Sonia's story: "My addiction does not define me, nor will it beat me"

Sonia Randev | May 2019 | 8 minutes

Sonia was the first British Asian female sports editor for a regional paper until alcohol changed everything.

Alcohol has controlled me for the best part of 12 years. It has mocked me, shamed me and embarrassed me. It took my dignity and pride – but it will not take my soul.

Content warning: suicide attempt.

It’s 15 July 2012.

I am tired, broke, angry and enough is enough.

The shop keeper is looking at me funny as I purchase two bottles of white wine at 10am.

I’m wondering where can I go to get some peace and quiet.

The park.

As I find a place to sit, I look over at the kids playing on the swings and for a split second it’s the 1980s and I’m playing bull-dog at the top off my road. Young, carefree and innocent. Oblivious to what life had in store for me later down the line.

I open the bottle of wine and take a large swig.

Phone in hand, I get ready to send a text to all the people that matter to me. That have played a significant part in my life up until then. The text was very simple. "I cannot go on like this and I don’t see any way out of this. I’m sorry."

Text sent.

What happened from after the time the text was sent to being surrounded by police is a blur. All I remember is being taken home and the feeling of disappointment that I was still here, living.

The text was very simple. “I cannot go on like this and I don’t see any way out of this. I’m sorry.”

I was 24 years old when my love affair started with alcohol. Up until then I wasn’t a drinker. Not because I couldn’t drink or it was against my beliefs. It was because I didn’t like the smell or taste and often wondered what people got out of it.

It wasn’t bad to begin with. I was just like every ‘normal’ person, drinking with friends and enjoying myself. Being a late starter to social drinking, I often felt that I had a lot of catching up to do.

I had always been a bubbly, outgoing individual. Highly intelligent as most would say, and known for reading people well. I was also known for being exceptionally good at hiding my feelings. More so my emotional and caring side, hence why people use to say I could come across as quite abrupt and cold.

This was different when I drank. I would start as a joyful, bubbly comical character, but become an angry and emotional wreck as the night went on.

I was fully aware of what was happening but I didn’t know how to stop it.

After being in a long-term relationship I found it incredibly difficult to cope after the breakup.

This led to not being able to hold down a job, to running away from home and sleeping rough on park benches because I didn’t want to go home. Alcohol became an escape from reality for me. Which is quite ironic as I had always been a realist up until that point.

I had a routine. Get up at 7am and drink. I rarely felt the full effects of a hangover because I was constantly topping myself up. I didn’t brush my teeth or hair or shower and I would wear the same clothes, often sleeping in them. I lost all focus on any goals I had set myself from when I was a teenager.

I went from getting a first class degree in journalism to landing a sports reporter job (pre digital era) to becoming the youngest and first British Asian female sports editor for a regional paper to a woman who was barely recognisable.

I went from getting a first class degree in journalism to landing a sports reporter job (pre digital era) to becoming the youngest and first British Asian female sports editor for a regional paper to a woman who was barely recognisable.

The downfall of the once fresh-faced, sensible, bubbly girl was gaining notice in my home town. The Asian community were on alert and the gossip started to spread.

Everywhere I went, I could always feel people watching me, talking behind my back. Saying that I was bringing shame on my family.

The worst part off all of that was I knew what was happening. I was aware of the damage I was causing myself and my family but I was too tired to care. Even receiving letters posted through my door from people advising my parents that the best option for us would be to move away was still not enough for me to wake up.

I now think back and wonder if it had been their child, how they would have felt as a parent to watch their child go through what I went through.

I was aware of the damage I was causing myself and my family but I was too tired to care.

I genuinely felt the world would be a better place without me in it.

The morning after that night in the park I woke up and vowed I would never touch a drink again. I was 30 years old. I stayed sober for three years.

Then it happened again. I fell off the wagon.

My drinking was more controlled. Red wine, no spirits. But in less than a month I was back in the pit again. My mother had been diagnosed with cancer.

What has happened from that point to now is a very similar cycle of what happened to me before.

But now I have decided once and for all that enough is enough. Alcohol has controlled me for the best part of 12 years. It has mocked me, shamed me and embarrassed me. It took my dignity and pride – but it will not take my soul.

I will not become a statistic.

My addiction does not define me, nor will it beat me.

Alcohol has controlled me for the best part of 12 years. It has mocked me, shamed me and embarrassed me. It took my dignity and pride – but it will not take my soul.

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