Alcohol Awareness Week - my story
This week is Alcohol Awareness Week, with the theme of change, so it feels appropriate for me to talk a little more openly about the biggest change in my life that has been caused by alcohol – the loss of my Dad. Acute alcohol toxicity is a fancy way of saying alcohol poisoning – that’s what it said on his death certificate when the inquest finally came back with a cause of death. My story is just one of many that feed into the statistics on alcohol-related deaths, and my story is sadly not an uncommon one.
When we talk about alcohol and change, so much focus is placed on a person’s individual need to change their relationship with alcohol as opposed to the change that alcohol can cause in your life – even if this isn’t your own alcohol use. This is why I decided to share this – I think it’s important we highlight all the links between alcohol and change to paint a fuller picture of the impacts and remind us that every statistic is a human with friends and family who love them, dreams and plans for the future.
For me, my life will never be the same. This week so many incredible organisations are sharing tips for changing your drinking habits – swap to soft drinks, reduce days that you drink – but that isn’t always an easy thing to do, so I hope by sharing the hardest words I’ve ever had to write, someone will realise that maybe it is worth the extra effort. Change Grow Live has a special place in my heart, having helped my Dad through some of the harder times and having helped me to grow through my own pain by giving me the chance to volunteer in one of their services. I’m hoping that this will help someone else to reach out and ask for help.
What follows is the eulogy I wrote for my father’s funeral – at 2am, on the day that I’d be reading it. I have spent the last four years feeling guilty for it not being good enough, but when I found the hand-scrawled notes in a box last week I was surprised – nothing would ever do him justice, but I think I did OK.