"I'm terrified I'll come home drunk one day"

"I'm terrified I'll come home drunk one day"

"My life looks perfect on the outside. I have great husband, an adorable four-year-old daughter, friends and a job that pays well. But deep inside, I'm still coming to terms with my mum's death 16 years ago, a miscarriage I had two years before my daughter was born, and my high pressure sales job.

For five years, I've used alcohol to cope with my darkest feelings. I drink a lot - as many as four or five drinks, five days a week. I hide it from my family and colleagues.

Never the drinking type

In university, while my friends chugged beer, I sipped fruit juice. Throughout my 20s and early-30s, I only ever had a few beers.

But in 2008, I began drinking in earnest with my colleagues after work, while trying to accept that I'd had a miscarriage the year before. I was three months pregnant when I lost the baby and I was beside myself with grief. My husband Paul* was also devastated, but he seemed to get over our loss faster.

Every time I tried to talk to him about it, he'd say :'We have to accept that the baby is gone, we must be strong and soldier on.' He's a good husband, but I didn't feel his support during this time. Drinking with my co-workers helped. Not to mention, the bar outings were bonding sessions where we could let our hair down and confide our work problems in one another.

Our booze-fuelled outings increased to twice or thrice a week. I started on gin tonics and light beers, and progressed to wine and strong cocktails. Drinking helped to go home feeling on top of the world - I always slept easily on those nights. And that was the beginning of my alcohol addiction.

I drink at work

I've never gone to work drunk, but I have a brandy-spiked coffee in the morning - I like the buzz I get from it. I make it a point to not drink before meetings with my clients and staff, and I always have mouthwash and mints on hand to mask the smell of alcohol on my breath.

At the office, I wait until everyone has left for the day before drinking my booze out of a coffee cup while finishing up my work. After that, I guzzle cups of strong coffee, wash my face, brush my teeth and reapply my makeup. When I get home, I'm still buzzing from the alcohol, but I look as fresh as daisy.

Once, my boss spotted five bottles of wine under my desk and asked about them. I lied that they were gifts for a client. 'Are you sure you're not having some secret drinking party after we've all gone home?' he joked. I laughed right back with him.

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