First time drinking I drank a lot of poitin. Fell face down in a stream in the middle of the afternoon and spent a few days in hospital. I was 13. I didn't take it up then though. At 15 I was drinking every week. By 16 I was smoking cannabis on a daily basis and popping pills at the weekend. By 17 I was a mess, I'd gone through 3 schools and I just wanted to leave. Then 9 months in day rehab and another year in aftercare with weekly groups and 12 step meetings too. Then at 20 I went off to college in another city. Happy in my sobriety but I left all my support network behind. I started drinking the 2nd year. By the 3rd year it was causing real problems - getting thrown out of bars and clubs, cheating on my girlfriend at the time, losing friends left right and centre. Then in my final year there was one last crazy night and I woke up in hospital a few days after a blackout apparently having tried to hang myself. I broke up with my girlfriend - she deserved so much better I thought. More craziness ensued - back home in my parents I got a job but ended up smoking cannabis every day and drinking a lot. Ended up in hospital again after taking one to many ecstasy pills. I was on a cocktail of meds that I can't remember including Warfarin after the previous incident. In this period I started another relationship with a girl from my college and was up and down the country to her. She fell pregnant. I decided to stand by her. I can't remember the in and outs of it but there was more drinking, emotional breakdowns, cannabis and an attempted overdose on my medication, which was enough for that poor girl. So she broke off all contact. I still haven't seen that child. So at some stage I tried hanging myself again. This time I ended up in psychiatric hospital for 6 weeks, got put on meds and got better. I met my OH in there (yes, I know). So no drinking, on the right path and seeing an amazing woman. The first year of our relationship moved so fast. We moved in together after a few weeks. I had a couple of more pysch stays, was still drinking and smoking lots. At one stage I was on antidepressants, anti-pyschotics, benzos and sleepers prescribed while smoking lots of cannabis and drinking. It was nuts. I was constantly putting myself in danger. Anyway, I got the meds sorted, settled down a bit and was sort of happy. My daughter was born in this period and I did not take it well. Somehow, I managed to finish college that year and I ended up doing very well. So about a year after we met, we got married. By the next year, we'd moved to my home town and had our first child, and 21 months later our 2nd. My drinking was still getting me into trouble from time to time, but I just thought that was normal. Then 20 years of nice family life interspersed with bickering, arguments, my losing the plot every now and then, but always trying to shield the kids. There's some stuff in there I'm embarassed about - adult websites, chat rooms - that sort of thing. They really took hold from time to time. That was the real trust breaker. As far as the drink was concerned, I'd ease of it, even stop, but I'd always go back to it. And it was always unpredictable. The marriage wasn't great most of the time anyway even before all the really bad stuff. Fast forward a few years of us stumbling through, but sort figuring it out and out of the blue the mother of the first child showed up. After a couple of meetings, I started getting the feeling I was being messed around. This really messed with my head. There was a bad drinking episode, not too drastic but enough to cause trouble at home - I think I passed out on the floor and the kids could have found me. So another attempt to stop it. But I just replaced it with the aformentioned embarassing stuff - this was the beginning of this causing trouble in my life. Get found out, end up in marriage counselling and I got told I had to choose - my wife or the daughter I had never seen. So I chose my wife. She didn't want me telling our kids, the other woman didn't want her daughter to be a dirty secret and I didn't have the courage to stand up for myself and say what I really wanted - to just come clean and tell evryone everything. I took a long time to repair things after my indiscretions, and it never really did get better. Just barely muddling through for a few years, throwing myself into my work. Working a lot to earn more money, but it was too much for those at home. I was absent. Drinking was very big around then, but still bad things could happen when I got drunk. My memory is fuzzy at the best of times, becasue in my head getting too drunk was the issue. But I was loud and obnoxious with it and there would be arguments I suppose. Then so many arguments about things that I didn't even know were wrong. Then I took up running. And for the first time in so long I was fit, healthy and confident. I wouldn't drink because the running was more important. But as I got more ambitious, I trained more, and that caused issues at home too. And still, even though I was moderating my alcohol, things could go pear shaped of a night. In the middle of all this there was a suicide in the family - my nephew - he was very young. I just got lost in running after that. Then I overtrained - I was tired, weak but still kept going until injury and illness stopped me in my tracks. Depression came around again, I drank a bit to self medicate. But mostly I was just a diffficult person to be around. Then my wife had things to deal with in her family. Both of us at the end of our tethers really and I couldn't support her the way she needed. I tried but it wasn't enough. I retreated into a fantasy world. The most shameful period of my life start. I can't go into details. I'm just going to say sexting and video chats. And drinking on my own. Then getting found out. While blackout drunk. Getting violent. Getting thrown out. Massive depression and almost uncontrollable urges to commit suicide. So back on the antidepressants and 12 weeks of counselling. We worked it out. Things were great. We started to go for nights out again. I started to drink again. I never felt better. The run up to Christmas. Amazing. Spent a fortune though. Then a bit more drink, then a bit more. Blacked out New Years Eve, but was the life and soul apparently. Then nights out became a nightmare for her, I never wanted them to end. Not going home when she wanted too. Going back out to the pub when she had gone to bed. Returning drunk and shouting the house down. Once was enough. Things went downhill at home. A couple of trips away - spoiled by too much drink. Then cannabis returned. Just for a short while - 2 weeks I think. It wasn't that that was the problem. It was the secrecy around it. Not telling her. Staying up late and making her suspicious. I asked to talk about. I got stone walled. The panic rose, I knew I'd messed up big time. Again. She came up to bed. Didn't say a word. My head was racing. I got up to watch some TV. Halfway down the stairs I decided to have a nightcap. An hour later I was getting arrested. Throwing things around the house. Trying to stop them leaving. Roaring abuse. Out in the road. The neighbours had to come out. I remember pouring my 3rd fairly large drink. None of the other stuff. Then I was in a cell. Needless to say I was out on my ear again. No wife, kids or house. I'd turned into everything I hate. I feel ashamed when people show me sympathy or support. If they knew what I was really like then I don't think they would to be honest. I threw it all away. Managed to get it back and then threw it all away again within 8 months. I'm too volatile. Too unpredictable. She came to see me on Monday to sort out money etc. I think that might the last time I see her for a long long time. I'm feeling things about myself that I feel I don't deserve too. I feel that a person like me doesn't deserve help. Doesn't deserve understanding. I'll keep away from my vices for my sake, but I'll keep away from other people for their sake.

Well that's it. That's me. I'm hoping there's not much self pity in there. I tried for there not to be. Do your worst.