Thirst for love

I thought that my craving was for something else until I met Stephen...

Published by: Paul Carter & Polly Taylor
Published on: 5th May 2011

My body trembled like a kettle coming to the boil, and a familiar feeling of anxiety bubbled inside me.
Gritting my teeth, I clenched my fists and fought to suppress the frustration threatening to overwhelm me. ‘You can do this,’ I told myself. ‘Just… stay…calm…’
But it was no use. Breaking out in a sweat, I crept over to my mum Michelle’s drinks cabinet. Frantically, I raked through the contents, pulling out a bottle of gin and taking a swig.
‘That’s better,’ I sighed. The sense of relief as I drank was magical, every muscle in my body relaxed and a warm, fuzzy feeling washed over me.
Sounds extreme, but a dark cloud would loom over me, and alcohol was the only thing that would rid me of it.
Necking the rest of the gin, I reached for a bottle of red wine and the vodka…
My vision growing hazy, I decided to go for a walk to clear my head. But, moments later, like always, I found myself stumbling into a pub and ordering a drink.
‘You okay?’ a man’s voice asked beside me as I swayed on my barstool. Turning, I tried to focus on his face. He was smiling at me kindly, had the warmest brown eyes I’d ever seen.
For a second, I was interested in something other than my drink.
Stupid, really – he was hardly chatting me up, was he?
‘No,’ I slurred. ‘But what do you care?’
‘Maybe I can help,’ he smiled, sitting down.
No one else had. I’d been drinking heavily since I was 14, even got thrown out of rehab because I couldn’t kick the booze. How was this guy going to help?
‘I’m Stephen. What’s wrong?’ he pressed.
I searched his sincere face. He was actually being serious, and something about that cheeky smile of his made me open up…
‘Guess it started back in school,’ I sighed, gulping my wine. ‘I never fitted in, so I acted up.’
‘What kid doesn’t?’ Stephen said.
‘But I was terrible,’ I explained. ‘I got all tense and worked up, to the point where I’d feel like I was going to explode.’
‘So you took it out on your teachers?’ he asked.
‘Exactly,’ I said. ‘I’d shout and swear at them. It made me feel better for a while, but then I got expelled. That’s when I started drinking.’
I stopped. Surely any sane person would walk off now? But Stephen stayed. Putting a comforting hand on my arm, he waited for me to continue.
‘First it was cider in the park,’ I went on. ‘Then bottles of wine, litres of vodka…’
‘But why?’ he asked.
‘It was like when I shouted at my teachers,’ I said. ‘That same release of tension… only a million times better.’ He nodded.
‘After that I lost control. I got arrested for being drunk and disorderly, passed out at home with the door wide open,’ I said. ‘Mum tried to help, but it was no use. I’m beyond help.’
‘I don’t think you are,’ Stephen said, taking my hand. ‘Let’s get out of here, go for a walk. I want to hear more.’
He had to be joking?! He wasn’t, though. With his arm around my waist to steady me,
we went for a stroll.
‘I want to stop drinking,’ I told him. ‘But nothing else gives me that feeling, gets rid of that cloud.’
‘It must be awful,’ he soothed, hugging me. As I squeezed him back, my stomach did somersaults. It wasn’t the sick feeling I got from too much booze, it was…excitement.
If this was what his hugs could do, just imagine…! ‘Let’s get you home,’ Stephen said.
Back at mine I knew it was forward of me, but I leaned in for a kiss, gently pushing him towards the bedroom. ‘Are you sure?’ he asked. ‘Y-you’re drunk.’
But I’d never been more sure of anything. Falling into bed, a warm fuzzy feeling washed over me. It was more intense, more exciting than I’d ever experienced with booze. And the release… when we’d finished, I was walking on air!
‘Let’s do it again,’ I purred.
‘You’re insatiable,’ he chuckled, kissing me.
I couldn’t get enough. Stephen stayed for two days, and we had sex 30 times! And when he eventually left for work, I realised I hadn’t had a single drink.
‘I’ll come back tonight,’ Stephen beamed, and my heart soared.
Soon as he’d gone, though, that familiar feeling returned.
Knotted stomach, pulse racing – I needed a fix.
But as I reached for the bottle of vodka stashed under my bed, something stopped me.
Stephen was coming back later, and I didn’t want him to see me drunk. Besides, I wanted to remember every moment I spent with him.
Trembling, I sat on the edge of the bed and waited it out.
I could do this.
When Stephen knocked on the door hours later, though, I was a quivering wreck.
‘Come here,’ I croaked, pulling him inside. In seconds we were in bed, my tension melting away. Just like when I’d had a drink.
Afterwards, I realised something – if sex satisfied me more than drinking, then maybe it wasn’t the booze I’d been craving in the first place. It was physical affection.
I’d never been with a man long enough to have regular sex, they disappeared the moment I got too drunk to handle, so had never had the chance to realise before.
‘I don’t think I have an alcohol addiction,’ I frowned to Stephen.
‘I think my tense feeling is caused by not having sex.’
‘You’re really relaxed,’ he said. ‘And drink doesn’t cross your mind when you’re with me. You could be on to something.’
I’d been drinking to dull the ache I felt from not having sex – and the consequences had been devastating. ‘It has to be the real cause for this anxiety.’
‘And I can help,’ Stephen said.
After that, whenever I felt jittery, instead of hitting the bottle, we hit the sack.
It didn’t matter where we were – anything was better than going back to boozing.
One day as we walked past a pub together, my heart started hammering in my chest and my insides bunched up like a coiled spring.
I desperately needed a release.
‘In here, quick,’ I panted to Stephen.
But we weren’t heading for the bar. Instead, we snuck into the toilets and worked out my frustration in another way.
We’ve been together for five months now, and I’ve stopped drinking completely.
Problem is, I’ve no idea what would happen if we broke up.
Would I find someone else as understanding as him, or would I return to my old ways?
I just hope Stephen’s given me enough confidence not to be tempted into reaching for the bottle again if that ever happened.
I know I’ve replaced one addiction with another, though, and need to address that – we have sex around 10 times a day. But at the moment getting high on sex isn’t hurting anyone – Stephen certainly isn’t complaining!

Stephen Clayton, 25, says: ‘I felt sorry for Amy when I saw her sat alone.
‘She looked really fed up and when we started talking, and she told me she was feeling down, I wanted to help.
‘Despite her problems, she’s a lovely girl with a heart of gold.
‘We clicked from the off, and I couldn’t just abandon her.
‘The sex can be great, it can also be hard work. But she needs me, and I’m here for her.
‘I see us having a future together, maybe getting married.
‘She’s a great girl, and there’s nothing we can’t sort out together. I’m always there for her.’
Amy Squires, 22, Hyde, Greater Manchester