My Not So Secret Diary


Forgetting Blackouts and Recovery after addiction Blog - My Not So Secret Diary by Claire Hatwell
Sometimes I wake up with a bit of a fuzzy head, and it reminds me of before. It actually makes me panic for a moment and then I remember, it’s not a hangover, I just haven’t woken up properly yet. There were days before when I had a proper hangover, there were days when I just had a headache, more of them than I’d like to admit really, and then there were the days when I couldn’t remember.

There is nothing so bad as waking up and not being sure of the events of the previous night. I’m not even saying something bad had to happen, it’s not all as dramatic as it is on TV or in movies, but more a constant gnawing away at my confidence and self-esteem. In my case I might not have had a fight, or lost my car, or got arrested, but on many occasions I repeated a conversation, or forgot I had even had a conversation. I may have forgotten I’d had an argument, or wondered why one had started. I didn’t know sometimes whether an argument had been sorted out the next day, and I was always afraid of putting my foot in it. It was like walking on egg shells.

Blackouts for me weren’t something I’d ever experienced, and when they did at first I didn’t even realise. I thought I’d just fallen asleep. It’s when you talk to someone and realise that you were still there, even when you had checked out that it gets worrying. For me the last year of my drinking was the worst, I had lost a lot of weight and was drinking at least two and a half bottles of wine a night by myself. There wasn’t a night I had off, and while I kidded myself it wasn’t binge drinking, and instead I was helping my body by building up a tolerance, that just meant I drank more to get the same effect. That effect became short lived though as more often than not, shortly after I’d got the feeling I’d been craving, I was zoned out. I couldn’t focus on TV, I couldn’t read a book, and I couldn’t have coherent conversations without going off on a tangent. Everything felt extreme and it was draining trying to keep up appearances and the facade, even though I often didn’t know what was going on, trying to pretend that I did.

Blackouts are probably the last thing I’m really ashamed of admitting. It’s a hard thing to talk about, because rather than just being dependent and addicted, I also drank to the point of losing control. It’s not a good place to be, and even though that is in my past, it’s still a hard thing to admit to.

We watched “The Girl on the Train” recently. I read the book a few years ago and it was a difficult read for me. While I liked being able to identify with the main character, her drinking and inability to remember and piece together events also hit a little close to home for me. It’s a difficult balance, but that was then and this is now. Even knowing the content, although not how it would be shown, we watched it together. I’m never sure of how they’ll portray storylines with drinking as a central part, and I always worry that those characters will be seen in the worst light. I have to say, I didn’t enjoy it as much as the book, but I find that is often the case with books and films. It was sad to see the character confused and muddled, not just by her own actions but easily led by those around her. It made me realise really just how far I have come since my own fuzzy days. I could identify so much with her, and although she was a fictional character, I sympathised with her. For once it was nice to be able to separate it from myself though. I may have been there once, but I’m not anymore and I have no intention of ever being back there again.

Take care and thanks as always for reading.
Claire x