Ten years ago, I ended a long-term relationship: one that began when I was 14 and lasted 24 years. It didn’t end well – it had become abusive and controlling and I was sick of it, but for a long time had been too scared of being without it to walk away. Until one morning – January 16, 2006 – I woke up in the horrors for the very last time, and thought, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’
I’m talking about drinking, obviously. While my human relationships have sometimes veered into dysfunctionality, they were never abusive and controlling. That special relationship was only ever between me and booze. Something had to go – either the bottles in my fridge or the remaining sanity in my head. Self-preservation, fuelled by desperation, kicked in, and, with the help of 12-step recovery, I finally stopped drinking. Properly.
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