Am I An Alcoholic?

I’d struggled with this question off and on for many years. I was always a heavy drinker but looking back I was never a “normal drinker”. I could never understand when it came to the end of an evening others would be able to leave a half full glass on the table. Why didn’t they just gulp it down and how did they have the willpower not to do so? I’d always make sure that my glass was empty.


My own drinking started spiraling over a period of years. I’d drink every night starting from when I got home from work. I was an expat living overseas and I’d tell myself that having a glass of wine was a perfectly normal way to unwind in the evening. It was never a glass though – always a bottle. I remember having the thought at some point that the bottle just wasn’t enough anymore but I had a mental block with opening a second bottle.


Drinking A Bottle Of Wine At Home Became A Habit

My solution to this was to stop buying bottles and switch to buying wine in boxes. I noticed that around the same time I was starting to crave my wine on the way home from work – I couldn’t stop thinking about it and on a couple of occasions I’d felt “rebellious” before work and had a glass of wine in the morning – I knew that was not normal behavior but convinced myself it was a naughty treat – not that I was an alcoholic. Unfortunately, it was a naughty treat that became a daily habit and after several months I felt terrible, always tired and never getting the same “hit” that I had got before.


I know I had to stop and told myself I just needed to sort out the morning drinking – drinking in the evening was okay. I knew I had a problem though when I just couldn’t leave the house without my morning drink. I tried drinking the house dry in the evening so there wouldn’t be any available for me the next morning but that didn’t work. I found myself in the bottle store on the way to the office. With half a bottle of wine in my bag I went out to lunch and drank the remainder of it.


I Couldn’t Regain Control Of My Drinking No Matter What I Tried

That basically became my new daily routine and I kept telling myself for 2 years that I was having a good time. Even when vodka replaced the wine and I was spending more than I was earning on booze, I still struggled with the idea of being an alcoholic. I changed jobs during this period, largely because I was sure that people at the office were starting to suspect what I was doing. The situation continued to get worse until I felt as though I had to drink in the morning just to curb the shaking enough to be able to pick up a coffee cup and appear “normal” at work.


The problem continued to escalate and I felt imprisoned by my drinking. It was literally controlling my every thought, every minute of a day. Not only that it was time consuming too. Trips to the bottle shop and then transferring the vodka into drinking water bottles so I could dispose of the vodka bottle in a dumpster – anything to prevent my cleaner , or anyone else, from discovering how much I was consuming. I searched on the internet and started to realise I was an alcoholic but couldn’t really take it in.


Drinking No Longer Gave Me A Buzz And I Was Out Of Control

Eventually my boss pulled me to one side and sat me down and told me that I had to sort out my drinking. I wasn’t remotely surprised at all. I knew it had got to the point where I regularly stumbled, looked like death and I repeatedly asking colleagues the same questions several times over as I couldn’t remember what they’d told me – or that I’d even asked them the question already.


I couldn’t deny my situation but I didn’t disclose the extent of it. I just said that I knew it was an issue, I was having a bad time outside of work and I promised him that I would get a grip and it would be fine. I went home that day, drunk and feeling desolate. My job was all I had left and I didn’t want to lose it. I knew I couldn’t stop and was terrified that I’d got to the point that to do so would be dangerous and I’d have seizures. I bought a bottle and marked it off into 3 sections. If I could drink only 1/3 of a bottle a day I could cut down. I drank ¾ that first night instead and called in sick the next morning. It just kept getting worse.


I remember thinking one night that I was living in an alcoholic cell. I knew I couldn’t keep drinking but I couldn’t stop drinking and I couldn’t seem to die either. That was one of my blackest moments.


I Was Drunk At Work And Afraid I Would Lose My Job

After 2 more “chats” with my boss, the final discussion became inevitable and he told me I had to leave and go to Bali, dry out, go to Alcoholics Anonymous and get help. He told me to have a flight booked for the following week and I booked it. He didn’t fire me and when I asked him why not, he told me that he was an alcoholic who was 24 years sober, that he had had to get help himself and that it’s not possible to do it alone. I didn’t believe him that I could ever get through this – God knows I’d been trying for years.


As the date of my flight drew closer I was terrified, I had a constant feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. I couldn’t understand how a high performing expat like me had got to the point of being packed off from work to get help .I flew to Bali full of fear, dread and shame. I had no hope that I would ever be able to break the cycles that had closed in around me. I was shaking, sweating and drunk. I was an alcoholic.


Rehab In Bali Has Changed My Life. I Feel Free From The Alcoholic Cycle I Was In For So Long

It’s hard now to imagine what I must have looked like and in some ways I am glad. What I know now is that my boss essentially saved my life and that flight to Bali was the start of the most positive period in my life. It was 8 months ago and I haven’t had a drink since. If I had known years ago what I know now I would have tried to get help sooner and I wish that I had, but part of recovery is about looking to the future, one day at a time and not beating ourselves up about the past.

My life has changed – it hasn’t gone back to how it was before I started spiralling out of control, it’s completely different and so much better. I have friends and family who love, trust and respect me, I have my job which I love and several other opportunities have presented themselves to me but the biggest difference is in me. I finally, finally feel okay with myself, I don’t have anxiety or fear about not being good enough. I’ve learned about balancing my life for happier living and I couldn’t be more grateful to the people who have helped me and for their understanding, care and support.



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CREA 2023 Awards

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