Former 'Party Girl' Says Lockdown Has Saved Her Life After Helping Her Cut Out Booze
With pubs, bars and clubs having been closed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, 21-year-old Olivia Ibbitson has used lockdown as an opportunity to ditch the booze completely, and has seen a huge improvement in her health.
Having started drinking with pals when she was just 15, Olivia soon struggled to control her alcohol intake, and found herself to be boozing most days.
Olivia could easily down two bottles of wine on a night out before turning to greasy comfort food the next day to help ease the hangovers - seeing her weight creep up to 14 stone.
"From the age of 15 I used to drink quite a lot," she explained.
"When I got to about 18 or 19, I was drinking every single day. I'd have about two bottles of wine before I'd leave to go out. The amount of drink would be quite excessive.
"It's seen as normal to have a drink every night, even a bottle or two, and no one bats an eyelid at it, but that can spiral into some bad, dangerous situations."
Even a major health scare failed to see Olivia change her ways. After collapsing from alcohol poisoning and developing pneumonia on New Year's Day 2019, the Type 1 diabetic was rushed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, Norfolk.
But even when doctors warned her she could have died after she emerged from her coma two days later, Olivia failed to change her habits until the first lockdown in March 2020.
"I noticed I'd put on a lot of weight. I was a size 16 and weighed 14st 2 lbs," she said.
"I completely stopped drinking alcohol on March 13 and didn't change much else.
"The situation with lockdown at the moment is so awful but it's an opportunity."
Olivia vowed to make a lasting change and switched to drinking just water or green tea, while cutting out her hangover McDonald's meals and replacing them with healthier choices.
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And just by making a few simple tweaks, Olivia has found herself feeling healthier - and has lost nearly five stone.
"Lockdown was my chance to take advantage of the fact I was stuck inside and couldn't go out as easily to drink," she says.
"I'm now almost 10 months alcohol-free and I'm 10st 3lbs. For the first month or so it wasn't anything drastic but after two or three months I just dropped weight so quickly.
"You can't go out because nothing's open. You can't go to the pub or get alcohol as easily as you would.
"When you drink, you're probably going to be eating a lot of takeaways the next day too. That isn't happening anymore either.
"A lot of people when they have a hangover do tend to go for a McDonald's breakfast instead of something healthy.
"Now, it's just about better choices really. Smaller portions and making better choices than I would have done if I was drinking all the time.
"I was drinking every day or two days and giving myself a day to recover. It was drink, sit around all day not doing anything then do the same again. Now I just drink water or green tea.
"I've tried to take up new hobbies and learn new things to distract myself from not drinking."
Olivia put her excessive drinking down to a dissatisfaction with her life at the time.
"On New Year's Eve , I was out with friends. I was in a really awful time in my life and struggling to cope with a lot of things," she said.
"I didn't like how I looked, I didn't like my life or have many good friends. I didn't do anything but drink. I was at such a low point and drank to an extreme that night.
"I was very drunk. I was just laid outside in [a man's] garden, in the cold. I think he made a phone call to the police, who sent an ambulance.
"I ended up in intensive care on New Year's Day 2019 in a coma due to the alcohol. It was really, really scary.
"Doctors said I was lucky. If I wasn't found then, it would have been it. I would have lost my life that night."
She continued: "I would promise myself I'd stop drinking because it was ruining my life and going to kill me, but I was so young, I didn't think it would.
"A lot of my friends had said to me 'you always say you'll stop but you can't'. But I did it on my own.
Now happily dating new partner Mitch and looking forward to returning to work, Olivia is hoping her story could help others looking to make a positive change.
"I feel so much happier in myself and so much more confident. A lot of people are back in my life now and people like me more than they did," she said.
"You could come out of this lockdown not thinking 'this is awful' but thinking 'I achieved so much'.
"I'm currently waiting for a machine called a pump to help me control my diabetes, then I'm hoping to start working with my partner.
"For people wanting to make a change and stop drinking, this is the perfect time to do it.
"At the moment, I'd say the world has come to a standstill. We won't get this opportunity again."
Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News Media
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