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Mum with good job reveals spiral in alcoholism hell with ‘wine o’clock’ binges

A mum-of-two working a good job has revealed how she battled a spiraling journey into alcoholism resulting in daily ‘wine o’clock’ binges.

Rhian Williams, 36, would turn to the booze each day to help cope with the stress of juggling being a project manager and parent with a busy social life.

She tells how as soon as she got home at 5pm, she couldn’t stop herself from drinking, according to Wales Online.

But while she kept it a secret from the rest of the world, she struggled on with only husband Chris aware of what she was going through.

It finally came to a head in March when she admitted she had an issue with drink.

The 36-year-old, who lives Swansea, with Chris and daughters Annabel, 10, and Olivia, 7, said that when people thought of the term “alcoholic”, they imagined a “person on the street corner, swigging from their white lightning can at 10am”.

She said: “This is not relatable and not what today’s problem drinkers look like. Today’s problem drinkers function at a very high level and seemingly have it all together.

“”When my front door closed and wine o’clock came at 5pm when I got home from work, I could not stop myself.”

Rhian Williams juggled the stress of being a mother and working a full time job with a busy social life

Rhian said her drinking started from university and then it just got progressively worse.

She added: “That was about 16-17 years ago. I was brought up in a Christian family, so you didn’t get drunk. I think going to uni, suddenly I could drink what I want and I’ve got no one to come home to to tell me not to get drunk so it just started from there.

“As soon as I had my first drink, it was like a game on switch where I would go ‘right, let’s get drunk.’ If I was on a night out, or if I was in the house, then as soon as I had that first drink, all my thoughts of ‘this is only going to be one’, would just go out of the window and it just wouldn’t even enter my head.”

“It’s such a slow decline, you don’t notice it. Because I was able to go one evening without having a drink, I thought ‘I can’t have a problem’ otherwise I would be waking up in the morning wanting a drink and thinking about it all day, I wasn’t doing that.

“It just becomes a habit, but that habit can slowly become dependence. Then you do things to show yourself that you don’t have a problem, like a dry January or a dry July. You do it for a month then it’s so easy to fall back into it.

“I would only have one bottle of wine in the evening, then top up with one or two gins, depending on how early I started really. It’s almost acceptable to start drinking earlier on the weekend.

“If my husband wasn’t with me, I would have drunk so much more and so much faster. And I think I would have been in a worse position than I was now.

“He was always there to go ‘come on now, you don’t need anymore’. It would either end in an argument or I would say ‘right, ok then I will stop’.

“I would go on a bad bender and come back really drunk and really ill and we would have huge arguments, that would normally lead to me having a couple of weeks off drinking to prove that I was different this time.

“There was never an end to it, I think that’s where lockdown has been so difficult for people because you don’t have to get up and go to work.

“I’m so grateful that this happened exactly a week before we went into lockdown because I dread to think where I would have been now if I had still been drinking,” she added.

For about three years, arguments with husband Chris had noticeably got worse. It was March this year, when Rhian’s husband asked her to leave, a day which she described as her lowest point.

She recounts: “It wasn’t really an ultimatum, my husband asked me to leave and I just refused. I had hidden a bottle of wine that I had already drunk because I was embarrassed and he found the bottle. I said ‘no, I will quit’ and it was very much ‘no, you tried before it won’t happen’.

Mum-of-two Rhian Williams

“I didn’t believe it myself that I would, but it was the first time he had ever given me a definitive ‘we’re splitting up because of your drinking’. I think I would just deny myself the fact that it was that bad.

“I suddenly realised that I was going to lose everything. It meant that I wouldn’t see my kids every day of the week which to me, drinking isn’t worth that much.”

She said the first few months after giving up alcohol were “horrific”.

But since she stopped drinking, Rhian said her relationship with her husband had got much better.

Rhian said: “We go out on a date night and I remember everything. Before, our date nights weren’t really about us spending time together, it was about me having the chance to go out and get smashed.

“I think my parents suspected something, my mum had said something to me in the past, ‘do you think you drink a bit too much’ but it was never a serious conversation. When I told them I was an alcoholic, it wasn’t so much shock, I think it was a bit of ‘thank goodness’. They have been the most supportive people ever.

“My friends had no idea, I was really nervous about telling them. When I told one of my friends about it she was like ‘I’m so sorry, I had no idea at all’.

“My kids were so young they didn’t think anything of it, the kids would joke that ‘mummy’s favourite drink is wine’ But most of it would happen when they went to bed anyway.

“I read a quote by Brene Brown, which said ‘Are you the adult you want your child to grow up to be’. I remember bursting into tears as I would never want my kids to drink like this.”

She believed her friends didn’t suspect a thing because it was so easy to hide the addiction.

She continued: “You hide it and you are wonderful at doing that, people think that when you go on a night out and get smashed, you are just doing it that night. They don’t realise that every other night of the week you’re having a bottle of wine, it’s just a normal thing for you.

“It’s so easy to hide, apart from with people you live with.

“On a normal day if I was getting up and going to work and I had a bottle of wine the night before, you just get on with it because that feeling was normal.

Rhian Williams now runs a sober coaching business

“When I stopped drinking, I feel amazing in the mornings and I exercise at 6:30am which I would have never of done when I was drinking.

“It just becomes so normal and that’s what’s dangerous about it. The wine culture is massive and I bought into it and all the memes on Facebook. I was shocked the other day, I went to buy a birthday card for my auntie and to find a funny card for a woman that doesn’t involve alcohol, you can’t get them.

“It’s a joke that it’s mummy’s medicine and it’s what you have to de-stress from the kids.”

Rhian has now set up a new sober coaching business.

She said: “Everyone’s got the same story, it starts with ‘Yeah I’ll have a wine on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, oh it’s the middle of the week, let’s have a glass of wine’. You do it to de-stress and wind down after a day, it just becomes a habit and it’s so easy to fall into.”

In the eight months Rhian has spent sober, she admitted she had saved around £700.

“It’s funny, you save money for things and you think ‘oh, I won’t buy that top because I’m trying to save money for this’ that was never factored in with alcohol. There was always money for alcohol.

“I remember when I was doing the Weight Watchers diet, I was saving my points and not eating as much in the day so that I could have wine in the evening. That’s the thing with diets as well, people will restrict their food and still have a drink. You always make allowances for it.

“Alcoholism has such a stigma to it, there’s much more sympathy to a drug addict than there is for an alcoholic. Cocaine is known to be really addictive and you feel sorry for the people who get addicted to cocaine and heroin, you don’t feel sorry for the people who get addicted to alcohol. It’s your fault because you’re not able to control yourself. Why is it treated differently?

“I actually only told my employer two weeks ago, I was really nervous about telling him but he was lovely and he had no idea.”




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