I have never written anything like this before, and I'm not entirely sure what to say, apart from what has happened to me in this past year so others can learn from it and be aware of the dangers. My name is Jack, I am 23 and I am an alcoholic. That is something I used to think I would be ashamed of saying, but when you have beaten such an evil addiction, you do feel proud.
I began drinking when I was 17 , not to often and not too much. But in time it became a problem. I am a musician (typical) and I thought I would try the live fast die young attitude and was shocked when it does what it says on the tin. After a heavy night, I would begin drinking again, hair of the dog they call it, but the thing is hair of the dog turns into a magical cure. It feels as though your hangover is leaving (as you are basically getting drunk again). I remember feeling as though "it can't kill me to do this THAT often" , but found myself saying that everyday as time went on. I was very lonely, and drink honestly felt like a friend that didn't judge me, so it became my best mate. I was excentric, excitable, wild and bad on the drink. Everything and anything was a good idea. I remember realising things were bad, when my anxiety became unbearable, because oddly enough that happened before the other symptoms. I went to see my friends band play in Hyde park, and got the train up by myself (leaving early and having to drink 4 litres of cider before leaving the house to calm my nerves) and more drink on the train. By the time I arrived I was feeling ill, not drunk, but I'll. The bottom of my back was aching a lot and was painful to touch, and I ended up drinking more there and having to leave due to feeling so ill, I didn't even get to see my friend play. A week or so later I was lying in bed, trying to get to sleep when I felt itching all over my body. It really worried me as I thought I had bed bugs, so I stripped the bed and headed downstairs to our spare room (I live with my parents), only to find I was still itching. By this point in my drinking I was up to about 6 litres of cider a day at least. I tried to sleep and as I woke up from a two hour nap it was dark in the room and all I could hear was what I could only describe as soviet military chanting, I looked at where the sound was coming from and it was my fan in my room.
By this point I know I you reading this must think I'm lying or loosing it, but really it was the beginning of what is called dt's (delirium tremens), which is because of acute alcohol withdrawal. I began to start seeing lights floating in and out of my room, hearing things that weren't there, and ended up being driven to hospital by my poor mum, because I could hear chanting outside my window and could see hundreds of hooded figures with torches approaching my house. On the way to the hospital I began beleiving I was turning into a super human (as my hands, feet, teeth and hair were all changing). By the time we got there I was in serious trouble, I was having full on conversations with people I believed were in a spaceship and coming down to take me and my mum, and I ended up having to be sectioned after a full on tantrum because I thought demons were trying to get into my hospital room.
This all sounds crazy, and it was crazy, but it was hallucinations, and one of the most bizarre Experiances I have ever gone through. I spent a week in hospital, and whilst there saw at least five full on ghost figures that to this days still baffle me, whether I was in a state of being so I'll that it was possible to see stuff like that I don't know, but it's something that anyone would question if you went through it. I had a the what I thought, ghost of a woman follow me all the way through the hospital up to my room , sit by my bed and hold my hand, I could feel cold on my hand as she touched it. All explainable through hallucinations but still something that I will always remember and be confused by. I got clean, left hospital and went back out into the world thinking I was absolutely better, but I'm an addict, I know that now , I didn't know that so much then. I soon was back to drinking, and soon enough my tolerance had doubled, I was now drinking up to ten litres and most of cider a day, and if I didn't drink that much I had severe alcohol withdrawal. In the end my incredible key worker at CRI Tonbridge fought to get me a place in maidstones Marvelous facility "bridge house" where my whole life changed. I began to see that you cannot imagine your life without drink until you stop drinking , and I realised how to live without it again. It took time.
When I first arrived I just sat in my room , alone , in tears all day. I had no one, it was the first time I was truly alone, as my mum had been helping me for months on end and now all I had were other patients and the carers. I sat there in tears as the carers asked me questions and still said to them "I need to do this" , because before I went to rehab I was being sick every single day due to not eaten and drinking so much, not sleeping, and not leaving the house, that went on for about a year, so as you can imagine, bridge house was heaven. I made some incredible friends during my stay, and I saw how it effects people in all walks of life. The day I left I didn't so much adapt to outside life but took it day by day. Decided to wake up in a positive spirit and look towards my future , clean life. I began writing and performing music again, and out of nowhere fell in love with beautiful woman, someone who in my wildest dreams I didnt think existed but who loved me for me, and found me excentric without the drink. Which was like a dream itself. I found a job, in a shop in my town centre, which I fitted into very quickly and now it's coming up to a year without drinking. A year this Tuesday to be exact. As I said I wanted to write this not just for people to hear to know about the dangers of how easy it is to slip into alcoholism but also so I could see in front of me, the crazy, sad and beautiful year I've had. And my incredible family and friends who helped me, I would've been gone a long while ago if it wasn't for all of you.
Thankyou for reading, and if you know anyone who is suffering from the same issues or if you yourself have struggled with it and would like to get in touch my email is [email protected]
Jack Leon Mackey