Saturday, 29 September 2012

Painful memories

I'm going to share something very personal with you now, something I don't really like thinking about much, but sometimes when these feelings overcome you, you need to get them out.

I'm doing a guest blog for as part of her event, 31 books of Halloween (stop by, it should be a fun month).

As my blog topic, I chose Dean Koontz, my all time favourite horror writer. In my mind, no author has ever equalled his brilliance. Anyway, I rounged some pictures up of his books for the blog and looking through them, I came across one called The Taking. My blood ran cold as I remembered this was the book I was reading on my last night of drinking, the night before my 28th birthday.

That day I had been drinking since 11am or noon, something like that, and by 7pm at night, I could no longer read the text. I burst into tears. The book is an apocalyptic tale of survival (forgive me if my memories are sketchy) and maybe that bleak scenario added to my woes and pushed me over the edge, I don't know.

By that time I had alienated most of my family, had no real friends, I had given up writing, I didn't watch much TV, so books were all I had left.

I couldn't believe that my one final solace in this cruel world was being taken from me, by my only friend, drink.

By that time I was resigned to a life as a functioning alcoholic. Drink wouldn't abandon me, cheat on me, leave me. After I'd had a drink was the only time I felt normal, the rest of the time, my few sober hours a day, I couldn't even look my reflection in the eye.

Of course drink wasn't really my friend, but I was so dependant that I couldn't imagine a world where I had to face each day as just me. I was nothing. I wasn't even much with a drink, but at least I felt okay. But after all my losses, I couldn't lose reading too.

I put the book down and finally called AA.

I have a feeling that I went back to the book after that, reading with one eye closed so I could focus better. I can't remember if I ever finished it or not. Probably not. I got blind drunk after having called AA and all I remember is that woke up about 3.30am, half in bed, half out, had another drink and finally passed out for the night (in bed that time).

The next day I went to my first AA meeting and I haven't taken a drink since then.

I have re-read many of Dean Koontz's books over the years but while I would like to know what happened in the Taking, I have never revisited that book. I can't, I'm too scared of remembering how utterly hopeless I felt that night.

I don't know if Dean can be credited with getting me sober, but his books certainly solidified my love of reading. A love so deep that I couldn't bear to lose it.

You certainly could say that reading saved my life, because it's loss was so devastating that it finally pushed me to get some help.

If like me, you have an addiction problem, please don't be afraid to ask for help. Believe me, I know the thought is terrifying, and that association is the reason that I can't read the Taking again, because it hurts to remember what a pitiful, frightened and shameful woman I was that night. And what's worst, is that I know I did that to myself. No one else did that to me.

But I am nothing special, so if I can do it, you can do it too. I know that without your drug of choice, the world seems frightening and alienating, but it isn't. I'm not saying the sober life is easy, no one's life is easy, but the self respect you will get back is a far better feeling than any drink or drug can give you.


  1. I've read this a couple of times now and don't know what to say. I guess, that I'm impressed by your openness and honesty. This feels like it really hurt to write.

    1. Thank you, and yes, it did hurt. Then I sat on it for about 2 weeks before re-reading it and deciding to finally post it.

      I'm not ashamed of these memories, they are a part of me and this was the turning point in my life, but that person is so far removed from who I am now and she was in so much pain, that it does hurt to revisit her.

  2. Thank your for sharing this. It is beautifully written. If this benefits only one person , that is still one less person fightin an addiction alone.

    1. Thank you. I really hope someone who needs help sees this too.