is, 500 days later, it’s still hard, isolated or not. 


When I look at this logically; I’ve been sober 500 days, which is 10% of my drinking life (3650 days), or 22% (2190 days) of my active addiction. So, yes it’s still hard, a battle, a struggle, a mental fight. But one that I will continue to work hard to win. 


After leaving rehab with my discharge plan in hand, I had no idea what the world would throw at me. You have to adapt, reflect and rewrite what works for you and the Covid-19 situation is a prime example of that.


As a 28-year-old addict, I’ve had to relive and relearn how to do many things. It may sound stupid, but things like; dating, getting the tube, flirting, making friends, sex, confidence, working, ordering a drink and learning to like tea. But, as those that know me will tell you, I used to hate being on my own. Like, hated it. 


As an addict, a lot of the drinking you do is on your own. There’s not many mates who will crack open a cider with you and watch Good Morning Britain. 


But, despite relieving so many extreme negative feelings – either from the day before, or general emotional pain – it never felt normal. I knew that it wasn’t normal. 


The times when you were in a rush, it didn’t matter, you didn’t have time to think. You threw it down your neck and got out the door. But, when you had time, no official drinking plans until after 12pm, it was a lonely place. Because it’s not like you could just plop yourself on the couch beside your housemates with a couple of crumpets and a side of Gin & Orange. 


So you drink in secret, behind closed doors, often trying to do something by yourself to normalise it. But deep down it doesn’t normalise anything, because you know at the end of the day, it’s you with a bottle. Which I hated. 


This means you take every opportunity to try and normalise drinking, because as long as someone else is drinking, then it’s okay, right? 


Weekend routines included planning a very carefully curated playlist of social hangouts, going from one to the next to the next, ending with one I thought was probably going to be a late one. Genius. 


Socialising my addiction as much as I could gave me the illusion that what I was doing was normal. I was just having a big old pre-drink before the 12pm party.


So when there were no plans, I hated it, I hated myself. 


I’ve had to overcome this in the last few weeks. Isolation has forced me to sit with myself for long periods and, I’m not going to lie, parts of it have been shit. 


But, I’m still here, I’m still sober and I’m still writing this. 


I’ve used the 500 day milestone as a point to reflect on the past, but also look at how I’ve been handling the Corona situation and more importantly be, for extended periods of time, with myself. 


As I write this, I’m almost cringing at some of the things I’m about to write, but it’s this slightly embarrassing, weird, bat-shit stuff that’s keeping me sober, so keep your opinions to yourself! 





I find the start of the week the hardest. Despite it being much like any other day at the moment when, compared with the weekend, a sense of uneasiness comes. 

Perhaps because before all this, Monday was the day we were most productive. I went to work early, got my shit together and started the week, but now, it’s just another day to fill. 


“Drink dreams” are becoming the norm, they’re stronger when I’m anxious so a Sunday night always brings a good old mix of memories or visualisation. 


Part of me thinks this is because my mind isn’t used, therefore not tired at bedtime, so it has a chance to run, dig up things I’ve tried to forget. Part of me thinks it’s because alcohol is on my mind far more than it has been in recent months. 


Either way, I deal with them. It seems odd to say, while I currently have all this time, but it’s paramount to take time for myself. I don’t mean have a shave or clear out my wardrobe, I mean really take time, focused and uninterrupted. 


We’re all guilty of rolling over in the morning, opening Instagram, news apps, Facebook, Snapchat, Reddit and scrolling through the array of content. 



I worked out very quickly this can be triggering. Seeing people do the “Drink 5, Donate 5” on Instagram or the many Pub Quizzes with booze in hand that have taken place, honestly just makes me want to take part.


Seeing this on top of my drunk dreams first thing in the morning would be too much to start any day.


I’ve started everyday in lockdown spending 15 mins outside. Usually reflecting on the dreams I had, naming them, pondering on why that memory appeared and putting it to bed. It helps centre me for the day and not compound the ever-growing triggers that surround me during the day. 


When anything gets too much, I try to take five. Slow down. Breathe. Relax my head. Think about why my mind is running. 


Before lockdown, I was  certainly guilty of never taking time for myself. My recovery is very much built on running from one thing to the next which allowed me to build a new life, so this is alien to me and it might be to you too, but give it a go. 


I find myself on my living room rug, staring up at the ceiling quite a lot throughout the day.The old me would have said you’re mental but, you know what, it’s damn nice.




Video calls have become our saviour in lockdown. They’ve settled me down many times during this escapade, they allow me to keep up with therapy and connect with people in need. But while a pixelated face is nice, it dawns on me that I miss human interaction a lot. 


AA meetings aren’t the same online, half of a meeting for me is feeling people’s emotions and feeling their pain or happiness. I’ve walked into meetings with the sole intention not to share, then someone’s story, strength, sadness or fears hit you and I suddenly find myself blabbing on for five minutes uncontrollably. 


Tuesday we sat in the house and we both needed to interact with something else besides each other.  


Side note. I realise I am so very lucky to have a wonderful partner who is here every evening (she works long shifts for the NHS). Without her this would be infinitely more difficult and I am truly thankful for everything she does to support me. 


It feels like as we sit in the flat looking around for some inspiration, we both miss freedom. The thriving community I’m part of has faded, it feels like it’s us against the world and I start to resent the situation we’re in. 


So, what to do from a first floor flat, other than try and attract the local wildlife for a Snow White type scene in our living room? A pack of god awful Rhubarb & Custard biscuits came to our aid, we smashed them up on the windowsill and stood expecting a flock of birds to swoop in like it was their first meal in a week. 


We might have been waiting for a good hour, but eventually a little robin landed on a branch opposite and eyed up the pink biscuits. It swooped in, grabbed a bit, then retreated. We both watched in amazement, with huge smiles on our faces, like we’d seen some sort of mythical being. 


Some of you may think I’m mad, but this little robin made all the difference. 


For that hour I didn’t think about drink, I didn’t battle and I felt happiness. We should all cherish that feeling at times like this. I’m now wondering what treat might attract a squirrel, any tips?




I’ve been actively trying to stop my head racing when it’s triggered, but isolation is making triggers more prominent than ever. 


For example; a Mercure Hotels ad took me back to drinking vodka in a hotel every morning on a work trip, a guy drinking a Kronenbourg on the street makes me wish I had a can in the hot sun, a picture on Instagram of Brancott Estate wine flashes my mind back to stashing endless bottles under my pillows. 


They’re endless and I can’t control them. But what I can do is control how I interact with them.


I’ve started picking a repetitive, remedial, simple task everyday. A task that can be approached when “I just need a minute”. It provides a focus point, a time to blank your mind, a time away from triggers, another morsel of time to myself. 


Wednesday’s task was turning a god awful green box into a lovely oak-stained masterpiece. Throughout the day I applied six coats of stain – that’s six times I needed 10 mins away, six times I could have got into a right struggle. 


After reflecting on this I think there is more to it than what it seems. I think it’s a replacement for the times I’d grab a drink. I often reached for the bottle when something triggered me, I was bored or frustrated. My little painting exercise is replacing the booze.




While trying to look after myself in all this, there has been a constant guilt that sits with me. I think about all the other recovering addicts who might not have the support, technology, confidence and strength to do the things I have engaged with. 


There are undoubtedly addicts who are struggling, crawling the walls, white-knuckling their way through lockdown. Most likely alone, vulnerable and at risk. 


We are all aware of the power the media holds and now, more than ever, the stories it puts out have a greater impact on us. So this week I set out to use media for the greater good. 


I wanted to reach out to all those suffering in silence, let them know they are not alone and they will get through this. While also raising awareness of alcoholism outside the recovery community, to encourage people to reach out to those in need. It will change lives. 


I sent out my story to many news desks, podcasts and newspapers, through connections I have made at work, and I was interviewed for a slot on Sky News. 


I was shit scared, but I told myself by reaching out, swallowing my nerves and getting on with it, I might just help someone in crisis. 


It’s my mission with this blog to raise awareness of alcoholism and the struggle it brings, while giving strength and hope to other recovering addicts, and on this particular day I felt like I’d taken one further step in my mission. 



The morning fizzled into nothing, I can’t remember what happened but I knew I didn’t want to do much today. I had no motivation or inspiration, just one of those days. 


We decided to play The Sims. For those who don’t know, The Sims is a simulation game – you build a character, house, go to work, get a pet, get married, eat, sleep, pee – everything you’d do in real life. 


I’ve never been a gamer, my Xbox has been on about 20 times in its seven year life, but I played for nine hours solid. 


Nine hours of creating a pretend life. I got a job as a gardener, I got a dog, I started a relationship, got engaged and built myself a deck in the garden. 


I got absolutely lost in a world on my screen. There was no Coronavirus there, no isolation, no queues at supermarkets. I loved it. 


Me being me, of course I overthought why I was so engrossed. My addictive personality counts for why I couldn’t stop playing. “I like it, I want it, I do it.”


But why did I engage with something that I’ve never engaged with before? 


I think I just wanted to live an alternate life for a bit. Where my only worry was if my dog had shit on the deck or my cooker was on fire. It felt great. I’m not going to think any more about it and just embrace the fun, but if you can’t reach me, you’ll know why. 


Isolation is a challenge for us all, for many different reasons. But more crucially it’s something that can really help every one of us evaluate what’s important, and taking the time to do this is priceless. 


I’ve had to take my recovery back to Step One and I’m now rebuilding it for a lockdown life. I’m facing my biggest fear and relapse triggers head on.


Panic has been replaced with thought, logic and reflection. Anxiety still thrives but for reasons I now understand. 


One day at a time, stay safe. 

Love, Ben x 


As Corona lockdown continues, time is still the enemy. 


Last week it felt like I was a contestant on Supermarket Sweep. Dashing through life’s store, grabbing at anything I could to fill the time. I found myself; 

    • Flipping between the 18 tabs open on my laptop, looking into everything from cat adoption to online courses. 
    • Mapping my day, so as soon as I pushed send on an email, I was on the phone to family and friends.  
    • Panic-ordering inhalers in case I got the virus, because I’m a smoker.
    • Scrolling through Amazon contemplating buying shit I just don’t need.  

And while a Brita filter may have brought me a little joy for a minute, I had to keep stopping and just saying to myself “what are you doing, slow down?”, before another set of tabs were opened. 


But I couldn’t help it. My mind was running at 1000 miles an hour, and it wasn’t slowing down. 


This week I was reacquainted with deep anxiety, once again. I felt heavy, a sense of worry, sense of the unknown, sense of fear. Not in relation to the virus or catching it, a general uneasiness just coursed through my veins. 


I’ve had trouble sleeping. It’s like when my mind isn’t actively being used, then it flashes back to shit memories. 


Last night’s episode featured a trip to Portugal a couple of months before I went into rehab. My parents were taking me away because they thought ‘a reset trip’ was what I needed, away from London, some down time. Unfortunately, the extent of my problem wasn’t public knowledge at the time…


The secret drinking started at the airport, when I bought 6 miniature bottles of vodka. Less than a minute after purchase I’d drank 3 in the toilet, then lined the inside of my belt with the other three – I was not getting on a plane remotely sober.


I opted to sit next to Granny on the plane, we laughed, joked and talked about how much we were going to enjoy the trip. “Yeah, all good, but where the fuck is this mini bar?” I thought. 


It finally came, I had a couple of gin and tonics and polished off the remaining vodka in the toilet. I was in holiday mode, nothing wrong with enjoying yourself, right? 


Except, needless to say, the smile faded rather quickly. We landed and I felt awful. We stopped for a Maccy’s and in true form, I ordered a mountain of food, passed out in the car and don’t remember anything after that. Great memories for Granny. 


I spent the entire trip going for bike rides, walks, chatting to my friends, jogs.  From the outside, it must have seemed like I was turning a corner, but it couldn’t have been farther from the truth.  


Everytime I left (if it was after 12pm) I was diving into the Golf Club bar, 2 double GnT’s, then a pit stop at the local shop, two bottles of Rose down the shorts, and back to the house… then repeated in the afternoon. Cracking holiday! 


I think it was at this point that everyone perhaps wondered why I’d be slurring at 4pm, or letting the chicken I was preparing for dinner skitter to the floor when I’d only had “two beers”. 


Truth be told, writing this hits me hard. My family took me away to try and help, but I betrayed their trust, lied the whole holiday, drank secretly, all while looking them in the eye.


It’s embarrassing.  


This will shock people, but despite the shame, if I’m honest, it’s memories like this that my addict brain wants to relive. There’s a very much alive euphoric recall to certain times and memories. 


If you look at it from your perspective, it was a fucked situation. If you look at it through my addict eyes, it was a messy but fun time. That’s the demon in me.


I’ve been trying to relate the lockdown to a time when I remember having similar feelings. When I felt trapped, unproductive, tired, anxious. Mainly in a bid to normalise the current situation, to prove to myself I’ve felt this before. 


And a recurring memory keeps coming to mind  – Week 1 of Rehab. 


We pulled up in the car at the gates and I burst into tears. The overwhelming fear of change and the unknown flooded my brain. 


I sat in the car silently, looking down at the 4 cans of beer and two bottles of wine I had brought for the journey. 


My parents got out of the car, but I didn’t move, finishing the last dregs of beer in my seat. 


Anxiety and panic set in, I was seconds away from turning back, but in the back of my mind, I knew that wasn’t an option. I had to save my life. 


I eventually got through the door and was admitted. I joked and laughed as I filled in the admission form, pushing back the reality of the situation. I was shown to my room, my parents stood in the doorway, I knew a goodbye was coming. This was it, home for two months. 


My parents left, I was introduced to the house and I sat in the living room. Residents were talking to me, but my mind was everywhere except in the present. My addict brain kicked in. 


I went to find the nearest support worker and begged for medication. In my admission I told staff I was terrified of seizing again. I now question how much this was true, or if I was convinced my body needed something other than what was natural to keep it going. 


I was told they couldn’t medicate me. My blood alcohol was through the roof, after drinking for two days solid in the lead up to admission. 


My mind ran, I couldn’t handle this. It was at this moment I thought about running. They couldn’t stop me. I was pacing. Just as I was going into my room convinced I was going to get my bag, someone grabbed my arm and handed me a banana and honey smoothie. 


I stopped, took the glass from one of the friendliest faces I had seen in a while and felt a moment of calm. She told me to drink it, as it was important to reduce my blood alcohol reading to a safe level so they could medicate. 


At this point due to my intoxication I still hadn’t fully comprehended what was happening, but it didn’t matter, the point was I stayed and I was going to do this. 


I unpacked, smoked more cigarettes than I ever had in a 24 hour period, chatted to residents, and watched TV. “This is alright” I thought. “These meds are a safe detox, I’ll just transition into normal, into what I used to be like”. 


I was so wrong. 


Day two. No alcohol in my system, welcome to hell. 


I woke in a pool of sweat, which smelt like a pub after New Years Eve. I tried to get up, I couldn’t. I wobbled to the bathroom and hovered over the toilet ready to heave up whatever was in there. Nope. 


I started shaking. Not my usual middle of the night shakes, I mean uncontrollable, scary, violently abnormal shaking. 


The only thing I remembered that morning was medication time. 8.30am. I got back into bed, shivering, shaking. The thought of leaving was beyond gone, I wouldn’t make it to the fucking door at this point. I felt like I couldn’t control my own body. 


I made it to the meds room, I reached out for the glass and threw it everywhere. I couldn’t hold a glass, I couldn’t put the pills in my mouth, I had been stripped of everything. 


I tried again, but resorted to the nurse tipping my head back and pouring water in my mouth to get them down. I wandered back to my room, caught my reflection in the mirror and died a little inside. I was a shell of a man. 


I don’t remember much, but I know I lay disabled in my bed; sweating, shaking, wrenching, wincing from the pain. I recall images of the same news report appearing on the BBC news hour after hour, because I couldn’t change the channel. The strength needed to push the button just wasn’t there – I know that’s hard to believe, but it’s true. 


For the next two days, this was the routine. 


After I had overcome the withdrawals, the angst set in.


We had a routine, a timetable which was set out daily on the noticeboard, and at this point in our lives, this is what we lived for. This timetable was our life, our mantra, our everything. 


When my mind finally started to work again, I felt a wealth of emotions. Reality dawned on me in this first week. The awful reality of: nothing being the same, how much I’d fucked up, who I’d lost, what I’d lost and, more importantly, what I was going to do after this was over. 


I spent every night of the first week in tears, coming to terms with the reality of the situation. 


I spent group therapy listening to everyone in the room and relating in one way or another to everyone’s situations which all ended with the same thought “Fuck, I really am an alcoholic”. 


I spent hours outside smoking thinking about the future and how I didn’t have a bloody clue what it held. 


I spent every minute of AA meetings listening to how sobriety had changed people’s lives, while thinking “You lying shitbag”, out of jealousy. 


My mind was a mess, all over the shop. I struggled to grasp what was right and wrong. But I knew I was in the right place and I knew I had to be there. 


But it wasn’t going to be easy. 


I’m currently 14 months out of rehab and while I don’t have the same thoughts coursing through my head now, they are thoughts of a similar nature.


As Lockdown  goes on, it’s less about solving the immediate things in front of me like boredom. It’s now dawning on me that the bigger threat is what’s to come, the continuation of swirling thoughts, getting louder and louder, day by day. 


I am trying to manage where my head goes, but when my mind has space to wander, it casts back to thoughts of drinking, rehab, addiction and pain. And with this naturally comes euphoric memories of drinking, the good times, the laughs, the joy. 


My addiction’s voice is trying to wiggle it’s way in and say “You know how you can solve all this, stop these thoughts and be happy?”, and it’s not wrong. A drink would stop them all, stop my anxiety, stop my fear and I wouldn’t have to be in constant battle mode.


But I have to stay strong, because I know my addict brain is desperately trying to flood my sober brain with the ‘good times’ making them more vivid and more desirable. 


Recognising this is the first step. 


“It’s not me, it’s my addict.

“It’s not me, it’s my addict.”


It would rid me of everything I have worked for. It would deprive me, yet again, of a life I have built. It would likely kill me. I would not be able to stop. I would end up in a world of pain. I would lose it all.  


I just can’t do that to myself, again. 


I have coping strategies in place, but they weren’t designed for these times, so they’re taking some adaptation. I have taken it right back to the beginning, back to step one – “Admitted I am powerless over alcohol and that my life had become unmanageable.” 


Remembering that, along with the outlets I have to share my thoughts – this blog, my therapist, family, friends – keeps me on the right track. 


It’s not going to be an easy time, and it’s hard not to project, but much like staying sober, you’ve just got to take it one day at a time.


Remember, stay strong, reach out, you’re never alone. 

Love, Ben xx


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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