Charlie’s story: ‘Alcohol’s a potent potion to the over emotional.’

February 2023 | 8 minutes

For years, Charlie aka Lulla HF had an issue with alcohol. His passion for music is what helped him to find himself again.

The opening line of my song ‘Go Against The Grain’ describes a cycle that I was trapped in for so long during my battle with alcohol. Drinking had such a major effect that on my mood and general mental health, before, during and after a big blow out for such a long time. That ‘Friday feeling’ state of mania, knowing it was nearly time to drop all responsibility and lose myself again for the next few days. The dips towards the end of the night, getting upset, angry or crying about past traumatic experiences or current general unhappiness. And the hangovers, that massive barbell sitting on your head, the horrible cocktail of guilt, confusion, regret, and overall self-unkindness.

The last time I drank alcohol was the Champions League Final, 2019, between Spurs and Liverpool. I was with my dad, watching his team play in one of the biggest matches in the footballing world, chatting and having a few beers. This all sounds rather pleasant. If it wasn’t for the entire week before the match, in which I got paralytic drunk every day, trashed my parents’ house, upset one friend who’d attempted to help me with a few days’ work and really concerned two other friends that I’d known since school, it all would have been rather acceptable.

A big factor in my particular style of alcohol trouble, was I really couldn’t moderate. It was all or nothing. A fully focused sprint to oblivion.

I’d watch after work drinkers in the pub, 3 or 4 then off home for dinner and an early night, and really not get it. The more I drank, the more I wanted to drink and no amount of falling over, throwing up or getting into arguments with people was going to stand in my way.

It was my drinking that week, before the Champions League final, that alerted my mum, sister and mates Nick and Liam that I was in trouble. It showed them I couldn’t afford to stay in the position I was for much longer. That my actions and my behaviour were masking the good person that I’d forgotten I was.

I needed to change, which I accepted, but how?

How can I turn this around? What could I possibly fill my life with that would replace the huge chunk of time that I would dedicate to neglecting myself? 

I started with counselling. Six sessions in total, for which I was never late, never skipped and never anything less than totally honest. With just that little bit of support, from a professional, who I knew wouldn’t make any judgement or take offence if I miscommunicated myself. My councillor confirmed one of my curiosities for me. What to replace this habit with? 

The answer came in the shape of my lifelong passion, something that I genuinely felt I was good at and that others connected with too, music.

My career as a musician had too been affected by my drinking, gigs where I’d forgotten lyrics after too many pints, expensive studio sessions that I’d been unproductive and only semi-conscious for and time, precious time, where I could have been writing but was instead drowning my organs. 

So it was music, my returned obsession, that would be the catalyst to finding myself again and the platform for which my next chapter would begin. 

Go Against The Grain is the most personal song I think I’ve ever written, and definitely the most vulnerable I’ve ever made myself intentionally. Hopefully that makes it relatable and easy to connect with, as I know that so many people are still dealing with their own version of this type of journey (even though we sometimes tell ourselves the opposite when we’re going through it).

I decided to partner with Alcohol Change UK to help Go Against The Grain find its way to more people that might find connection from the song and help them or someone they love on their journey with alcohol. Anyone that wishes to make a contribution can pay however much they want for the song on Bandcamp and the proceeds will go towards helping the organisation continuing the great work they do as well as supporting me as an independent musician.

Check out Lulla HF's single 'Go Against The Grain' here

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