My journey to sobriety has been a long one.
I suppose I don’t really know when these difficult feelings started. I know I am probably more sensitive than most and I know I struggled with
My relationship with food was the first negative coping strategy I embarked on.
Eating disorders slip into life quite easily at first. The feeling of control really appealed to the side of me that felt life was out of my hands. I enjoyed planning what I would or wouldn’t eat, I weighed myself constantly. I would devour huge amounts of food and throw it back up. It wasn’t long before my life was controlled by what I was consuming.
I was 12 the first time I made myself sick.
Sadly I struggled with a severe eating disorder for over a decade before I eventually was treated as an outpatient at the Maudsley in South London. To say that having an eating disorder dominated every single aspect of my life in an understatement. I have strict rules for food and it meant that every meal was a challenge to get through. I was so exhausted from restricting what I ate and subsequent binging and purging that I didn’t have any energy to focus on friends, work or family.
It was during the most severe part of my eating disorder journey that I began to drink heavily.
I would get through a box of wine in two evenings and could easily put away a bottle of vodka every few nights. This wrecked havoc with my eating as I was constantly trying to compensate for what I had been drinking. My life revolved around not eating and getting drunk. I would often take drugs and at no point was my health a priority. I felt stuck in my unhappy life. Stuck in a marriage I had gotten into at 19. Stuck feeling worthless.
I knew I had to start making changes.
I sought a referral to an eating disorders unit. It was a long-winded process that took almost a year to get help but eventually, I was referred to the Maudsley for outpatient therapy. It was during and after this time that I began to get my eating under control. I also began exercising which led to me gaining confidence and meeting new friends. It was one of these new friends that led to the next big change in my life.
Leaving my husband at aged 23 was the catalyst for my life changing.
I moved in with a new friend and I didn’t look back. I began taking more control over what I ate, I had less and less rules and generally was happier. However, the drinking remained. The drugs remained. The anxiety and lack of self esteem remained. My journey had only really just begun.