Part of me coming home to myself was recognising where I held my own “self” and progress back.
When I felt I couldn’t speak out or I was fearful, how I used substances, particularly alcohol to try to control my emotions.
It started off in my teens as a bit of rebellion and fun, but I soon realised what a pull it had on me. Because I was so quiet and shy, how I would use it to be social and how quickly that social side became too much.
Angry, aggressive, rude and uncontrollable at times.
The journey through my illness had made me realise my triggers and where I shoveled things down…literally!
So I have known the highs and the lows. I’ve been there. The incredible nights and the hideous hangovers.
Did I worship it? No.
Did I rely on it? Yes. Definitely.
Alcohol had always been a huge part of my life. My Dad was a hard-working Northerner who enjoyed a pint, so pubs were places familiar to me. I spent many pleasant hours there with him.
When I reached my twenties it was how I enjoyed myself and I didn’t want to change, it was too much fun.
But slowly the booze loomed over me like a dark shadow. It affected my work, my relationships, and eventually my health. I didn’t listen when people told me, the booze always had the final say.
Finally I stopped. Three months off.
It was a promise I made to myself after months of arguments and when I began to notice some risk taking behaviour.
I thought I’d find it difficult, but after only a short time it became incredibly easy.
I realised I’d been using it as avoidance, to escape my life.
I was lonely and self-loathing.
I felt like a failure and alcohol had helped me get through.
During that three months sober, I realised more about myself than I had in years.
My voice was stronger, I was less anxious and shy, I slept better, communicated better, I did everything with more purpose.
I liked myself, which was a revelation after years of self-doubt and disappointment.
I noticed the beauty around me instead of struggling through a hangover haze or being pissed.
I found that although on occasion it was nice to share some vino with my then Husband, it actually added nothing to my life.
Emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually, I was better without it.
Sober was the new me.
What was hard was knowing what to do with my time now.
Who did I spend it with?
Being with drinkers when you are sober ain’t easy. Sometimes it’s boring and repetitive.
The same conversations spew out and things you found funny drunk, just seem childish.
People didn’t want me around either, I was boringly sober and a social pariah.
I changed how I viewed things, tried new stuff and got back into activities I used to enjoy.
It was a change I made — and had to make.
My life altered beyond measure.
I began to enjoy the simple things again.
I believed in myself for the first time, possibly ever.
The stuff that made me anxious when I was I drinking: the nights waking in a cold sweat worrying about what I’d said, the arguments with my Husband after a night out — gone forever.
I used to constantly worry about what others thought. I became less bothered because I trusted myself finally.
I became more conscious, more aware of my words.
More loving and caring.
I felt more.
I saw more.
I WAS MORE.
Now, I do partake, and I often feel the effects.
Those three months taught me so much.
So I weigh it up now.
I ask myself....do I want to feel worse tomorrow than I do right now?
If I feel this good, why do I want to change that?
The advice I give anyone wanting to make a change or feeling trapped.... give yourself the chance to get to know you again.
Three things to remember...
Whatever you think you are –- you are better without booze. Always.
You are not trapped unless you allow yourself to be.
Take control. The journey may feel rocky but the rewards are immense.
With divine light and love