I have never been ashamed to admit that ever since I enjoyed my first sip of alcohol at the age of 16, I have always had a taste for the drink. Throughout my teens, I did not really consider myself to have a “problem” so to speak with the stuff. I worked a full-time role for a prestigious insurance firm, therefore could only really let my hair down with friends on the weekends. However, once I progressed into the entertainment industry, I found myself submerged in invites to various clubs, awards shows and events which usually boasted a swanky champagne reception, where I would see people getting drunk and enjoying themselves. I would not say I felt insecure at these events exactly, but I did see alcohol as a way of relaxing and boosting my confidence when confronted with a room full of people I felt the need to impress/make friends with.





gender bias, alcoholism, domestic violence, On average I used to go out with friends new and old, to pubs and bars around 3 times a week- usually with the majority of us getting pretty ‘smashed’. To me this was purely social enjoyment- I was at the peak of my career and had not long arrived home from Belfast, where I had been filming for series 4 of Game Of Thrones! I had no financial concerns or insecurities looming over me- I simply enjoyed the feeling of becoming tipsy, then often drunk- Plus I always knew when to call it a night and go to bed. All that changed, however, when I met my abusive ex partner.




This man was pretty heavily into drink and on occasions, cocaine. I admit I knew already that he held a reputation among our work colleagues for this. I have never felt the desire to touch drugs, but I did indeed share his love of London nightlife. Every night and I mean pretty much EVERY night we were together, he would insist we go to local bars/clubs and drink alcohol (All with my money- see my “Financial Abuse” post for further clarification). To begin with, we would have a reasonably good time, as the both of us just got merry and talked nonsense- The same as I enjoyed doing with friends. However, as our relationship progressed, and so did his various forms of abuse, I found myself drinking even on nights that weren’t spent with him, whilst I was on my own. It may not seem overly catastrophic that I drank by myself in my house, as I know many people do this….. However, I also knew that I was using drink as a way of escapism, and a way to cope with all the pent up emotion I was harbouring. Also, on the nights we were spending together, he increasingly began demanding I purchase several shots of various spirits (usually Jagerbombs) alongside our usual pints. I would question him as to why he felt the need to drink so much, and the response I would usually receive was that I pushed him to it by “creating situations” (In other words, defending myself against his false accusations and insults). This would push ME to feel so distraught by the manufactured illusion I was hurting the man I loved, that I too would end up downing shots and dangerously large units of alcohol into the early hours of the morning, in order to somehow blank out the deep pain I felt.alcoholism, us stats, USA alcohol statistics, drinkingI also soon discovered that on certain occasions when he would get wasted and verbally assault me, the drink gave me the confidence enough to defend myself, and stand up to him. I also believe that during this period of our relationship, he was using drugs, due to his incredibly erratic mood swings. (Ones that included accusing me of “having sex with Spiderman” and others which involved him sat in the corner of Wimbledon’s Slug & Lettuce bar, scribbling equations onto napkins). It was also during this period that he would “punish” me by walking out on me from my house (or hotel if we were away working) and refusing to spend time with me. Again, with all the blame being pointed at me and even worse, me believing that I was indeed the problem, I began “coping” in the only way I thought I could help me to overcome my emotional pain- Becoming intoxicated until I ultimately passed out.This is what Alcohol Treatment.net had to say:

Anyone who has dealt with alcoholism, either as the user, the parent, spouse, sibling, or child of the user, knows the greatest impact is felt within the immediate family. Numerous studies across several decades conclude a definitive link between drinking and violence, and since most people return home after excessive drinking, or do so in the home, those living with the intoxicated family member are most at risk for exposure to violence.

During a 2013 single-day survey of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, call centers averaged 14 calls every minute for the 24-hour period. As many as two-thirds of cases reported involved excessive use of alcohol. Other violent crimes including rape and physical assault increase when alcohol is a factor.

According to studies examining risks of violence in the home, half of all men who commit violence against a female spouse, do so under the influence of an abused substance, usually alcohol. While the majority of violence occurring in alcohol-related incidents is committed by men against women, women, too, can become violent with excessive drinking.

End of part 1

Note: I would like to point out that I am aware that through my writing it may appear that I was encouraging my ex-partner to drink by paying for the constant alcohol supply, and in a way I feel this way also. However, if you read my Domestic Violence posts, you will soon discover the extent of the incredibly strong psychological and emotional hold that this individual gripped me in throughout our 18-month relationship. I am also aware that by admitting I regularly joined him in downing these amounts of units, therefore to some extent encouraging him, I am putting myself in the firing line- I have no issues with admitting that I have always found it difficult since my teens not to “get involved” when other people are drinking around me, and I am sure many others are partial to this “problem” also.

Click here for more help and advice: National Domestic Violence Helpline

By
Emma Bryant
You can also read Emma’s piece on Surviving Domestic violence and living with PTSD by clicking here.
Tweet me at: https://twitter.com/TheEmmaBryant

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