Cheryl - The Day I Nearly Died.
On 22nd October 2004 I met the man that was to become my husband - Woody. I was 29 and he was 34, he was in the army, he was funny and we both liked to go out at the weekend and drink a lot. As he was in the army I only saw him at the weekends and so our relationship was long distance from the beginning. Fast forward to 17 August 2007 - we got married, we'd done 6 months apart due to Iraq and we'd bought a house in January 2006, which I had to move into on my own as he was away in Norway.
I'm trying to set the scene that us being apart a lot was what I was used to and in the beginning it worked for us. In August 2008, our first son Stanley was born and in April 2010 Billy was born. The following year Woody had completed his 22 years service and came out of the army on a full pension for what should've been a "normal" life for us.
But he just couldn't decide what he wanted to do. He'd had a year of resettlement courses through the army, but he just couldn't make his mind up. So when some training work came up in Iraq, I said I didn't mind if he went. We were used to him being away and I wanted him to be happy in his work - he still had over 20 years left in his working career.
What I didn't realise then, and what I've only recently realised was that I was putting everyone else's needs before mine. I'm easy going, peace keeper, want the easy life - Woody being away and happy made my life easier I thought, even at home with 2 boys under 2. So that has been our life for the most part of the past 9 years. Woody working away for 8-12 weeks and home for 3-4 weeks. Teddy our youngest son arrived in September 2012. So then I was at home on my own with 3 boys aged 4 and under. I thought I was fine, how do you do it? I used to get asked all the time. Well I just do, its what we do.
So I'm not actually sure when I started drinking on my own in the house. What I do know in the past 18-24 months its got bad - I'd buy one bottle of wine, drink that and then when the boys were in bed asleep I'd leave them on their own to race to the corner shop to get another before it closed. Once you've got away with it once, no one has woken up... its easier to do it again. I didn't drink every night but I definitely drank every night from Thursday - Sunday. Probably going to bed so drunk that I would struggle to wake up if any of my beautiful boys woke up.
As my boys have got older and playing on game consoles, I thought actually I could leave them for about an hour and they wouldn't even notice/care. This is where I started to seriously go out of control. My boys are still only 7, 10 and 11 now. What I was thinking I don't know, but I started to leave them at home on their own so I could go to the pub for an hour maybe once or twice a week. Sadly it was probably for more than an hour once I got there and downed 2 pints and started enjoying adult company.
I am so ashamed writing this but this is part of my story and feel I need to get this down so if I get tempted to think I can moderate I can come on here and read my story.
So now we get to Sunday 21 July 2019, the first Sunday of the school summer holidays. Its a beautiful day and my friend from work came round for food and a few drinks. I'd probably drank a bottle of prosecco before she got there. My memory is very, very sketchy on this whole weekend. But what happened was we left the boys about 8pm (I think) for an hour, we actually turned into 2. My boys were calling me while I was in the pub to ask me to come home. So me and my friend went back home. I went to go up the stairs in the house to put the boys to bed.... (everything that happened from now on is what I've been told) I fell backwards as I walked up the stairs, smashed my head on the shoe cupboard and was unconscious on the floor. Teddy was the first one to see me, my head wasn't cut but I had blood coming out of my nose. Thankfully Kelly was there, otherwise my 3 boys would've had to deal with this on their own. Kelly called the ambulance and Stanley called my sister Jade.
I was taken to the QE in Birmingham, where I was put into an induced coma due to a fractured skull and 3 bleeds on the brain. I could've died. My boys were told I might not remember them. No one could be certain how I would be once I was brought round, no one could even be certain that I was going to live in those first few days. My husband was home by the Monday evening. I was in an induced coma for 10 days, and came out of hospital on the 9th August. Thankfully I have recovered well.
The reason I'm writing this is because all of this was not enough to make me put the alcohol down. I moderated for about 6 weeks after coming out of hospital. At my first consultant appointment in September one of my questions was "Can I still drink?" His reply was yes in moderation. Well for me that was the green light. Why didn't the consultant say - "Are you serious? You've just had a traumatic brain injury and you're still asking if it's ok to poison your body???" At the end of September my husband went back to work in Iraq, I said it was fine, but really it wasn't. But what could I do, he needed to work - he'd just had 2 months off because of my accident. Once again I told him I would be fine. Sadly it wasn't, I went completely off the rails.
So I am lucky, blessed, grateful, thankful to still be here and so, so happy I have finally seen sense to give up the poison that was leading me to so many bad choices. I'm sorry if I have gone on but I needed to explain fully the life I had lived for many years. I had felt unfulfilled in my marriage for many years and following this experience I did decide life is to short to keep wondering what if???? Me and my husband separated in November, when he came back from work. The past 6 months have been very turbulent to say the least.
I am now Day 136 of my sober journey and I feel amazing. My boys, family and friends are so proud of me. I am proud of me. I am looking forward now to making plans, going back to college. I am so much more present with my boys and I am a lot more chilled out without the WIne witch calling me constantly and rushing the boys through their tea and to bed - So I could sit downstairs on my own and drink 2 bottles of rose wine.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Sending you all lots of strength, love and hugs Chel xxxx