Monday, 22 November 2010


In spite of my desire to stop drinking and the increasing amount of alcohol going into my system, I was on a downhill spiral. I had no control whatsoever and will-power was non-existent. Day after day, I spent more and more time up in my attic room with my little cat, Sasha; drinking, watching TV, listening to sad sentimental ballads (usually by Barbra Steisand) and surfing the net. I was in a complete fantasy world of my own and I likened myself to a tortured damsel locked in a tower with no escape. I was the frustrated closet heroine in a blockbusting novel who had been deprived of her true destiny! My ego was out of control!

Meanwhile, my poor mother was getting more and more stressed out by my condition, and I was making her life pure hell. She was 82 years old and had hoped that by David and me moving in, it would be a fun, carefree time for her to enjoy her remaining years. Not the case!  I had promised her that we would take leisurely trips to the country in my car for picnics and "Magical Mystery Tours"; heading out without knowing where we would end up. I was always too drunk to go anywhere.

Over the next few months, I attempted unsuccessfully, various recovery programmes, counselling, psychiatrists, group therapies, detoxes and other weird unconventionbal methods to give up the drink. Nothing seemed to be working.  My health was deteriorating rapidly, as was my mother's. Her only comfort was David, who was her confident, and together they clung to each other while they watched me killing myself.

The emergency visits to A & E were becoming more frequent and I was beginning to lose my mind. Sudden outbursts of anger and hysteria followed by endless bouts of silence and isolation became a daily occurance. On one occasion, when I was in a full blown argument with my poor mother, I went out into the garden screaming at the top of my voice that I wish she had died instead of my father. She was mortified and feared every neighbour would hear it, which of course they did. This outburst very nearly killed her then and there but I was totally oblivious to her feelings at the time. It is something that haunts me to this day.

My eldest brother, Wyatt, came over from New York for a visit and was shocked to see the state I was in. He and I had similar problems with excessive drinking and smoking, although he was a funtioning alcoholic and never drank during the day. One evening, during dinner, he started to cough violently and we went outside to get some air and have a chat once he had gained back his breath. He told me that he had been having these coughing fits for some time and would get it checked out on his return to New York. A few months later we were told he had the late stage of esophycus cancer and would have to start treatment immediately.

By this time, my mother had had enough. Her health was beginning to fail and her nerves were in shreds. She decided to sell her house and move to a smaller flat. David and I had to move back to my home and my daughter had to move into another flat with her boyfriend.

A few weeks after we moved back home, my son came over for a visit. On arriving, he found me lying on the floor of the living room, screaming and thrashing my arms and legs about like a beached octypus. I was so drunk and dilerious that I had no idea where I was and kept repeating that I just wanted to die. Once again, the ambulance was called and I was carted away to Charing Cross Hospital.  I do remember crawling around on the floor and under chairs in the "quiet room/padded cell" of the A & E screaming and wailing. They put me at high risk of suicide that night.

Recovering temporarily from that event, I was eventually put on the waiting list for a day rehab in Central London which I would start the following month. This was to be the beginning of the end of my old life.

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