• Tara Vaughan

Drinking on Drugs


This picture was taken two summers ago in Majorca whilst I was still drinking like a fish.

People often ask me if I feel better now that I’m sober, I’ll admit I feel absolutely no difference.

I am no longer the fun-loving party girl that I use to be – in fact, she hasn’t been around for a while now. I toned her down when I realised that I had a drinking problem towards the end of 2016. I topic I talked much about in therapy at the time. A problem that I only realised that I had when I met Hugo. Before Hugo it didn’t bother me that much. Okay my drinking scared me a little but not really enough to do anything about it.


A lot of my friends never would’ve said that I had a drinking problem, if they knew they never raised the subject with me. I could go out and drink like a fish, wake up in the morning with some stranger in my bed, not know who they were or what happened and have to face the awkward questions in the morning. If you think I just drank too much this could also happen if I went out and had a couple of drinks with a friend. I could wake up the next morning and not remember the conversations I had or how I got home. People would know that I was drunk, but I was never stumbling around or slurring my words. There have obviously been a few occasions where friends have looked after me; I tried to beat up a bouncer once as he tried to throw me out of a hunt ball for the third time that night.


When I met Hugo I became terrified of drinking, of my behavior. I didn’t want to drink in case I kissed someone and had no recollection of it. That’s when I started talking about it in detail with my therapist. I did one of those alcoholic questionnaires and it turns out I am one, but in all fairness the way we drink in this country I’m pretty sure most people, certainly the majority of my friends, would also fill that box. I never ticked the boxes that said, I see a pub and have to go into it and have a drink or I wake up in the morning and pour myself a drink or even I drink by myself. It was the other questions, the questions that I believe most of my friends would tick.


I got into the habit of drinking only if I was with Hugo or with friends when I knew I was in a safe place. Last year I used Dry January and Lent as my excuses for not drinking. It worked well, I drank once in January and that was when I realised that I had never hunted sober and was coming into a field of eight six foot hedges in a row – I needed some jumping juice! And I drank once in February at a hunt ball with Hugo, I was very cautious about what and how much I was drinking but I still managed to wake up in the morning not knowing what had happened and finding out that I slapped a good friend of mine round the face, for no apparent reason.


After Dry Jan and Lent I started driving places instead of taking public transport and I was able to use that as my excuse. Friends called me boring for not drinking and would try to convince me to have one or two knowing that it would lead to more.

It’s interesting when you stop drinking, people put the pressure on you to drink and I believe it’s because people then realise how much they are drinking and don’t like it. I believe it’s probably a subconscious thought that triggers them to being uncomfortable and they then apply the pressure to see if they can get you to join them taking the pressure off them and making them feel that it’s more acceptable.


I’ve now been sober (with two exceptions) for ten months. I gave up because of a gut problem in July, I was put on a special diet for six weeks. I drank at a friends wedding in September, I couldn’t have got through it sober – Hugo and I had both been invited and the thought of being at a romantic setting with him but without him was too painful, so I drowned my sorrows, not the best idea I’ve had as I ended up crying for most of the night and missed my lift home. The second was the day after I came out of the clinic, my aunt had lent me her horse to go hunting at the Christmas Eve meet and I had a glass of port at the meet – again it was to do with never having hunted sober.


Now people are getting the message, “Drink?” “No thanks, I’m sober”, that word ‘sober’ seems to do it. I’m not sure why but people have stopped applying the pressure. Possibly because of living in the country and the friends I’m surround with know what I’m going through or because I’ve been avoiding going out in public in London when I’m there and seeing friends in groups. Most of my friends I have seen on a one-to-one basis have accepted the not drinking.


I will admit that I really struggle with not drinking in social situations, in the past it helped massively with my anxiety, drinking really took the edge of things. I was recently on my sister-in-law to-be’s hen do and it was hard, really hard, not drinking. I’m nervous about the wedding too. I want to be on my best behavior, I want to be fun and happy but without a drink that’s not going to happen. It was my pick-me-up in social situations, a way that helped me to put on a mask and be whomever I needed to be. I don’t have the energy to do that these days. I’m even worrying about what I do with my hands, I mean, without a glass in my hand, what do I do with them?


Don’t get me wrong – I have been out sober before, I have partied until the early hours with nothing but water inside of me. I could bring up my energy levels and draw energy from other people when I needed it. I’ve had nights out where people the next day have said “You were so wasted last night” and when I turned round and told them that I was completely sober, they found it hard to believe. Now my energy levels are so low, I struggle with everything I do. Living uses a lot of energy.


Right now I don’t believe that this’ll be a permanent thing. What I do know, having done more research is that drinking on the drugs that I’m on was not a good idea. My doctors probably told me at the beginning, I don’t remember but if he did, I definitely wasn’t listening. It explains the black outs. They didn’t happen before I was on the meds. I wish I had looked into the affects alcohol had on the drugs before now, it would’ve been much easier to connect the dots, it never really occurred to me.


I often get cravings and the urge to partake in my self destructive ways. To have one massive blow out, but I know it would not be a good idea. I was telling a good girlfriend of mine how I desperately want a blow out and she replied saying that when I’m ready to drink again, she’ll make sure that I’m in a safe place.


Right now I’m on a journey to become the best version of myself mentally and physically. For the time being I’m going to try to remain sober at least until I come off the drugs. Then who knows, I guess we’ll see.

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