The legal high called alcohol

The phrase "alcohol and drugs" is a false distinction. It makes no more sense than "apples and fruits", "football and sports" etc. This is my story about how this "legal high" nearly destroyed my life.

My first drink got me immediately hooked on alcohol. I've never felt comfortable in social settings; I was always the quiet kid in the corner. Drinking gave me this feeling that my "shell" had finally come off, which was a whole new experience for me.

Things went downhill very rapidly. At the ripe old age of 20, and just a few months after my first drink, I experienced severe withdrawal symptoms. Over one weekend, I managed to consume around 3 litres of vodka. The following Monday, I finally had the sense to stop drinking. Unfortunately I wasn't familiar with the concept of alcohol withdrawal, which is even more dangerous than heroin withdrawal. Of course the most dangerous drug to give up is the legal one! My heart rate did not fall below around 120, I had multiple panic attacks, sounds such as passing traffic were unusually harsh, I had several hallucinations and I didn't get more than 10 minutes sleep for 3 days.

Biologically it makes perfect sense. Alcohol decreases the activity of the brain and nervous system, so if you drink as much as I did and then give it up suddenly it's like pressing down on a spring and then releasing it so that it rebounds - everything goes into hyper-drive.

I was so confused and terrified that I made numerous attempts on my life. Anyone who drinks too much should gradually reduce the amount they drink and seek medical advice. Don't suddenly go "cold turkey" with no support!

It's been 3 years since I first experienced withdrawal and unfortunately I still relapse occasionally, but nothing has come close to what I experienced that Monday. If you immediately get hooked on something, you are an addict for life. One of my friends from Alcoholics Anonymous hasn't touched a drink for 30 years, but he still begins with the words "my name is ___ and I am an alcoholic".

I can't say I feel great. I feel as though my head is in a fog most of the time but with the help of a supportive community of people who have similar experiences, as well as anti-depressants, I am slowly recovering from my problems. I'm trying to address root causes such as social anxiety, which made me turn to drinking in the first place.

Published on 13-Mar-2017

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