journey to being sugar free
Mental Health

Breaking the Cycle Of Dysfunction

As I’ve mentioned before my hubby and I met while we were travelling. We spent our first two years together flitting back and forth from here, Australia and our beloved Asia. It was during our second year together that I made the decision to cut ties with my family. As you can imagine I was a damaged soul. We were drinking and partying way too much. Things got dark and spiralled out of control. Even the counselling I’d gone through several years earlier wasn’t enough to bring me to my senses. It all came to a head in early 2006 while we were living in Asia. We split up and returned home separately. I will definitely write more on this topic another time. For now I’d just like to set the scene.

I started working as the assistant to the Owner/Director of a group of small recruitment companies and my ex-boss made Meryl Streep look tame in The Devil Wears Prada. He would come in to work the day after watching The Apprentice and re-enact the firing Lord Al had carried out the night before. He was a nasty piece of work, but if you were on his good side then he looked after you and treated you well. I was on his good side for months, and along with a small number of others became part of his inner circle. He dangled the carrot of a six figure salary and I worked my butt off to try and achieve it. It never happened of course, doubt it ever does, but when you’ve had an upbringing like mine you can only dream of earning that type of cash.

Things turned sour between us towards the end of the year and it all kicked off on a trip to Reykjavik. No expense spared weekends away with work colleagues were par for the course. They were the boom days after all, when people had more money than sense. We were all out drinking and I happened to disagree with something he said. He didn’t take kindly to people disagreeing, which I knew, but being hammered didn’t have the good sense to filter my comments. Looking back he did me a massive favour, but at the time I wanted the ground to open and swallow me whole.

It was the morning after this occurred that I hit what alcoholics and drug addicts call rock bottom. Alone in a hotel room in a strange country not knowing how I got to bed, feeling the full effects of the 48 hour bender I had been on. I looked in the mirror and told myself it had to end. No more booze. No more partying. No more getting myself into ridiculous situations. I suppose this was my sliding doors moment, carry on as is or change my wicked ways. I chose to change and break the cycle of dysfunction I had been engrossed in all my life. Needless to say it was the hardest thing I have ever done.

I didn’t have a drink in three months, after which I taught myself how to enjoy a glass of wine and say no to a second. This was something I had never been able to do before. I realised I had thrown my relationship away and that my hubby was the best thing that had ever happened to me. Fortunately he took me back. I am still amazed that he forgave me and has never held a grudge for all I put him through.

As I enter my third pregnancy it has been occurring to me how fortunate I am to have the life I do. Each and every day I thank my lucky stars, and I never take the small stuff for granted. Had my sliding doors moment gone the other way things would have been very different.

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  1. mummytries says:

    Thanks so much for your kind words Colin. I’m so sorry I didn’t ever get back to you about your fitness app. Life got in the way, and we have literally been the house of ill for two months. Time has not been on my side I’m afraid. I hope all’s going well your end.

  2. Many Thanks Renee.

    Sharing this much makes me feel better. I can relate to your troubles and admire you for working through them.

    Glad you have come to a place of happiness

  3. mummytries says:

    Thanks so much Steph, the bad bits feel like a very long time ago now 🙂 just hoping I can put it all to good use with the book now!

  4. You sound like a strong, determined person. One of the absolute hardest things you can do in life is change your course around, and you totally did it!

  5. […] be a self-help book. My aim is to be able to put my dysfunctional past to good use and help others turn their lives around the way I […]

  6. […] too many angles in which to approach Sara’s prompt this week. I could talk about my excessive drinking habits of yesteryear, and how moderation never featured. I could talk about my merry-go-round with food […]

  7. […] of attention, although dysfunctional I guess it’s rather compelling. In particular this one, this one and this one. This post that I wrote leading up to starting GAPS was also very […]

  8. […] a full booze-ban, indefinitely. I’ve written in depth about my past, and how I abused alcohol almost to the point of no return in my teens and twenties. Fortunately I […]

  9. […] that one of them isn’t too far away and also has kids my girls’ age. The two of us worked together almost ten years ago, and quickly realised we had a lot in common. She has been a constant in my […]

  10. […] My light bulb moment, my rock bottom, my utter belief that things needed to change. That it was up to me to take responsibility and change those things myself. It wasn’t easy but I did it, and that life now seems like it was much longer ago than the eight years it’s actually been. […]

  11. […] an upbringing like mine will set you along one of two paths: HELLBENT on breaking what I call The Cycle of Dysfunction, or head first into repeating history. Some folks (like my mother and most of her siblings) set out […]

  12. […] later, it came with the realisation that I needed to change my ways. I worked hard to become a better person, one I actually liked and could stand looking at in the mirror. A decade later and I am now a […]

  13. […] Anyone that has read my grittier posts about my own childhood will know that I had a very dysfunctional start to life. Because of this I was hell bent from a very young age to not repeat history and ensure I gave my own kids a much better upbringing than the one I had. I would fix my damaged, broken head and heart and find true love before bringing babies into the world. It was a tall order, and one that has seemed impossible at points, but I did it. […]

  14. […] surrounded by the people that caused you the most upset it is very hard to break away from the cycle of dysfunction. Redundancy ended up being pennies from heaven for me, and I used the money to get away from […]

  15. […] I have had a more colourful past than most. I had a dysfunctional upbringing and left home at just 15. Certain things I went through as a child lead to major bouts of depression as a young adult. I was angry at the world back then, and felt very sorry for myself. I flirted heavily with the devil on many occasions. Made bad decisions. Did things I’m not proud of. Used to drink way too much, party way too much, and sleep with guys who I wouldn’t even look at sober let alone bump uglys with. Eventually I had a breakdown aged 22, and sought help via an amazing counsellor. She taught me that I needed distance from my destructive family, that I deserved to be loved and how to respect myself. Although she tried her hardest, she couldn’t get me to tackle my love of booze or getting obliterated. That would come later, along with breakdown number two. […]

  16. […] I’ve endured. That I had a messy upbringing, troubled adolescence and have battled with addiction. You’d never know the pain I’ve gone through to get to where I am today. That on this […]

  17. […] the moral of this tale is this: have faith that time really does heal all wounds, no matter how raw and painful they are at the […]

  18. […] sorting out my nearest and dearest, I’d set up a charity to help youngsters break away from dysfunction. It’s my dream one day lotto win or […]

  19. […] Faith – Stone Cold Sober This pretty much sums up the days where I was coming to my senses and realising there was more to life than […]

  20. judithkingston says:

    I can so imagine how you got trapped in the Devil Wears Prada type situation. Those kind of manipulative a***holes thrive on making you feel good and then feel terrible, having you in the palm of their hand, but you get so addicted almost to their favour that you can’t quite walk away from it – esp if they’re promising you riches beyond your wildest dreams.

    It sounds like you have found someone absolutely amazing in your husband though, and well done on recognising that even if you had to go through hell to get there!

  21. […] few years back, before my breakdown and rock bottom, I was obsessed with the idea of buying a property. I felt deep resentment towards myself for not […]

  22. […] times over the course of the next year but left in one piece, albeit separately. There was another dark year ahead, but he patiently waited for me to come out the other side. Most men would have cut their losses […]

  23. Well done…great post x

  24. Thank you so much for your lovely words Orli, so nice to hear xx

  25. Thank you so much! It’s honestly not difficult to maintain anymore. This life has become my normal and all the dysfunctional stuff feels like it happened to someone else. Very hard to explain but all good :o)

  26. Thanks Victoria, you’re very kind xx

  27. Well done lovely, your story is an inspiration to anyone who wants to make a change to their situation. So pleased for you that you managed to make a change for the better. Thanks for linking to PoCoLo x

  28. Thank you for your lovely words Rachel. I’ll definitely check out your blog xx

  29. thank you! the other side has been fab 🙂

  30. thanks Jaime xx

  31. The civilised side of partying is a lot of fun… and the dark times have their place as for most people it’s when crunch time comes and the end is near. Good to have the memories and know when to stop. Glad you also stuck it out with your hubby 😉

  32. They are certainly going to cause some grey hairs! Hopefully having gone through everything I have I’ll be able to spot warning signs and help them through troubled times when they occur :o)

  33. Wow. If ever there was a post to tempt a new reader to delve deeper, this is it! Glad to have found your post via the mumsnet linky and #PoCoLo and very much looking forward to reading more.
    If you like, you can find more from me at
    Rachel x

  34. Wow what an incredible story. So glad you came out of the other side 🙂

  35. I am so pleased all worked out the way it should of for you honey xx

  36. I can so relate to your story as when I first met my now husband, I knew that being with him would change my life and i resisted at first as part of me didn’t want to leave behind the days of drinking far too much and partying too hard. Even though my blog is about party inspiration, it is what I would term the more civilised side of partying instead of the deep dark side that people can find themselves in the middle of. Popping over from #PoCoLo

  37. Well done you! Yes you’re fortunate to have this life but it also takes hard work to maintain!! I think many of us have a moment when we realise we can go two ways and it is time to decide. So glad your decision has worked out for you and you are in such a good place now. Congratulations on your third pregnancy too!

  38. Wow what an interesting and terrifying story of life. So pleased things have come good for you. Just think of the worries you will have ahead for your own children! Popping over from #PoCoLo

  39. I have to say, maybe it’s not not the right way of saying it, but I really enjoy reading your posts. They are always well written, honest, and go straight into my heart.
    This one was no exception.

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