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Friday, 7 April 2017

The Day I ended up in A&E

Around this time last year, I ended up in A&E due to being drunk. It was the first time I had been in A&E. The day before I had been smoking weed with a group of guys I knew; it was the second time in my life that I had been high so the weed probably stayed in my system longer than it would for a regular smoker. We were just chilling out; stoned, and I remember thinking that I really wanted some alcohol, and decided that I would go and get drunk the next day. I had it all planned out in my head. I would get a bottle, take the train to somewhere far where no one would see me – Richmond park (I lived in Hackney so this was an hour away on the train from Dalston), and would go get drunk, hang out pissed for a few hours, then come back home.

Looking back, it sounds like a really stupid idea, but it’s exactly the kind of thing an alkie would do. A couple of months before that I had left York uni, firmly deciding that I was going to stop drinking, or only drink a few times a year. This pledge lasted three whole weeks, in which by the time I drank again (the same day I found out I got into ACM; half a bottle of rose in my room to celebrate) I was practically gasping for alcohol. Three weeks without a drink feels like an eternity to an alkie. (And not long after that I started adding weed to the mix – addicts find other addicts, as the saying goes).

So that Sunday morning, the day after being high with those stoner lads, I got up around eleven and headed to Savers to buy a bottle of rose wine. (Yes, only one bottle not three; I am a lightweight drinker but from being in AA I’ve learnt that’s irrelevant). I told my mum I was just going out with some friends from sixth form, and I’d be back around three. I bought the wine, then set down the street to Dalston Overground station. I had the book I don’t know how she does it in my bag to read on the train, and a packet of paprika crisps. I hadn’t eaten anything besides cereal, which barely fills me up. I set off on this hour long train journey to Richmond Park, the final destination.

I walked around the park, looking for the most secluded area I could find so no one would see me drinking. I opened the bottle and gulped half of it. Mm, bliss. When it hits you it feels fucking great. I started playing my Nintendo DS (yeah, I actually ordered a DS off Amazon back then so I could play it whilst drunk) and eating my crisps. I was meditating and lolling around on the grass and laughing and peeing and doing god knows what other stupid shit. By the time I had finished the bottle (after an hour) it had begun to chuck it down with rain and thunder, and I remember being paranoid that I was going to get struck by lightning. Somehow I stumbled out of the park, and managed to get to some café, thinking that I needed to get some food in me so I could sober up a bit and get home. I saw a place that sold pizza. I dove into that shop, sat down and asked for the menu.

Then I realised I needed to pee. And felt a bit sick. I ran to the toilet and puked. I don’t know how long I was in there for, and I can’t remember if I came back out or not. I do remember some woman banging on the door and asking if she should call an ambulance and me saying yes. Next thing I knew I was in the hospital, sitting in some chair thing. I do have vague memories of being carried in a wheelchair like thing – or is that my imagination? Whatever, but I blacked out (not uncommon for alkies). I was in that hospital for about eight hours (or it might’ve been six hours – a bloody long
time) lying on this chair while they attached this drip with fluids into me and got me to take these pills and told me my blood pressure was really high. They kept asking me why I’d done it – I couldn’t understand that they weren’t getting that all I’d wanted was to get drunk. It seemed so simple to me. I just wanted to get drunk. That was it. Nothing had ‘happened.’ I wasn’t depressed (I thought). I’d left York; I was going to music school in September. I had money left over from my student loan. Life was good. What was wrong with getting wasted at one o clock in the afternoon by yourself in a park far from home on a Sunday?

Anyway, they discharged me later on, and kept asking if they should call someone to pick me up but I insisted no because I thought I’d be in big trouble. I’d vomited out the sandwiches and orange juice they’d given me and felt all worn out and weary. My mum had been messaging me like crazy and I’d spun her this story about my friend of a friend hitting her head and having to be taken to A&E and me wanting to stay with them. (She knows what really happened now). By the time I got back home to Hackney from fricken Southwest London it was eleven. I felt awful and exhausted and just wanted to go to bed forever. I vowed I would never drink again.

Two days later I had some beer.

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