Today I am celebrating one of the greatest decisions that I made in my life.
TAKING A DAY AT A TIME NOT TO PICK UP A DRINK.
First, I am taking a moment to remember those who struggling with alcoholism and others that have died from this dreaded illness.
My name is Natalie Bleau, and I am a recovered alcoholic.
I have not really got a war story to tell but I did struggle for 5 years of my drinking. It did not get out of hand till 2014 when I found myself at my lowest.
I was a normal drinker in my twenties and thirties I knew my limits and I had never been drunk in my life.
I would only consume alcohol when I went out to nightclubs. When I was tipsy then it would be soft drinks for the rest of the night.
My poison was rum and blackcurrant.
My relationship with alcohol changed when I was working with the young offenders. It was not their fault; it was the fact that I took on their problems. I am an empath. I cared.
I started adding rum to my bottles of coke on my night shifts.
The problem being I was already taken medication for my bipolar disorder. I had a hell of emotional baggage from my earlier life, my mental health continued to decline.
April 2014, I was signed off sick by my GP. I decided to resign from my position as my hair was falling out due to stress.
A couple of weeks later I had a phone call from my uncle in Dominica my Father was seriously ill, he had a perforated bowel and was having an emergency operation.
I was permanently on my knees praying that God would bring him through as it was a risky operation and he already had sepsis.
My Father got through the operation but would need to go back to London to have treatment.
My Beloved Father was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic colorectal cancer. They had said it was incurable but manageable with aggressive treatment.
My drinking had already escalated to the point where I was watching the clock to see when it was 12pm so that I could justify not being a morning drinker.
I was my Father’s main carer, and I spent a lot of time with him, took him to his appointments and Mum took time off work to take Dad for his treatments.
I am so ashamed that I had no control over my drinking. I tried to abstain when I was with my Father, but I became irritated and restless, so he even sent me to the off licence.
Dad lasted two years and nine months he died on the evening of the 17 February 2017 in the UCLH in Euston.
My Father was my best friend, my confidant, he was my hero. He loved and always tended to my emotions. I idolised and worshipped him that’s why God must of took him.
After losing my Father I no longer cared what would happen to me. I continued to try and destroy myself. I smoked a lot of weed which made me more paranoid and delusional and I continued my two bottles of wine a day. If there was any other alcohol or drugs available, I would have taken it.
I did not want to believe I had a problem so I would throw my empty bottles down the communal chute so that there was no evidence of the quantity that I was drinking at home. I was only lying to myself because I could clearly see that I was physically ill.
I admit I was powerless and at every opportunity I had to be invited out I would consume copious amounts of alcohol.
I never felt the release I was expecting to get just that I could not remember what day it was as they all seemed to run into each other. When I started drinking earlier than midday then I knew I had a problem.
It was the spring of 2018 when I was told that I would die if I continued to drink. I did not care at all I wanted to be with my Father.
My psychiatrist had been warning me about the effects of alcoholism and that I needed help and should go to the rehab centre. I refused.
July 2018 I was in and out of hospital with gastritis and it also came to a point when I decided to end it all. The drinking was taking too long to kill me, so I overdosed on medication and alcohol again.
I accepted all the therapies that the ELFT were offering me. I engaged with the therapists, but I was still destructive in my emotional and mental mindset.
Fortunately, I am under the CMHT, and my psychiatrist had said that he was getting a lot of negative feedback from my therapists, and he then threatened to have me committed for life.
That did the trick for my suicide attempts but not my ideation.
I started working at the homeless shelter at my mother’s church and was happily encouraging people.
When I am helping people, I can put my problems aside in that moment.
When I am alone again all my thoughts attack me. I suffer from chronic depression, anxiety, OCD, psychosis, and paranoia.
One thing I was enthusiastic about is the voluntary work I had already been doing at my local Hospice since 2011 as a Complementary Therapist in massage.
The hope beyond the horizon was talking to a person in my mother’s church who told me that I was an alcoholic they encouraged me to go to a rehab centre.
I went to the nearest one to me but found it tedious and decided I would go it alone.
On October 5, 2018, was when I decided I was no longer going to drink. Two weeks later my friend took me to my first AA meeting and bought me the big book.
My GP had said that it was dangerous to give up drinking the way I did so he gave me some diazepam because I was having extremely painful side effects.
It is not genuinely nice having seizures, sweating so much that you must change the bed sheets every night. It was two weeks of hell, and the nauseous feeling took a little longer to disappear that went on for months. I was extremely ill.
Sobriety is something that you must be serious about and genuinely want. You must give 100% to your higher power.
It is not easy to give up an addiction as I am 2 1//2 years abstinence from any kind of smoking. I found that harder than the drinking as I was psychologically addicted. I was delusional in thinking smoking relieved my stress whereas it was slowly killing me.
I would have ever given up smoking if it were not for the guilt I was feeling when people in hospital struggled to breath.
Today I have followed the twelve steps myself without a sponsor and have not picked up or desired a drink at all. I have the support of my mother as she decided to become teetotal, she never had a drink problem.
I attend AA as often as I can it is like therapy to me, and I love encouraging others to keep their sobriety. I do not think that I could have coped that well without the rooms of alcoholics anonymous.
Many good people have died, in the fellowship, from this disease.
I just take a day at a time with my sobriety and an hour at a time with my mental health.
There is a difference between a heavy drinker and an alcoholic. Drinking alcohol is for those who do not let it have control over their lives.
In everything there must be a balance.
The Scripture of Balance