'I Was Addicted to Alcohol and Meth. My Body Is a Warning'

I quit alcohol on January 13, 2021. My husband's birthday is on New Year's Day and when I woke up on January 2 this year, after drinking the night before, I drank straight shots of vodka and it came right back up out of my nose. My body just started rejecting alcohol.

I started sharing my experiences on social media recently, but my addictions began almost 28 years ago. I've been drinking and drugging for a long time; punishing my body. I grew up in Forest Grove, Oregon and I was adopted, but my parents never drank, did drugs or smoked cigarettes. My mom was always honest that I was adopted, and I did get to meet my birth parents when I was 24. I was able to grasp where that addictive nature may have come from, but I don't try to blame it on family genetics. I was just trying to numb myself. I was raped at a very young age and I think that set off that sense that, as a woman, I wasn't good enough. I had a lot of problems.

I was 24 when my drug usage started. I was given a sample of a prescription drug and I loved it the first time I took one, because I hated my life. My marriage to my ex-husband was not good, and so it was an outlet.

I had a lot of surgeries in my 20s, so it was easy to access these drugs, but at one point I sprayed oven cleaner on my body on purpose. I had to come up with something to get pills. Once you're addicted it's hell getting off; the withdrawals are insane.

It's crazy how you can come up with money even for one pill. After I got addicted, I never wanted to feel those withdrawals. Desperation takes over. I would take two to three buses and scrounge up money somehow, it just blows my mind when I think back.

But I wasn't a big drinker until I was about 30. I just wanted to numb more. I felt like I could endure my life if I was drinking and mixing pills with it. But I was a closet addict. I never went to parties to do drugs. I didn't want anybody knowing it was that bad.

I started smoking methamphetamines back in 2008, I only smoked meth and nobody knew for years. I liked it because I lost weight and I was too lazy to exercise. When I was doing meth I didn't look that bad. I never lost my teeth and I always had make up on. I never looked like a typical meth addict. In 2009, I quit the prescription pills, and had awful withdrawals, including vomiting, diarrhea and blurry eyesight. It felt like having flu, but a thousand times worse, and I spent time in a rehabilitation program in Washington.

But I didn't stop smoking meth until 2019, because I had my first panic attack. It started messing with me hugely, so I was done. I experienced sugar cravings, fatigue, agitation and some hallucinations and panic attacks for several weeks after I stopped, but on July 31, I will be two years clean from meth.

After I quit meth, I got heavier and my doctors told me I needed to lose weight and stop drinking. But I wasn't used to being OK, I had to have a vice. I began drinking a fifth of vodka in straight shots, starting at 9am. Then I would follow that with a couple of seltzers. I never even liked alcohol to be honest. I just wasn't ready, I guess, to feel what real life was.

In those two years I would quit drinking for a week or a month but when it got to January this year, my body really began rejecting alcohol. And, when I drank, I would have meltdowns. It was ridiculous. I'd never been in love in my life until I met my second husband, Steve—I didn't know what love felt like. So I didn't want to lose him. I knew I had to stop.

I also had high blood pressure, leg swelling and I'd had to have a hemorrhoidectomy. Alcohol made me sweat in buckets, there was never a second I was not sweaty and red. As soon as I stopped drinking, those issues diminished.

Trina Beil has quit alcohol and drugs
Trina Beil was smoking meth until 2019, on the left is during the period she took the drug. Beil has been clean from drugs since 2019 and stopped drinking alcohol in January 2021. In May 2021, her stomach became distended, as seen on the right. Trina Beil

I have been to NA and AA and I didn't have a good experience. I tried it but it's not for me. I had to get rid of my demons and pent up emotions and forgive; that has been my journey. I have gone to counselling in the past, but I don't anymore and I did stop drinking alcohol, and taking meth, on my own, which I wouldn't recommend. I guess talking is how I keep my sobriety and sanity. I hope that I can be strong enough, until I die, never to have an issue again. But I never promise, because anyone can relapse.

I'm completely sober from alcohol and drugs now, although I use CBD oil. But about eight and a half weeks ago I woke up and my stomach was distended. I don't remember eating anything weird. Then it just didn't go away, it gets worse if I eat or drink anything and I started getting stretch marks.

I called my doctors and we did my blood work and I've had two ultrasounds, an MRI and three CAT scans. The doctors thought I had ascites, which is fluid build up, and people on TikTok are saying that too. But it's not fluid, so my doctors kept checking. I'm not really in physical pain, it's just uncomfortable. I can't stand still for more than ten minutes because I start cramping.

My results show I may be in the early stages of cirrhosis. I had a diagnosis of extreme fatty infiltrated liver four years ago and while my Fibro-test scores show my liver fibrosis is currently mild, my Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) is 106, when the average should be around 36. That is a sign of liver disease. Around a month ago, doctors said that my results indicate hepatomegaly, which is enlargement of the liver. My stomach bloating is likely caused by my liver pushing on my organs. My waist measured 45.75 inches five months ago and now it measures 52.25 inches, but I'm actually losing weight. But there isn't a firm diagnosis or answer. I've had a lot of blood drawn and I've been referred to a specialist in Portland, Oregon in August.

Trina Beil has quit alcohol and drugs
Trina Beil pictured in July 2021. Trina Beil

People are saying online that I'm not in cirrhosis because my eyes aren't yellow. Nobody is exactly the same and those people are in full blown cirrhosis. But I've done my first urinalysis, part of the protocol for cirrhosis and doctors also checked it for substance use, just in case I have to get on the transplant list. You have to prove you have been free from alcohol for six months.

I just felt compelled to share what was happening with me online. One video of my distended stomach got 13 million views on TikTok. Sharing it was part of my healing process. I thought that if I could reach, warn or help one person I would be so humbled. Now, people tell me their mom or dad looks like this. I start crying because I can't keep up with the messages. I'm reading them and I care.

The number one question I get is people asking what they can do to get their loved one to quit alcohol or drugs. My answer is, you can't. An addict and alcoholic is not going to quit until it's on their terms and they have had enough. That's sad, because sometimes it's too late.

I want people to know that it is totally fine to be scared. But it's also ok to be brave. I think people are scared to talk to their doctors because they may be judged. It's sad. That stops a lot of people from asking for help, there are wonderful doctors out there who can help you.

Trina Beil has quit alcohol and drugs
The left image shows Trina Beil when she was drinking alcohol and taking meth. On the right is her now, sober and clean from drugs. Trina Beil

I don't regret getting sober. When you're clean and sober, your apologies are different. All those feelings come out. I wasn't a good mother at all. My oldest son has been in and out of jail and had problems from the get go. But I don't think I can apologize any more sincerely to my boys and fortunately we do have a relationship. I always try to do the best I can now.

Sometimes if I'm having a bad day, which is not often, I get tired. There is obviously something wrong, but what are you going to do? I have limitations now. These are the consequences of my addictions. But there's no going back, I can only go forward.

Trina Beil lives in Oregon with her husband Steve. You can follow her on TikTok @trinabeil and on Instagram @trina.beil.

All views expressed in this article are the author's own.

As told to Jenny Haward.